The conservatory is in desperate need of renovation, can you help?

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
Since that meeting in May 2019, the CPSG has been engaged in monthly meetings with the Blackburn with Darwen (BwD) council Director of Operations where we have been working to improve the park facilities and look at options to restore the conservatory to its former glory.

The CPSG and BwD were having monthly meetings before and after one wing of the conservatory collapsed following  high winds and a thunderstorm in July 2019

The meetings were cancelled early in 2020 due to Covid but resumed again in 2022.

Early in 2023, the CPSG and BwD  contacted Historic England (HE) with a view to getting advice about what options exist for restoring the conservatory.

HE provided some extremely useful information which enabled us to look at what would be required to restore the Conservatory. BwD were also looking at the options for the future use/partners for the use of the conservatory as well as funding sources.

From initial assessments, the best option was to look at preparing a bid for the Heritage Lottery Fund.

This would require an in depth assessment of the state of the conservatory, its restoration as well as how it will be used, how it will be secured to prevent future damage/vandalism.
Conservatory drone video
(c) Blackburn Social Media
(Click on image to watch)
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The conservatory needs renovation.
We need your help to restore the conservatory
Late in 2023, Historic England contacted the  BwD Director of Operations directly with details of potential grant funding that may be available as well as some interim work that could be done to prevent further damage to the other wing, i.e. remove the glass in case of a heavy snowfall.

Press release and images after glass removal below.
For the restoration of the Conservatory, there is not just the rebuilding of the structure but there needs to be consideration of (and this is a very basic list):-

Sustainability - easy and cost effective to maintain. However, we need to understand how much the conservatory will cost in future years and where the money will come from.

Carbon neutrality - not requiring the use of fossil fuels, etc to heat in winter. Carbon neutral is the aim.

Environmentally friendly - no use of materials that can cause harm to the environment and using easily sustainable and environmentally friendly materials in its restoration.

Security If we cannot sort this out then the project will not be viable. We need to stop it being vandalised which has been the main problem in the past. There are solutions but they are costly.

Safety - the structure and surrounding area needs to be safe for all.
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(C) Blackburn With Darwen Council
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In April 2019, the CPSG held a meeting of its members to discuss the future of the group. The group as a whole was feeling that we didn't have a voice and were seriously considering what the future of the group held. At that meeting, the group decided to give it one more go at getting a meeting with the council to see what could be done and/or if the council had any plans for the conservatory.

6 May 2019. The CPSG held a meeting with BwD council to look at how we could restore the conservatory.  The meeting was held in the conservatory itself and we had some constructive ideas. However, everyone in the meeting realised there was a lot to do and the potential cost would be 2 to 3 million.

There had been two previous unsuccessful bids to the Heritage Lottery Fund. We also had lessons to be learned from the previous two bids.

The CPSG put together a basic strategy looking at how we could achieve the restoration. Click on the image to see the Lancashire Telegraph article.
Towards the end of 2023, BwD Council, with input from the CPSG, developed a bid for the funding which was presented to HE for consideration.  In late March 2024, HE announced an award of 68,400 as a contribution to develop a bid for the Heritage Lottery Fund with matched funding from BwD Council giving approximately 150,000 to write the bid to present to Heritage Lottery in the hope that they will provide some of the funding to restore the conservatory.

The bid has to be submitted to the Heritage Lottery by the end of 2024.

It is estimated that the restoration will be in the region of 3 Million.
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(C) Lancashire Telegraph
CPSG 2024 - Contact us. - Privacy Policy - This site is owned, designed and maintained by the CPSG.
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(C) Blackburn With Darwen Council
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Since that meeting in May 2019, the CPSG has been engaged in monthly meetings with the Blackburn with Darwen (BwD) council Director of Operations where we have been working to improve the park facilities and look at options to restore the conservatory to its former glory.

The CPSG and BwD were having monthly meetings before and after the west wing of the conservatory collapsed following  high winds and a thunderstorm in July 2019.

Click on the images to see larger pictures of the before and after the collapse.

Renewed effort and new meeting with BwD Council
Discovery Trail Conservatory Plaque.
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Current state
Better days
Before
After
The Conservatory
restoration
project

The Conservatory is a Grade II listed building and was erected in 1900 in the Victorian era.  It is often referred to in historical documentation as "The Palm House" or "The Glasshouse".

The whole of Corporation Park is registered by English Heritage as a Grade II* listed park and Garden of Special Historic Interest.

It was a time of great exuberance, experimentation and exploration and an expanding British Empire brought new and exotic plants, ferns, fruits and vegetables. Large public glass houses allowed these exciting plants to be experienced by everyone and were particularly valued by the occupants of towns with densely packed factory housing as was the case in Blackburn.

With the abolition of the glass tax in 1845 and window tax in 1851, the creation of magnificent glass and iron conservatories took off and the Conservatory in Blackburn was built in 1900.

The building is all glass and iron, richly ornamented with arches, pierced spandrels and columns. There is a central rectangular portion which is gabled with a clock in the front pediment and it also has a central louvred chimney. 

The central, larger section, was designed to house exotic flora, with the wings of the conservatory being cooler to house displays of plants enjoying a similar climate to our own.

The Conservatory
Since it was built, the conservatory has provided many fond memories by generations of families which are documented in Your Memories on this website. Select the link from the menu to read them.

Over the years, work has been undertaken on the conservatory to maintain it,. The park staff have diligently ensured that the plants in the conservatory always looked there best and were lovingly looked after.

Antisocial behaviour has seen the state of the conservatory decline over the years with windows being broken on a regular basis. Two lottery bids have been submitted to bring it back to its former glory but were unsuccessful.

The latest application to the Heritage Lottery Fund was in 2015 which was declined as the application reasons for restoration of the conservatory were not strong enough.

The image to the right was published in April 2023 by the Lancashire Telegraph reporting on the repair work on the conservatory conducted in 1979.

Click image to read the full article
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(C) Lancashire Telegraph
There is a lot of work to do in 2024 and the outcome of the
bid submission is by no means guaranteed but BwD Council and the CPSG are putting every effort into a positive solution to restore the Conservatory.