Assiduous readers of the Birmingham Post’s business section will have already noted news of this award in May. Today, in the Victorian Society’s latest newsletter, the director, Christopher Costelloe, informed readers that the façade of the Grade II*-listed Grand on Colmore Row has been restored and that the Society has presented Hortons’ Estate with a Birmingham & West Midlands Group Conservation Award.
Last year the ongoing process was covered on this site with family owned Hortons’ history, a little detail about the renovation and news of its past and present retailers
On May 17th a plaque and scroll was presented to Peter Horton, company chairman, by Stephen Hartland, Chairman of the Victorian Society’s Birmingham & West Midlands Group at a ceremony in the office suites at The Grand.
Stephen Hartland said that when the Grand Hotel closed in 2002 the building was said to have reached the end of its life and it would have to be demolished. The Victorian Society applied to English Heritage to have the building listed at II* in February 2004 and ways to safeguard the building were sought. In 2009 Hortons’ was advised that the stonework could not be salvaged but they succeeded in saving it and enhancing this ‘landmark building’.
The bronze plaque was cast by Leander Architectural, which traces its history back to 1874, in Buxton, Derbyshire. An illuminated scroll was also presented – hand-written on parchment by the local firm of Fattorini, which flourished in Birmingham in the 19th century. Stephen Hartland noted that the work included expert re-carving of lost stonework and exposing marble columns obscured under render and paint for decades. He commented, “It has been fantastic to observe the mix of traditional skills and new methods deployed on this exceptional project, with the bonus of bringing one of the city’s most prominent buildings back to life”.
Tony Green, chief executive of Hortons’ Estate, highlighted the company’s debt to the talented, dedicated team of stonemasons from (MCL). MCL was founded in 2007 by its two directors, Jason Graham and Andrew Cornwell, following the collapse of their former employer William Sapcote & Sons Ltd, to ensure that 25 of its key conservation staff did not disappear from this specialist field of expertise. More about MCL’s remarkable range of projects may be read on its website.