We win gold for restoration of St Albans coat factory

Date: Thursday 10 December 2020

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Our transformation of a Grade-II listed former coat factory in St Albans has been recognised with a top industry award.

The restoration of Beaumont Gardens, on the site of the former Beaumont Works factory, won Gold in the Best Renovation category of this year’s What House? Awards, announced during a virtual ceremony on Friday 27th November.

It was the first of two recognitions in the space of a week, and was followed by a Commendation in the Best Refurbishment Project of the Housebuilder Awards.

The North Thames team brought a new lease of life to the heritage site, creating new character homes in St Albans’ only restored Grade II-listed complex.

The What House? judges were particularly impressed with the protection and enhancement of original architectural features, praising the creation of modern homes that reflect the building’s industrial past.

They said: “This is a fabulous Dutch gabled factory building that has been brought back to life by Taylor Wimpey and Saunders Architects. 

“The project demonstrates good, sensitive detailing, is well landscaped and robust. The modern approach to the interiors reflects the industrial heritage of the building very well.

“The roof line of the new build scheme behind was inspired partly by the original factory building, and we viewed this as a positive contribution to the immediate townscape.

“The original roof lights in the factory have clearly driven a design that creates lofty, interesting, modern spaces, and this is to be applauded as it is rare to find projects of this type with double-height spaces and ample daylight.

“We also enjoyed the use of industrial metal windows, which complemented the heritage of the original, rather unique building, making for a very attractive scheme that deserves this award recognition.”

Beaumont Works was the second factory to be established by Alfred John Nicholson in the early 20th Century, following the first in Manchester. Both sites formed the wider company, Nicholson & Co, with the St Albans branch opening in the early 1900s and remaining in operation until the 1970s. 

Beaumont Works enjoyed national and international success, supplying coats to public figures such as Louis Blériot - responsible for making the first aeroplane flight across the English Channel.

At the start of 2017, the buildings were mostly in disrepair but the Taylor Wimpey team saw the opportunity to restore the old factory, enhancing the surrounding area and restoring a significant part of the city’s history. Planning permission for Beaumont Gardens was granted in 2017 and the renovation works took roughly two years to complete.

Nikki Gibson, Sales and Marketing Director at Taylor Wimpey North Thames, added: “It’s rare that we get a chance to bring new life to such a historic building, and we are delighted that our work on Beaumont Gardens has been recognised by leading industry figures.

“Everyone who has worked on Beaumont Gardens is so proud of the finished development, and our customers absolutely love the character apartments. It’s been a real honour to preserve the history of Beaumont Works for generations to come.”