Lottery boosts plans for a town Heritage Centre

The Old School in Watson's Yard which could become a much needed  community arts and heritage centre
The Old School in Watson's Yard which could become a much needed community arts and heritage centre

Unique records and artefacts from Horncastle’s past would be preserved in a new Community Arts and Heritage Centre - thanks to a grant from the National Lottery.

The town’s History and Heritage Society (HHS) has confirmed it has been awarded the grant in the latest round of lottery funding.

The money (£13,400) will hopefully help secure the society’s future in its current ‘home’ at the Old School in Watson’s Yard.

The Georgian building - in a picturesque courtyard off West Street - was built as the town’s first infant school.

Since the 1960s, it has been the club house of the Horncastle and District Photographic Society which unfortunately folded earlier this year, putting the future of both the historic building - and the archive housed there - at risk.

The archive contains thousands of old photos and unique historic records as well as maps, oral histories and a collection of ancient Roman artefacts, all donated by local people.

The funding will allow the HSS volunteers to access the expert advice they need to carry out a feasibility study on converting the building into a community arts and heritage centre.

The society will be working in partnership with local charity, Heritage Lincolnshire, who have successfully restored old buildings across the county, including what are now the Trinity Centre, Bridge Cafe and Joseph Banks Centre in Horncastle.

The project will also enable the HHS to work with Horncastle-based architect Philip Hawkins to complete a condition survey of the old school, and to draw up plans for how its new use could look.

Volunteers will also receive training from a specialist on how the archive can be better stored and displayed as part of the plans.

Ian Marshman, chairman of Horncastle History & Heritage Society, said: “We are delighted to receive this grant made possible by National Lottery players, which will enable us to work with experts and the community to shape plans for a new arts and heritage centre for Horncastle.

“We want to create a community facility that will share the town’s rich history with visitors, and that benefits local people with a flexible space for talks, workshops and temporary exhibitions.”

The HHS is appealing to anyone with an interest in shaping plans for the potential arts and heritage centre to attend a launch and consultation event at Watson’s Yard on Wednesday November 6 at 7.30pm.

For more information - or to share any suggestions - contact info@horncastlecivic.org.uk

•The Horncastle History & Heritage Society was founded in 1966 as the town’s civic society.

It is a a registered charity with over 100 members and works to protect Horncastle’s past, present and future.

Volunteers maintain the town archive, run a programme of popular talks, comment on planning applications and carry out projects to enhance the town’s environment.

Follow @HHHSoc on Twitter and Facebook or visit www.horncastlecivic.org.uk