Picture caption (L-R): Tony Green, Peter Horton, Cllr Raymond Hassall, The Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Henry Horton and Stephen Hartland with guests at the award ceremony.
The Victorian Society’s Birmingham & West Midlands Group has presented Hortons’ Estate with its inaugural Conservation Award.
The family owned property company received the recognition for its work restoring the façade of the Grade II* listed Grand, on Birmingham’s Colmore Row.
The award was presented to Peter Horton, chairman of the company, by Stephen Hartland, chairman of the Victorian Society’s Birmingham & West Midlands Group at a ceremony in Imperial and Whitehall, the newly refurbished office suites at The Grand.
The ceremony was attended by around 50 guests including The Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Raymond Hassall.
The award comprises a bronze plaque, which will be displayed at The Grand, and an illuminated scroll.
The Birmingham & West Midlands branch of the Victorian Society established the award just last year to recognise high quality conservation work on buildings erected between 1837-1914 across the region. Entries were judged on the retention of the original fabric of the building, conservation of fragile aspects and adaption for re-use.
Stephen Hartland said: “The restoration of the façade of The Grand has been a triumph over adversity. In 2009 Hortons’ was advised that the stonework could not be salvaged and it is a great credit to them that they eschewed expert opinion, exploring every avenue to not only save but to enhance this landmark building.
“The works included expert re-carving of lost stonework and exposing marble columns obscured under render and paint for decades.
“It has been fantastic to observe the mix of traditional skills and new methods deployed on this exceptional project, with the bonus of bringing one of the city’s most prominent buildings back to life.”
Tony Green, chief executive of Hortons’ Estate, said: “It is a great honour to have our endeavour and investment recognised by the Victorian Society.
“We are indebted to the many people who have contributed to this project, in particular the highly talented and dedicated team of stonemasons from MCL without whose skills the project could not have been executed.”
Hortons’ work at The Grand has also been acknowledged by Historic England (the former planning and heritage protection arm of English Heritage). The organisation has provided £400,000 in grant funding for the project.
Hortons’ has invested more than £14million to date in restoring The Grand’s facades, installing a new roof, remodeling the first and second floor offices and the ten ground floor retail units along Colmore Row.
It has now commenced work on the next phase of the restoration, a new building comprising plant rooms, a terrace and nine new bedrooms located in the centre of the building. The works are expected to cost around £5million and be completed in late 2016.