The latest stage of city centre regeneration work has been completed in two of Coventry’s most historic streets.
Following nine months of work, The Burges and Hale Street have both been transformed from aesthetic disarray to a far more traditional look with many original features restored, such as the sash windows.
The work was overseen by the Historic Coventry Trust at the cost of £2 million, made possible by government funding through Historic England and local council backing.
At the same time as the shopfront restorations, many of the independent business owners in the area have refurbished the interiors of their shops and restaurants to match the new exterior look.
The news of the latest step forward for the scheme of improvements ahead of UK City of Culture 2021 has been hailed by city council regeneration boss Cllr Jim O’Boyle.
Cllr O’Boyle said, “The change in The Burges really is astounding and it is now a great addition to the massive investment underway in the city centre.
“Historic Coventry Trust is bringing our heritage up to scratch across the city centre in time for UK City of Culture and as a great legacy for local people.”
One of the few surviving traditional ‘high street’ areas in Coventry, The Burges is one of the city’s earliest medieval streets with the buildings on the eastern side retaining many medieval elements behind the 18th-century frontages.
The street’s name itself is a corruption of the phase ‘The Bridges’, as the street, unbeknownst to shoppers above, runs over the River Sherbourne.
While nearby Hales Street was created in 1848 to improve traffic flows around the medieval city.
The listed buildings in both streets have been expertly restored according to designs drawn up by conservation architects Corstorphine + Wright.
Carol Pyrah, of the Historic Coventry Trust, said: “The transformation really has been astounding – we started off with one of Coventry’s ugly sisters, but in true panto style there was a Cinderella waiting to be revealed.”
Historic Coventry Trust is a charity set up to acquire and restore Coventry’s historic buildings, while finding new uses for them that benefit present and future generations.
Other projects the Trust is working on include restoring the city’s 14th-century Charterhouse, transforming Drapers’ Hall into a musical venue, and converting the Lychgate Cottages on Priory Row into visitor accommodation.