We are the Buildings & Estates Team and it is our job to maintain the Priory Street Centre.
The Priory Street Centre are grade 2 listed buildings built in 1858 and 1905 which cover 15,000 square metres. So, as you might imagine this is an ongoing challenge for a Building & Estates Team of 2!
We provide the general maintenance to the building which can include anything from plumbing to gardening. We complete a maintenance job of one sort or another every single day.
As you would expect maintaining and caring for a building of this age adds a whole new layer of complexity compared to a modern, purpose built building. For example, the windows cannot be modernised, the brickwork must remain untouched which means we regularly have to improvise to meet the building’s requirements.
We have recently drawn up a list of works to be completed over the next 12 months and it is both sizeable and costly! It covers everything from new roof tiles, replacing sandstone work to refreshing paintwork. Delaying any essential work is likely to store up further and more costly problems down the line.
It is important to have an ongoing plan when dealing with an old building. Our annual plan of building checks and occupational requirements amounts to around fifty or so. These vary from weekly inspections to annual ones. And that’s not taking into account any upgrading work we may want to implement to improve our service to the actual building users and fellow charities who are resident here.
Despite the challenges, a listed building undoubtedly has its charms. The architecture is beautiful and there are some hidden gems you definitely don’t get the pleasure of seeing in a modern building.
We have an inner courtyard complemented by seasonal planting and a lovely fountain in the middle to set things off. Great care is taken to ensure that the courtyard remains in bloom during the warmer months and it’s a great place to enjoy a sandwich when the sun shines!
Our large Victorian windows allow a lot of natural light into the building making it feel very light and airy. And being a Victorian building, the high roof give a real sense of space and grandeur. So in the end, it’s definitely worth the extra effort to maintain a listed building as it’s a piece of local history and a pleasure to work on.
And finally… if any of you has the opportunity to look after an old building then our advice would be to have a process, stick to your maintenance and improvement plan, have patience, take some deep breaths and you will be richly rewarded.
The Building & Estates Team