Restoration

It can’t have escaped your notice if you visit this blog regularly that I’ve been involved for 5 years now with the community of people and orgnisations who are restoring the last original 4 Streets of houses in Granby, Liverpool.Restoration - 1Now in these last few weeks my involvement has entered the new stage for me, of actually representing the community on site as we begin the next phase of restoring our Community Land Trust houses. I’m loving doing this so much that I wanted to write a bit about it on here.

Our first five houses were completed in September.

Our first five houses were completed in September.

Having taken most of this year to do.

Having taken most of this year to do.

With the houses being near derelict and empty the best part of 20 years, making them fit for people to live in again has been a complicated business.

mm

So we were very glad to get them finished. Joe Halligan from Assemble. Tracey Gore from Steve Biko, Lorna Mackie from Nationwide Foundation, Eleanor Lee from Granby 4 Streets CLT, Ann O’Byrne, Deputy Mayor of Liverpool – and me.

It made a great end to a very busy summer though. A summer of award nominations, international media attention – and us trying to get the houses done.

Well summer's over now and the market's are done - except for the Christmas Special coming on 5th December.

Well summer’s over now and the market’s are done – except for the Christmas Special coming on 5th December.

And while media interest continues, it's definitely calmed down a bit for the moment.

And while media interest continues, it’s definitely calmed down a bit for the moment.

So time to get on with our next five houses.

So time to get on with our next five houses.

To say we all learned loads from the first five would be an understatement. Still I half surprised myself when I stuck my hand up a few weeks back and said I’d like to look after the next five.

But I am so here we go.

But I am so here we go.

We want to get the first three of these finished by Christmas. So with the team in place, including Steve Ross from our tender winners Penny Lane Builders – we went on site the same day we celebrated finishing the first 5.

Opening the long shuttered houses up to the light.

Opening the long shuttered houses up to the light.

Front and back.

Front and back.

Steve Ross in stripped back no 23.

Steve Ross in stripped back no 23.

Starting to put in the new floors.

Starting to put in the new floors.

Ordering what's needed.

Ordering what’s needed.

Starting new walls.

Starting new walls.

And I just love this.

And I just love this.

A terraced house taken right back to its bricks to begin its next incarnation. A new life it might never have got but for the determination and intelligence of the local people.

By early next year this beautiful Victorian construction will be somebody's home.

By early next year this beautiful Victorian construction will be somebody’s home.

As I walk along Cairns Street over the next few days there is a great sense of energy and purpose coming from what I’ve come to think of as ‘the new houses.’

Wet rot in the floor joists of one mean we need to take up and replace the floor.

Revealing the full size basement below.

Revealing the full size basement below.

Containing a fire place!

Containing a fire place.

I feel like I’m up here with my 21st century camera looking back 140 years to when the house was built.

Restoration - 21

At the top of the cellar next door in no 21.

Joe from Assemble measuring up, roughly!

Joe from Assemble measuring up, roughly!

Joe and Steve pointing out what's not there.

Joe and Steve pointing out what’s not there.

Over their many years of dilapidation our houses have lost virtually all of their original features apart from their basic structures.

And so new features are being created by Assemble and their team of local people along at the Granby Workshop.

And so new features are being created by Assemble and their team of local people along at the Granby Workshop.

Fireplaces for each of the houses made from reclaimed and reworked rubble from within the houses themselves.

Fireplaces for each of the houses made from reclaimed and reworked rubble from within the houses themselves.

Ceiling roses and

Ceiling roses and all sorts of items and features being made by the team.

These in the picture above are actually in the process of being carefully wrapped up to be transported to Glasgow, for Assemble’s display at the Turner Prize Exhibition, now open in Glasgow.

For the Exhibition, Assemble have had the interior of a Cairns Street house constructed to display everything in. And it’s not just a display, it’s a shop.

With a catalogue anyone can order from.

With a catalogue anyone can order from.

The catalogue contains articles about what we're all up to in Granby.

The catalogue contains articles about what we’re all up to in Granby.

Even a bit of historical background from me.

Even a bit of historical background from me.

And the products.

And the products.

From 'Made in Granby.'

‘Made in Granby.’

There's a website too.

There’s a website too, Granby Workshop.

This is a new social enterprise being kickstarted by Assemble at the Turner Exhibition. A brilliant way of launching something we’re all excited about. Something we think will be great for all the people in and around Granby who can make things and want to make things.

Meanwhile there are the rest of the houses to be done.

Meanwhile there are the rest of the houses to be done.

Two of the houses we were going to restore are in a much worse state than the one above so we’re working on turning them into a Winter Garden/community gathering/and artist in residence space (A story for another day). Meaning we’ve been having a look at other empty homes in Cairns Street that might replace them.

Great pathos in this one where they seem to have moved out with the Christmas decorations still up.

Great pathos in this one where they seem to have moved out with the Christmas decorations still up.

Anyway the City Council are being helpful.

Anyway the City Council are being helpful.

And soon all these 'new houses' will look like our completed ones.

And soon all these ‘new houses’ will look like our completed ones.

Joe from Assemble and Tracey Gore from Steve Biko, our managing agents, here.

A finished house, with Joe and Tracey again.

Indeed our new houses are already shaping up.

Indeed our new houses are already shaping up.

And will soon fill with light and life.

And will soon fill with light and life.

A.nd I feel unbelievably excited and privileged to be doing this.

And I feel unbelievably excited and privileged to be doing this.

To start every week knowing that one of its highlights will be the Thursday site meeting. To walk along the street in between times and feel so much a part of a community that has quite literally put its own hands on its own land.

Meanwhile, high quality restoration works are taking place elsewhere in the 4 Streets.

By Plus Dane, here in Beaconsfield Street.

By Plus Dane, here in Beaconsfield Street.

And beautiful rebuilding here at the Princes Road end of Cairns Street, also by Penny Lane Builders, for Liverpool Mutual Homes.

And beautiful rebuilding here at the Princes Road end of Cairns Street, also by Penny Lane Builders, for Liverpool Mutual Homes.

Then this last Thursday evening, us lot from Granby 4 Streets CLT, Granby Workshop and Assemble took the evening off and all had a meal together, hosted by local arts organisation Metal in the splendour of the world’s oldest passenger railway station.

Here at Edge Hill, just along the road from Granby.

Here at Edge Hill, just along the road from Granby.

As we talked into the evening the trains went surreally by outside. Restoration can’t be all work you know.

 

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