Nicholson's old home has a new owner. As announced on our Home page today, NN Society member Sue Dawson has completed the purchase of the property, and the house is set to enter into a new era. The cafe which was operated by the previous owners has been closed, and (subject to consent from Copeland Council) the ground floor will become the new base of Sue's son Graham Dawson's physiotherapy practice.
What does this mean for the Society's own ambitions regarding the house? In one way, nothing changes because our intention remains to submit an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for the money to buy the house and renovate it as appropriate. The next HLF deadline for such an application is the end of May and we continue to work towards that, with a meeting with our Lottery officer scheduled for early April. What has changed, however, is that the house is now owned by someone who is more than sympathetic to the work of the Society and supportive of our aim to buy the house.
These last few months have been a little stressful at times, because we can only advance at a fairly stately pace. Lottery applications can't be put together in haste and are certainly not decided upon in haste, and we have to work within the HLF's tried and tested parameters. So we could only watch from the sidelines in the autumn while two other would-be purchasers appeared on the scene. Fortunately for us, neither concluded a deal. The situation now is that, thanks to Sue and Graham, No 14 is no longer on the market and so the threat from 'outsiders' has been removed. Should we be fortunate enough to secure an HLF grant, we will be able to make an offer for the house knowing that the new owner is well-disposed towards our intentions.
There are, or course, quite a few bridges to cross before we reach that stage.
Charlie Lambert, chair of the Norman Nicholson Society