One of Norwich's most significant historic homes uncovered after almost two years of restoration work
One of Norwich's most significant historic houses has been uncovered after nearly two years of extensive restoration work.
The Grade II* listed Howard House has stood empty for more than 25 years and was placed on a heritage risk list due to its deteriorating condition.
But thanks to its ongoing restoration, its roof, structure and external facades have now been carefully repaired.
Howard House, on King Street, is believed to date to the late 16th or early 17th century and originally belonged to Henry Howard, the Duke of Norfolk.
During its restoration, a 130 year old letter and 63 wallpapers dating back to the 18th century were discovered.
The work was needed as part of the building’s original timbers had become rotten with water and had to be repaired with new oak.
Meanwhile, the south wall plate had almost completely disintegrated and the dormers were collapsing.
New handmade bricks, created using traditional methods, were used to rebuild where the brickwork was in poor condition. Meanwhile, rotten oak was replaced using oak with steel plates.
The work was carried out by contractors R&J Hogg on behalf of Orbit Homes, which is developing the neighbouring £80m St Anne’s Quarter.
Maggie McCann, development director at Orbit said: “Working with conservationists has been very important as we wanted to restore the house and stabilise the structure with as few changes as possible to maintain its history for generations to come.”
The property underwent major refurbishment in the early 18th century which included the installation of the oak staircase. On investigation, it was discovered that the west wall had been gauged out to accommodate the steps, destabilising the structure.
The wall has now been partially reconstructed to support the staircase and join the south corner back together.
Ruth Brennan at Ruth Brennan Architects said: “We have carried out repairs to the existing joinery and fabric, where possible without wholesale replacement, to make the house weathertight and safe without losing the historic integrity.”
Renovation to the interior of the building is due to be completed early next year. It forms part of Orbit’s plans to build more than 400 homes on St Anne’s Quarter.