An ambitious project entailing both restoration and new build work within the centre of Barnard Castle has been officially handed over to Durham County Council by Newcastle-based architects, Jane Darbyshire & David Kendall (JDDK) Ltd.
The £2.3m Witham and Library Development Project, managed by Barnard Castle Vision, Durham County Council and The Witham Hall Ltd, has seen the refurbishment of the Grade II listed Witham Testimonial Hall.
Originally constructed in 1846 as a memorial to local philanthropist, landowner and geologist, Henry Witham, the Hall and the adjacent Testimonial Building and Music Hall have been completely refurbished with new studio units created along Hall Street to form a thriving new artistic quarter for budding local artists.
The scheme also involved the creation of a new ‘link’ building that will become an informal meeting point and public foyer for the 200-seat event space in the Music Hall and the refurbishment of the 1970’s library building with an additional storey to include new council offices and a customer access point, as well as the continued library service.
Architect Adam Vaughan said, “It’s always a challenge to successfully introduce new build elements in a sympathetic manner into a historic setting but it was particularly so given the restricted site we had in Barnard Castle. But the restoration has created superb spaces, such as the original Testimonial Room, which have now been brought back to life.”