Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor John Boyle recently hosted a civic reception for the Foyle Civic Trust in recognition of their success in winning the overall UK 2018 Heritage Angel Award.
The Derry~Londonderry based group received the accolade in recognition of their involvement in the delivery of the Walled City Partnership’s Townscape Heritage Initiative regeneration project which focussed on the restoration of over 30 heritage buildings within the City Centre. The project was chosen from twenty finalists from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland after previously winning the NI regional award for Best Major Regeneration of a Historic Building or Place for projects in excess of £2million category
Mayor Boyle said he was proud to host the winners and congratulated them on their success. “It was a genuine honour for me to host the Foyle Civic Trust and the other partners who make up the Walled City Partnership in recognition of the Townscape Heritage Initiative’s success at both regional and UK wide level.
“The scheme has carried out significant work to repair, restore and regenerate the properties in and around our historic city centre and preserve it for future generations.
“The upgrade works are enjoyed and appreciated on daily basis by residents and visitors alike and we are proud to provide financial and other support in the delivery of the programme.
“As a Council we were honoured to host the Northern Ireland regional awards ceremony for the Heritage Angel Awards for the first time at the Guildhall at the end of last year and I would like to wish the Ulster Architectural Heritage continued success in celebrating the best of local built heritage.”
Nicola McVeigh, Chief Executive, Ulster Architectural Heritage, joined Mayor O’Boyle in congratulating Foyle Civic Trust and added, “The project faced stiff competition from local and national finalists to be awarded this accolade, which is testimony to the passion and dedication of all involved.
The transformative impact of this project draws attention to the extremely positive effect of commercial entities, communities and councils coming together to firmly place heritage at the heart of regeneration of our towns and streets. This is particularly poignant as we consider the future of our high streets, our towns and cities. Ulster Architectural Heritage hopes that by way of highlighting Derry’s achievement, more recognise the importance of heritage in creating places most attractive for us to visit and enjoy.
I am hopeful that through this the many other unrecognised heritage projects in Northern Ireland will be encouraged to participate in the next Heritage Angel Awards programme which commences in April 2019”.
The Foyle Civic Trust has been honoured for its contribution to the Walled City Partnership Townscape Heritage Initiative which has won “ overall UK winner” in the prestigious 2018 Heritage Angel Awards.
Peter Tracey, current Chairperson, Foyle Civic Trust thanked the Mayor for hosting the reception: “I pay tribute to my predecessor chairpersons and members of the Trust , devised the Walled City THI Scheme and initiated the partnership to deliver the scheme. Thanks also to the funders of the THI especially Heritage Lottery Fund and Department for Communities and particularly the property owners themselves. The Trust is committed to ensuring that the outcomes of the Scheme continue to benefit the Walled City”.
The Trust received the award at a ceremony in the Gillian Lynne Theatre in London in November.
The project was chosen from twenty finalists from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland after previously winning the Best Major Regeneration of a Historic Building or Place for projects in excess of £2million categoryat regional level.
Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) the project aims to create a unique sense of place in the city centre and an appreciation of the city’s built heritage by restoring and regenerating buildings in and around the historic Walled City.
The Initiative has been responsible for the expenditure in excess of £10 million over recent years resulting in the restoration of more than thirty historic buildings .
A diverse and wide range of building types has benefited from the scheme including;
- 35 residential apartments
- 925m² of retail/commercial accommodation
- 4no. facade/external envelope interventions
- Refurbishment of a former printing works to house a local dance/theatre company
- a busy city centre restaurant
- a prestigious boutique hotel
The restoration of these buildings has enhanced the character of the streets and the city and seeks to make for a more attractive place in which to work, live and visit thus encouraging on-going investment.
The refurbishments adopted best practice in conservation including the retention and repair where possible of original historic details, use of lime mortar in repointing of brickwork, and lime render on facades to allow the buildings to breathe, repairs to sliding sash windows, and the removal of heavy metal shutters from street shop fronts.
The Foyle Civic Trust was established in 1989 by a number of volunteers who had and continue to have a strong interest in the architectural history of the city and who seek to promote and encourage urban regeneration through the retention and refurbishment of as much of the city’s historic built heritage whilst generally promoting high standards in planning and architecture ( contemporary and otherwise).
It undertakes research and education projects concerning the natural and built environment as well as organising talks and events. It currently has a membership of over 100 people.
Heritage Angel founder Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber congratulated the Trust,
‘I am especially pleased that we have tonight crowned the Foyle Civic Trust, part of the Walled City Partnership in Derry, Londonderry as the first overall UK winner. This project benefits the local community and shows how individuals, volunteer groups and local councils can work together to regenerate our heritage. I wrote a musical called “The Beautiful Game” about the needless violence in Northern Ireland and what this project has done in Derry struck a chord with me, as I think it did with all the judges.’