Yesterday was a really exciting day. Thanks to the funding we have received from the Heritage Lottery, we were able to bring four experts in the field of property regeneration to Millom to inspect No 14 and gather information for detailed reports which we will receive in the next few weeks. Our specialist 'task force' was led by Mike Darwell of our contracted architects, John Coward Architects. Mike was joined by Michael and Ian Crick-Smith, the two directors of Crick-Smith Ltd, who specialise in property conservation and restoration, and Marion Barter who has a glowing reputation as a specialist in heritage properties. We were also very pleased to meet Sarah Gerrish from JCA. This event was a significant step on the way towards developing our plans and putting together our next application to the Heritage Lottery Fund. We had a productive get-together at the Lighthouse Centre in Haverigg before moving on to No 14 where the team examined every room in depth, closely inspecting all manner of details including traces of paint from decoration applied decades ago, wall coverings, flooring, fireplaces, window frames, doorways and more, taking a host of photographs. It's fair to say they were really enthusiastic about what they saw, and from our perspective it was terrific to get such a positive response from people who really know their business. They will report back and their recommendations will help us decide where we go in terms of developing No 14 and making it a place that people will want to visit, whether they are Nicholson enthusiasts or residents of the town. Our thanks to Mike, Marion, Michael and Ian, and thanks equally go to the Heritage Lottery Fund and everyone who takes part in the Lottery who have provided the finance to allow us to draw on this top expertise.
The grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund arrived in our account at the beginning of September. This meant we were clear to sign our contract with John Coward Architects, which we duly did. Three members of our Working Group, Sue Dawson, Janice Brockbank and myself, met Mike Darwell of JCA at the practice's gorgeous office in Cartmel on September 28th to go through the detail of the briefing for this part of the project. The first item was to obtain a full measured survey of No 14 and we're awaiting the outcome of that. Next up will be a detailed inspection by Mike, accompanied by specialists in heritage properties and conservation and restoration. The reputation and experience of all of them is top-drawer and I feel we are incredibly fortunate to have them working for us. Their expertise will inform the next phase of our relationship with the HLF, in which we will submit an application for the funds needed to buy the house and turn it into the lasting memorial to Norman Nicholson that we all want to achieve. We expect that inspection to take place by the end of this month.
Charlie Lambert, chair of the Norman Nicholson Society