This very fragile listed building was on the verge of collapse, was ruinous and on the Buildings at Risk Register when acquired by the Landmark Trust. The previous owner had applied for consent to demolish the building which overlooks the great Kimbolton Castle and was a key feature of the designed historic landscape for the Dukes of Manchester. Fortunately the application to demolish was resisted and refused.
Caroe Architecture Ltd were closely involved in securing two major grants for the project, including significant BAR funding from English Heritage. We were also more generally involved with community consultation and promoting the rescue of the building, though meetings and producing attractive and clearly expressed proposals which spoke to funders and the local community who were actively concerned.
For such a small building we developed over 12 options for how a new use for the ruin might be devised. The discussions over these options were deeply informed by historical and evidential research, including a close investigation of the physical and archaeological story of the surviving structure. This was essential for informing conservation and design, but more fundamentally was essential for establishing the true character and ‘spirit’ of the place. Arguments waged to and fro over whether the follywas a ‘polite’ prospect tower and hunting lodge, or whether it was a part of the agrarian Estate economy. In the end, the matter was settled by a visit to Estate archives in America which clearly and convincingly determined that this was a very active Warrener’s Lodge – and thus the character of the project was set and we had a clear ‘statement of principles’ that we worked to.