The conservation of Grade II* Listed, Castle House over a ten-year period.

Built in 1842 by John Board, a local builder and manufacturer of bricks, tiles and ‘modern’ cements, Castle House was a showcase of Board’s materials. It was a pioneering experiment in its use of structural concrete and may represent the earliest surviving example of reinforced concrete construction. In 2009 Ferguson Mann Architects was brought on board by the SAVE Trust who had purchased Castle House, which was on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk register and in a severe state of disrepair. In early stages, until funding could be secured, the building had to be held together with lorry straps to prevent its collapse.

Once funding was secured from Historic England and with the support of EDF, urgent conservation works could be undertaken. These were carried out in successive phases over a number of years addressing the rear range and building structure, the roof, the front range and floors and the façade in turn using a number of innovative and experimental construction techniques to help conserve as much of the building as possible. 

We felt that it was important to keep the original reinforced concrete floors rather than insert replacements. This posed by quite a construction challenge and meant that the failing floor had to be supported on a new floor during repair works. To repair the reinforced roof structure, we decided to experiment with the material, finding that the best results were achieved by following the original construction method as closely as possible.

The building was saved from the Heritage At Risk register in October 2018. Ferguson Mann Architects has been working with SAVE Britain’s Heritage to help find suitable new uses.