Building 21 is in line for a 'light touch' improvement. Credit: planning documents

Purcell leads on Elsecar Heritage Centre overhaul

A specialist in restoration projects, the architect is working with Barnsley Council on the refurbishment of three buildings and public space at the destination.

Plans have now ben validated for the project at the former Elsecar Ironworks, with all three buildings lined up for improvement being grade two*-listed.

In summary, the development proposals consist of works to:

  • Building 13: the former Earl Fitzwilliam’s private railway station
  • Building 20 & 21: a former rolling mill
  • Public realm.

Located at the north of the site, Building 13 is the former Earl’s railway station. As outlined by Purcell in its design & access statement, the two-storey stone building has been significantly adapted since its construction in the mid-19th century and requires both internal and external fabric repairs.

The station building is currently in use as a children’s nursery, along with workspaces and storage. The ground floor will be retained in its current use as a nursery, with the first floor to be refurbished as creative workspaces. Works will include new lifts, renewal of building services and replacement of flat roof areas.

Building 20 and 21 are former industrial shed buildings that are known collectively as The Ironworks.

Building 21 is formed of a large events hall with ancillary spaces, while Building 20 is currently in use as stores – the intention is for this to be fully refurbished to provide a secondary events space.

This will include repairs to the building fabric, new access doors and lobbies, insulation of the roof and new building services. The works to Building 21 are relatively light touch, and focus on improvements to facilitate the renovation of Building 20.

The buildings lined up for revamps are highlighted in orange. Credit: planning documents

Providing new surface finishes to a wide area of the site is the focus of the public realm element. Moveable seating and planters are also proposed as part of the public realm works.

Funding has been secured from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, through the Cultural Development Fund administered by Arts Council England.

Barnsley Council is the landowner, having bought the site from British Coal in the 1980s and opened the heritage centre in the early 1990s. Other buildings within the heritage centre estate house retail, workshop and office space, along with play areas.

The bid listed building consent at Elsecar can be viewed at Barnsley’s planning portal with the reference 2023/1045.

A further project is now being promoted at Elsecar, which will involve a new heritage railway, rail college including test track, and an active travel hub.

Consultation will begin in the New Year on this project, expected to cost around £25m, as Barnsley looks to make more of Elsecar’s potential.

Council leader Cllr Sir Stephen Houghton said of the wider scheme: “We’re determined to transform this remarkable historic site, previously the home of Elsecar Heritage Railway, into something which is unique, sustainable, and will thrive long into the future.”

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