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Work to restore iconic Old Grammar School underway

Fencing has been put around the Old Grammar School in preparation for restoration work on the 400-year-old building

Fencing has been put around the Old Grammar School in preparation for restoration work on the 400-year-old building

 

Restoration work on Harborough’s Old Grammar School is underway as the iconic building celebrates its 400th anniversary.

The Market Harborough and the Bowdens Charity, which looks after the historic landmark, is replacing its roof covering, opening windows and external plaster work.

The small bell turret at the top of the building will also be restored to working condition.

It is biggest refurbishment project on the building since it underwent a major restoration in 1977.

The listed building has stood in Church Square since 1614.

Funded by Robert Smyth, it was built on stilts to allow the butter market to continue to be held underneath and, according to a plaque on the building, “to keepe the markett people drye in tyme of foule wether”.

It was extended in 1868 and a £32,000 restoration in 1977-78 saw the rotting Jacobean stilts replaced following a public appeal. Closed as a school in 1908, it is still in use for functions today.

As the town’s symbol, it has appeared on paintings, postcards, road signs, plates, thimbles, mugs and even a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle.

The work being carried out on the building includes repairs to its slate roofing, render walling, oak cladding, windows and structural timber frame.

The work will be overseen by English Heritage.

 

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