The major refurbishment of a landmark Dudley building is set to start in the next few days.
23 Priory Street, last open as Carver’s Cafe, is about to undergo a major £900,000 facelift to bring the empty and rundown building back into use as a bar and restaurant.
Work will start on the double fronted building, the town’s first fire station, during the August bank holiday week. Work includes the reinstatement of a number of key architectural and heritage features, including the original fire station frontage, which will see the removal of the 70s shop front and the reconstruction of the fire station doors, creating direct access onto Priory Street.
The site, which is of archaeological significance, was once occupied by Dudley Flint Glass works and constructed around 1770. The remains of the previous glass works lie beneath Stone Street Square and as part of this major refurbishment, the foundations will be exposed with lighting and viewable through a glass floor.
Councillor Judy Foster, cabinet member for regeneration, said:
“I cannot stress enough the historical and archaeological importance of this building and its surrounding area and I am delighted that work on restoring this town centre gem is starting soon.
“Double good news comes with this project, because not only is the building being refurbished but we’ve also secured a tenant who will be opening a new bar and restaurant soon after the work is complete in the spring of next year.
“Yet again we are demonstrating that Dudley town centre is changing, that major investment continues to come into the town and that the night time economy promises to be a vibrant one.
“Dudley town centre is fast becoming a place that offers residents, businesses, visitors and shoppers, the whole package.”
Other work includes the rebuilding of a former hose drying tower, reinstatement of windows and doors, stable roof, repairs to brickwork as well as a second storey conversion and extension to accommodate a kitchen, office, toilet facilities and stores. Disabled toilet provision will be made on the ground floor.
The project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Dudley Council.
The project is set to be completed by spring 2015.
Notes to editor:
The fire station was constructed in 1892 and remained operational until 1939, when a new police head quarters and fire station was built in Tower Street.
From the 1940s onwards the former fire station was used as a variety of purposes including a club for the R.A.F, Payne’s shoe shop and Carver’s Cafe.
The building comprises of a two-storey fire red brick station fronting onto Priory Street, a single storey former stables to the rear and associated two-storey outbuildings.