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Heritage roofing specialists at Sheffield-based Martin-Brooks have helped transform a dilapidated former boys’ home in Lincoln into a modern centre of learning.

The firm has completely reroofed grade II listed St Hugh’s, 23 Newport House, near the city centre as part of a project to create a new science laboratory for the city’s university.

Working with main contractors, Woodhead Heritage, Martin-Brooks used salvaged Welsh slate and clay pantiles to recover the pitched roofs on the imposing structure, which dates from the late 18th century. All leadwork was also renewed by the firm’s craftsmen and new conservation windows installed. The project took eight weeks to complete.

St Hugh’s is believed to stand on the site of an Augustinian friary and may contain fragments of medieval walling in its foundations. The property was most notably opened by the Church of England Waifs and Strays Society as a home for boys in 1896, accommodating 36 seven to 12-year-olds. By the 1960s, it had become a hostel and it was eventually closed in 1972. Since then, it has been used as office accommodation, but most recently had fallen into disrepair.

Dale Wright, Martin-Brooks’ contracts director, said: “St Hugh’s is a handsome property and thoroughly deserving of a new lease of life. Mid-19th and 20th century additions made the project a little more complicated, as we had to source two salvaged roofing materials, but the finished product has been worth the effort. It is now ready to welcome new visitors and begin another chapter in its rich history.”

Martin-Brooks is no stranger to the ancient architecture in Lincoln, concluding a four-year project on the castle’s prison block in 2014. It included installing a sand cast lead roof on a state-of-the-art subterranean building constructed in the former exercise yard to mark the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta.


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