A historic building in St Helier has been rescued from demolition through an extensive repair and refurbishment scheme.
The £1.1 million scheme was funded by the National Trust for Jersey through a bequest from Mrs Mollie Houston and saw 16 New Street transformed from a derelict site into a stunning Georgian House museum. Now open to the public, 16 New Street showcases the unique history of the building through a variety of interactive technology, whilst its Club Room provides the perfect venue for weddings and events.
Following a lengthy assessment and planning process, along with some structural reinforcement works, work officially began in 2008 and reached completion in late 2011.
The National Trust for Jersey was the main contractor for the project and The Morton Partnership was the structural consultant. Martin Thomas Associates was the mechanical and electrical consultant, whilst Anthony Gibb was the historic building consultant.
Prior to any work taking place on the site, 16 New Street was in a serious state of neglect and was deemed unfit for public use. The structure showed signs of water ingress, whilst windows were boarded up and several floors had collapsed – making many rooms inaccessible.
In order to save the building, timber floors were repaired and replaced, whilst the roof was reinstated with lead and a collapsed staircase was restored and strengthened. The front and side elevations were re-rendered, chimneys were reconstructed and a number of existing windows were also repaired.
An extensive programme of repair and replacement also took place on the soft wooden panels that line the walls within the building. Where possible, many of the existing panels were refurbished, whilst new panels were designed and installed to match the originals.
Towards the rear of 16 New Street, a new extension was constructed to house many of the building’s services – including a kitchenette and wash rooms. The garden at the front of the building also benefitted from a makeover.
16 New Street was then fully furnished with both period and replica fixtures and fittings, whilst paintings loaned from the Jersey Heritage collection were hung upon the walls. A film detailing the history of the building was then installed and touch screen consoles were fitted within the Discovery Room to provide curious visitors with information on the building’s restoration.
As 16 New Street is a listed building, site staff worked closely with the Planning Department throughout the refurbishment scheme in order to ensure that all work was conducted in a sensitive manner.
National Trust for Jersey CEO, Charles Alluto, said:
“We acquired 16 New Street towards the end of 2003, when the site was in an appalling condition. Water had poured in, there was a great degree of wet and dry rot present within the structure and the building was very close to being demolished.
“However, we are all proud of the end result as we have managed to safeguard this historic building for future generations. The work that was conducted on 16 New Street was immensely important and we have given the building a new lease of life as a museum house.
“16 New Street is one of the finest Georgian houses in St Helier and its continued existence will help people to unlock the secrets of Jersey’s past. Whether 16 New Street will remain as a Georgian house museum forever is another matter entirely, but for now through Mrs Houston’s generous bequest, 16 New Street has a sustainable life under the watchful eye of the National Trust for Jersey.”