Value: £2.4m                      Client: Canal and River Trust

Winner of the Canal and River Trust ‘Best Large Project Award’ and a Burnley Civic Trust ‘Excellence Award’

Green Apple Awards ‘Environmental Best Practice’ – via Donal Insall Architecture

Rosslee were awarded the transformation of Finsley Gate Wharf, a complex of Grade II Listed buildings within a walled compound fronting the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. The project was to sympathetically bring the heritage buildings back into use as various commercial aspects such as a café, bar and function space, educational space & forge, and holiday let. This was a sensitive conservation project involving detailed refurbishment and repair work across the three buildings; the warehouse, with its own saw pit, used to construct canal barges; the forge for making metal components required in canal boat construction; the cottage, a previous private residence.

Enabling works began with the removal of asbestos, redundant plant equipment, drainage investigation, temporary power installation and site clearance. External works consisted of new services infrastructure for gas, water and electric, along with new drainage for sewerage, surface water with attenuation tank, new car parking, outside seating space, with new planted and natural areas to encourage local wildlife, and even a ‘bug hotel’ wall installed.

The Forge had all stonework cleaned, repointed and repaired. The roof structure had to be removed and nearly fully replaced due to decay, however one roof truss was able to be saved. Keeping with sympathetic repairs, new purlins and rafters were installed with new sarking boards and reclaimed stone flag roofing. Part of the frontage was opened up and we installed a large glazed screen along with new oak windows. The chimney and forge base were repaired and a fully refurbished working forge installed.

The Cottage building had suffered from a major rot infestation and all timbers from floor, roofs and windows had to all be fully replaced, along with various modern materials that had been crudely added over the years. New traditional based materials were then installed including lime rendering internally and externally, new flag floors, double glazed sash windows, and cast iron guttering and external pipes. The cottage is now fitted out as accommodation consisting of four separate bedroom suites, with en-suite and lounge space.

The Warehouse also suffered major rot and had nearly all timbers replaced. This is now the restaurant/bar/function room, with all modern services including ventilation, heating, power, lighting, plant room and new toilet block extension to rear. All masonry works were cleaned and pointed, some areas received lime plaster finishes, new windows and doors were installed to match historical records, new flag flooring throughout, and under floor heating to minimise the impact of the new services. The roof and building have received insulation and secondary glazing to be more energy efficient, but not detracting from the character of the building.

This project has been part of a much wider regeneration scheme for this area of Burnley, with new housing and surrounding works underway. The scheme was largely grant funded from several sources including the National Lottery Heritage Fund.