Building Contractors in Market Harborough
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The Old Grammar School, Market Harborough: Restoration Project

The Old Grammar School in Market Harborough is considered by many to be the town’s most iconic building. Originally constructed in 1614 and set on distinctive wooden ‘legs’, the grade one listed building is now used as a community meeting place. The building is administered by Market Harborough & The Bowdens Charity.

Although looking acceptable from the outside, the charity was concerned that the building was slowly falling into disrepair. The charity was determined to return the building to its former glory, and so commissioned WW Brown and Sons to co-ordinate and carry out the first major restoration of the building in a generation.

The restoration, which was funded by the charity and by public donations, began in March and concluded on schedule at the end of October 2014.  The aim was to restore the exterior of the building to look much as it would have done when it was first built. This meant looking again at the wood used, the timber treatments and the pigmentation of the paints used.

Project manager Mark Brown of WW Brown & Sons explains.

Despite what many people think, the building originally looked a little different. The timber cladding above the legs which gives the exterior its traditional Tudor appearance didn’t actually exist when the school was built. In fact, it was a completely rendered building. Whilst the renovation is now in keeping with the original building, it was decided to keep and renovate the oak cladding as it is such an attractive and recognisable feature of the building’s exterior. The new oak woodwork will also be long lasting and more resistant to a variety of weather conditions.

WW Brown have removed the concrete render which was added in the 1860s and replaced it with breathable lime mortar as was used in the original construction. The original oak window frames are also being reformed and reglazed to resemble their original form. The Victorian glass has been removed, and the new glass will include triangular leaded lights instead of plain square glass.  Works to the bell turret have included re-hanging the bronze bell, which dated back to 1808.

Finally, the roof has been re-slated with new Welsh slates. In order to involve Market Harborough’s younger generation, the town’s primary schools were invited to contribute to the project by creating their own personalised slates. Mark explained:

The roof has 8 parts to it and there are 7 primary schools in the town meaning that all the schools could take part, leaving one for the charity to create their own images. The idea is that the children’s artwork will become a form of time capsule that could last for a century, creating an interesting legacy for the town.

The project has been an important one for WW Brown. As well as the professional pride of doing an important job on a famous historical building, there is a lot of pride in the Harborough based building company that they have been involved in such a prestigious town project.


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We specialise in the following areas:
• New Builds
• Refurbishment
• Commercial
• Extensions
• Central Heating Systems
• Bathrooms
• Bespoke Joinery
• Maintenance Work
• Kitchens
• Plastering
W.W. Brown and Sons
Quakers Yard
10a Adam and Eve Street
Market Harborough
LE16 7LT
Tel: 01858 465353
Fax: 01858 464332