With a long awaited cafe & kiosk opening in Beacon Park this week, it reminded me that I wanted to have a look at the reuse of old buildings parts in Lichfield.
The connection? Well, the new Chandlers Cafe is in the 1930’s mock tudor building on the edge of Beacon Park. According to a plaque, it incorporates materials from the old Friary. I’d love to find some records that confirm whether or not this is true and if so, how this came to be.
The provenance of the nearby balustrade running around Beacon Park is more of a mystery. Both Annette Rubery and myself have so far drawn a blank when attempting to discover its origins. Did this start life elsewhere?
More information is available on the balustrade running around the Garden of Remembrance opposite, albeit a little contradictory. The listed building description suggests that the balustrade came from Moxhull Hall in Wishaw, although Lichfield DC’s website disagrees, saying that it came from Shenstone Court, and that it’s the stone lions on the pillars that come from Moxhull Hall. Does anyone know any different?
If the balustrade is from Shenstone Court, then its not the only bit of that old house we’re supposed to have made use of here in Lichfield! The portico at the entrance to the site of the Friary is also said to have been salvaged from the demolition of the Cooper Family mansion. However, according to the Lichfield Council Conservation Area Document, this is one of ‘countless unsubstantiated stories about the portico coming from important buildings in the Lichfield area and ‘it is equally possible that it was made in 1937’. I think this might be another one for further investigation!
Finally, for this post at least, there’s the Old Stables in The Close (formerly the Visitors Study Centre). These belonged to Bishop Hacket’s now demolished house which stood on this site until 1799. Material from the remains of the walls of The Close, from the heavily damaged, original Bishops Palace, and possibly even the Cathedral itself are thought to have been used during construction of these buildings, which are alongside Chapters Restaurant.
I’m sure there must be more in Lichfield – I’ve even seen garden walls built with what looks like the remnants of old buildings. If anyone knows of any more examples, I’d love to hear. In the meantime, I’ve heard that there may be more parts of Fisherwick Hall to track down….