The restoration of Delapre Abbey is well under way, with specialist contractors Robert Woodhead now at the halfway mark.
The abbey is one of Northampton’s most important historic buildings, and is listed Grade II* on the Statutory List of Protected Buildings published by the secretary of state.
The Northampton Corporation purchased the property in 1946 and the building became the home of the Northamptonshire Records Office in 1958 until 1992 when they moved to their new purpose-built accommodation at Wootton Hall.
Negotiations were opened with Northamptonshire County Council and existing tenants to gain surrender of the lease and vacant possession of the Abbey. Northampton Borough Council published a Planning Brief for the site in August 1999.
Northampton Borough Council regained full responsibility for the property in 2000 and has made extensive efforts to find a suitable long-term sympathetic use for the building. This proved a challenge due to its complex and sensitive nature.
In 2013 the Heritage Lottery Fund approved a £3.65 million grant for restoration including rebuilding the conservatory and opening the south wing for events and public access. We are match-funding this to the tune of £2.24 million.
The 18th century stable block will be turned into a new visitor and education centre, shop and exhibition space, and restoration and conversion of the Billiard Room into a restaurant/café for use by the general public and for special events. The café and Billiard Room are due to open in November, with the remaining building following in February 2017.