The award-winning Durham based architecture practice, Howarth Litchfield, which specialises in conservation architecture, has been appointed by Northumberland Estates to ensure the future of Alnwick Railway Station.
Howarth Litchfield’s role on the project includes conservation architecture, building surveying and principal designer with a view to ensuring the building remains fit for purpose and retains its historical significance and heritage features.
Northumberland Estates bought the building in 2018 – its use as a railway line stop had ceased in the 1960s – and it has been home to the highly popular independent bookstore Barter Books since 1991 as well as several other businesses.
But a recent assessment by the Estate and Howarth Litchfield’s building surveying team, identified the need for a number of repairs to the roof coverings, rooflights and original glass windscreens on the south elevation, to make the building structurally sound and watertight.
Commenting on the firm’s appointment, Howarth Litchfield director and conservation architecture specialist, Neil Turner, sees the building as a fine example of Victorian railway architecture. He said:
“The brief for the project is to refurbish the existing Alnwick Railway Station envelope using original materials, with special regard to the roof and east elevation. The aim is to restore the inherent historical value of the station, to a position in which it can become a high functioning, attractive site.
“The Alnwick Railway Station has a rich history and, while not operating as a station, still has the potential to add significant value to Alnwick along with the Castle, Gardens and high street. Therefore, we have proposed to restore and renovate the building envelope, as well as removing some latter internal alterations. This work is essential to ensure the continued use of the building into the future.”
Working closely with David Straughan and Emma Gledson of Northumberland Estates, Howarth Litchfield has completed the heritage statements and setting statements to accompany the planning and listed building applications which have now been submitted. It is hoped that the planning application will be determined within the next few weeks so that the restoration works can begin thereafter, to create this new heritage asset and grow Alnwick as an esteemed tourist destination.
Emma Gledson, senior building surveyor at Northumberland Estates, added:
“Alnwick Railway Station is an integral part of the town’s history. It is a principal feature of Alnwick along with the Barter Bookshop. Our team is working closely with all occupiers to schedule repairs that will ensure its significance for years to come and improve the visitor experience.”