MORE major progress is being made on restoring one of Pendle’s most important and beautiful heritage structures.
The Grade II Spring Cottage on Manchester Road, Nelson, is thought to have been built as far back as 1666 in cottage form, but was converted to its current format in the 19th Century – the home of local textile giants the Ecroyds.
It later became the Spring Bank Hotel and was renamed The Groves. It closed in the late 1990s and since then has been hit by blazes, bad weather and vandalism, and was in danger of complete collapse. The roof had fallen in.
It is a key gateway site entering Nelson from the south. The old hotel is being converted into a community centre and mosque, and will include an attractive park area open to the whole community.
Phase 1 of the restoration was completed a few months ago, making the external walls and interior secure and providing a temporary roof cover.
The project has cost more than £1 million so far. Nelson’s Madina Mosque in Forest Street, which is part of United Kingdom Islamic Mission, bought the site for £850,000 and has already spent a lot on the restoration.
Phase 2 started on Monday, and will add slates to the roof and restore a set of windows and doors, stonework on the exterior and chimneys. There has been success in getting grant aid towards the £650,000 cost of the phase, with help from Pendle Council, English Heritage and UKIM.
Nisar Ahmed, from the mosque, said: “We are pleased to get so far. We have had very good support.”
The Mayor of Pendle, Coun. Nadeem Ahmed, went to the opening day of Phase II. He said: “There is a major improvement. We look forward to seeing the completion of this phase. The community is going to benefit from the facilities.”
The cottage will be used as a community facility. There are plans to create an attractive stone-built mosque in the grounds, and between the two there will be a park area including a fountain and seats, where anyone from the whole community can sit.
The 34-week project is being carried out by architects Lloyd Evans Prichard and constructors Lambert Walker. Phase II will be completed in December and the plan is then to carry out the interior work.