Restoration and Refurbishment of The Paper Hall
Client: The Paper Hall Company Ltd.
Duration: 30 weeks
The Paper Hall has had a chequered history, the building was originally a private dwelling constructed in 1643; it was lucky to survive the English Civil war, 1642 –1651, when the majority of the surrounding buildings where damaged or destroyed.
There have been various owners over the years, the most prominent occupant been James Garnett who acquired the hall in 1794 and lived there until his death in 1829. He was credited with bringing the industrial revolution to Bradford, by installing the first spinning jenny’s in the Paper Hall Attics.
After James’s death it fell into disrepair and was later described in 1841 by the historian John James as in "a miserable state of dilapidation and neglect”. It remained this way, slowly deteriorating, until well into the twentieth century.
The hall was almost bulldozed in 1972, to make way for a new road redevelopment plan, but a campaign group was founded determined to prove that the planners of the time did not always know best. They raised money to start the restoration works in 1980 and this enabled the building to be made structurally sound. No work inside the building were undertaken and although some of the stone windows were included in this phase of the works, glass and doors were never installed. The building remained boarded up until the early 1990s when an ambitious plan was hatched to restore the Hall internally and complete the external works. Plans were proposed and a change of use was finally agreed.
This historic 17th century, Grade 2* listed building, was in a dire state, having lain empty for many years, when NRB Construction Management Ltd. were approached to do a full restoration and refurbishment program. Internally the building was fully open, with no structural floors or ceilings.
The works were completed in two phases, with the Upper Wing taking precedence. The basement was excavated and lowered, before been tanked and block lined to form new basement structures, which provided additional space to form toilets, shower and kitchen amenities.
New English oak floor joists were installed using traditional methods, flooring, ceilings, staircases and partitions were needed to transform the shell back to its original four storeys, which included attics. A full internal fit out followed, all original features, fireplaces and wooden ceiling beams, etc. were retained wherever possible.
Externally, new Yorkshire stone boundary walls and railings were erected. Soakaways and gulley’s were included before the car park was laid, floodlights added and the landscaping completed.
The main entrance porchway stayed the same with the addition of new oak doors in keeping with the buildings aesthetics. A number of additional doorways and windows were created, the string courses and hood moulds were repaired and the existing windows were refurbished to include stone mullion and transoms with leaded lights.
All works had to be in keeping with the period of the building and in agreement with English Heritage.
NRB Construction Management have in the years following the completion of the restoration been invited back to undertake various refurbishments works. The most recent being the design and construction of a large meeting room to complement the reception area on the ground floor of the Upper Wing. The works involved constructing a glazed partition and doorway, lighting, audio visual equipment, flooring and decoration. It was vital at design stage, that the characteristics of the building and the large original fireplace were not impeded in anyway and was in keeping with the building.