MEETING REPORT: Canalside Heritage Centre, Nov 2014

Julian Owen - Architect

Julian Owen – Architect

REPORT: The Canalside Heritage Renovation project; November 2014.

It was with much interest and pleasure that the Beeston Civic Society learnt of the plans and progress of the Canalside Heritage Centre project described and illustrated by Julian Owen, Architect, one of the Trustees of The Canalside Heritage Trust and whose firm is responsible for the design of the building.

Sadly, the Lockside Cottages, built in 1796, the year of the ‘Short Cut’ construction, has been allowed to deteriorate in recent times. After the arrival of the Railway, Beeston Rylands expanded in size and the canal was used extensively, but over the last 20 years Canalside Cottages have gradually fallen into disrepair. The last cottage occupancy was in 1990 and, happily, this building is in a reasonable structural state for renovation so it will be possible to recreate the original appearance of the outside.

Canalside Heritage CentreRich oral history accumulating from the families of lockkeepers and from relatives and friends of previous cottage residents, has helpfully informed and inspired the projected developments. Much useful information has also been gathered about the buildings and of earlier community life at the Canalside from artists paintings and early photographs of the area. Julian Owen expressed an interest in seeing any other such material that our members and the general public may possess.

Plans and models for the exciting new development are already in hand. The estimated cost is £865,549. A successful launch appeal for funds was held in carnival style at the Boat and Horses in the Rylands and donations have been received from a number of trusts. Nottinghamshire County Council has given generously from its Local Improvement Scheme while our Heritage Open Day produced a useful contribution. An anticipated grant from the Canal and River Trust would allow the project to go ahead.

Materials for the work are to be brought to the development site by barge. While the frontage of the existing cottage will be retained and restored, the inside will be developed to allow for an exhibition area and public amenities. A Café is also proposed with possible links to the catering training institutions at local colleges. Indeed the developers hope to involve community interest in much of their project. For example, they foresee the possibility of demonstrating and training – to interested groups – building techniques to be employed in the renovation work itself. Further, an allotment is planned which will supply fresh goods for the café and be maintained by local school children. There are also an exciting number of imaginative plans for involving the local community among which are a ‘Narrow Boat Project’, a ‘City Card’ scheme for cycle hire, and provision for a Fishing Tackle Shop for the fishermen.

Jean Cameron
Executive Committee member

STOP PRESS! The Civic Society now understands they have the last if the funds required for the project to go ahead!

FIND OUT MORE: To find out more, why not visit their website here ( and find out how you can help, and support this fabulous local project.

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