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Frank Ellis Architects Transform Historic Grade I Nottinghamshire Site

The Nottingham-based architectural practice Franklin Ellis Architects has announced the completion of a 32 unit housing redevelopment in Southwell, Nottinghamshire.

The Grade I Becher’s Court development features 32 one-to four-bedroom terraced and semi-detached houses, townhouses and apartments; and is located just a stone’s throw from the historic Southwell Minster cathedral.

The Becher’s Court site is steeped in history and was formerly occupied by the Nottinghamshire House of Correction, which was built in 1808 by the Rev. John Thomas Becher before being closed in 1880.

Becher’s Court was later used by Henry Carey as a curtain lace factory in the 1900s, while during World War 2, the company swapped its production of net curtains for sand-fly, mosquito and camouflage netting to help in the war effort.

Founded by Franklin Ellis Architects partner Joe Taylor, the joint venture development company, Burgage Homes Ltd is set to deliver the project alongside contractor Gusto Homes (owned by family member Steff Wright).

Joe Taylor, a partner at Franklin Ellis Architects, said: “The collective approach we have taken with this development, with support from the local authority conservation officer and historian Rob Smith, has meant that we have created a modern living environment in a sought-after area that recognises its considerable historical significance.

“It has been a pleasure to work alongside Gusto Homes on this unique project which is sympathetic to and enhances the site’s heritage. Personally, it has been wonderful to oversee the scheme from both an architectural and developer perspective.”

The Becher’s Court project has also benefited from significant input from Newark and Sherwood District Council planning and conservation officers as well as local Southwell historian Rob Smith, the Southwell Local History Society and the Community Archaeology Group.

To celebrate the history, completion and collaborative nature of this project, a commemorative plaque has been unveiled which details the history of the site.

The plaque also reveals some of the inspiration for the redevelopment which harks back to the site’s heritage.

Highlighting the project’s intent to preserve its historical roots, Local historian Rob Smith added: “All of the local heritage groups were very pleased that the developer approached us with a plan, not only to preserve and make full use of the existing buildings, but also to reflect former demolished buildings in new parts. The classic prison design included interesting shapes and angles that must have been a challenge, but the effort is fully rewarded in this distinct and unique housing development.”

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