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Historic wedding venue wins conservation award

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A historic Dudley borough wedding venue has won a national conservation award in recognition of its restoration.

The former Lye and Wollescote Cemetery Chapel in Stourbridge was sympathetically restored a number of years ago into what is now the Thomas Robinson building, a Dudley Council-run registration office for civil ceremonies.

Its restoration has been recognised nationally, having recently won a conservation award from the West Midlands region of The Victorian Society.

A picture of the Mayor of Dudley being presented Victorian Society award

From left to right: Stephen Hartland from the Victorian Society, Councillor Alan Taylor, the Mayor of Dudley, Penny Fulford from Dudley registration service, Sue Whitehouse from the West Midlands Historic Buildings Trust and Winifred Taylor, the Mayoress of Dudley

The award has been presented this week and recognises the substantial work carried out to transform the building to its former glory from a derelict and fire damaged eyesore.

Originally built in 1879, the Grade II listed building is made up of two Victorian Gothic-style chapels, which now house the registration office and stylish wedding venue.

The refurbishment works were carried out by the West Midlands Historic Buildings Trust, which owns the buildings and secured money from the Heritage Lottery Fund for its restoration, with support from Dudley Council’s design and delivery team and bereavement services.

Councillor Alan Taylor, the Mayor of Dudley, said:

Since its restoration, the Thomas Robinson building has proved a big success, with more than 300 couples using the venue to tie the knot.
This award cements the building’s success, recognising all the effort and hard work that has gone into restoring the dilapidated building, conserving its heritage and creating a venue, which is fit for the future.

Stephen Hartland, West Midlands regional chairman, The Victorian Society said:

It is a delight to be able to recognise the merits of the project and to celebrate the saving of one of our heritage assets, important to the local community, the Dudley borough and to the wider West Midlands.
Such buildings are irreplaceable and are loved, cherished and treated in some awe at the craftsmanship and quality of the design that is so often lacking in modern life. The conservation and re-use of this building is a cause for celebration, which this Society is happy to do”

Sue Whitehouse, Chairman of West Midlands Historic Buildings Trust, said:

We are particularly delighted to receive this award from the Victorian Society in recognition of the high standards of the conservation work undertaken and the sensitive approach to accommodating the needs of the Dudley registration service. It was very much a team effort and the award is a great thank you to our professional team, including architects, contractors and project organisation.
But, it is also a thank you to the local community who rallied behind the project and gave us such huge support and all of the volunteers, including our own trustees, who have freely given their time and skills to make the restoration such a success. We are now busy looking for our next project.”

The award was presented earlier this week at an event sponsored by Horton Properties. 

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