Wednesday, 3 July 2013

House that! Bearwood scoops biggest lottery grant of the year!


As most of you will probably now be aware Bearwood's landed a huge £3.6 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (the biggest grant of its kind this year) with an additional £1.6 million coming from Sandwell Council which makes a banker's bonus busting £5.2 million. Kerching. It's all going towards the restoration of Lightwoods House and it's surrounding park, recently rescued from the evil clutches of Birmingham City Council (whooohahahah!) who seemed determined to let the whole place rot. Anyway, that was then and this is now. It's a massive amount of money and a much needed boost for the 'wood. Lightwoods House and Park is, in a way, Bearwood's front garden and given that a squillion people pass by it every day on the Hagley Road its renovation will undoubtedly make a considerable difference to how the whole place is seen. Most importantly of all hopefully it will become a focal point for the whole community to meet, mix, throw some shapes, have a nice pot of tea and a muffin, do a little interpretive dance, learn Swahili...you name it.

There was a brief celebratory announcement on the bandstand (this is also, thankfully, in line for restoration) yesterday and, for a lucky few a quick glimpse inside the House itself. It's going to be a BIG job (hope Poundland has plenty of Polyfilla in stock) but there seems to be enough of the old place left to enable a sympathetic restoration to be carried out, balancing the inevitable need for the place to be self financing with the responsibility of preserving a nationally important building. Bob Piper's already posted some great photos from inside the house, but here are a few more to give you a sense of the place.








And here...if it works...is a video taken inside what used to be the ballroom. Allegedly Brucie danced here when it opened way back in the 1700s...

  video

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