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Scheme aims to restore Keighley's Victorian arcade to its former glory
The frontage of a Victorian arcade in Keighley town centre is in “remarkably good” condition, says the woman leading its restoration.
Heritage specialist Sue Oakley said the facade of the North Street building and its ornate stone carvings had stood up well during the past 115 years.
Many original features in the arcade itself were also intact, because they have been covered by cladding for many decades.
The Grade II listed building is currently being renovated as part of the £2.7 million Keighley Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI).
The £725,000-plus project will see the interior of the three-storey building transformed into flats, and the facade, shop fronts and glazed canopy restored to their former glory.
Heritage Lottery Fund, Bradford Council and the property owner are financing the project, with work carried out by Evora Construction Ltd. Scaffolding recently went up in the building so specialists could carry out the restoration work.
Sue said: “Work is progressing well and it is quite surprising how many original features have been protected by modern cladding. “Often these features are badly damaged or removed altogether so we are very lucky on this project.”
Sue said the old four-digit phone number of one shop is clearly visible under the cladding, painted in gold.
Where signs had been removed, timber carvings retained much of their fine detail because they had not been painted in layers and layers of gloss paint. This will allow joiners Abrahams and Carlisle to replicate them on the other shop fronts where they are missing.
The glazed canopy above the arcade shops will be replaced and pigeon netting removed to create an attractive shopping area.
Sue said that on the upper floors, which would become flats, very few alterations would be made to the historic fabric of the building so the original layout could still be appreciated.