The Witham, Barnard Castle

The Witham was officially handed over to our clients, Durham County Council, in October 2013, marking the completion of an ambitious restoration of historic buildings and new build project designed to spearhead the regeneration of Barnard Castle town centre.

The £2.3m Witham and Library Development Project, managed by Barnard Castle Vision, Durham County Council and The Witham Hall Ltd, has seen the refurbishment of the Grade II listed Witham Testimonial Hall. Originally constructed in 1846 as a memorial to local philanthropist, landowner and geologist, Henry Witham, the Hall and the adjacent Testimonial Building and Music Hall have been completely refurbished with new studio units created along Hall Street to form a thriving new artistic quarter for budding local artists.

In addition, a new ‘link’ building has been built which will become an informal meeting point and public foyer for the 200 seat event space in the Music Hall. Finally, the 1970’s library building has been refurbished with the addition of an additional storey to include new council offices and a customer access point as well as the continued library service.

The first phase of £2.3m project was successfully completed by main contractor, Graham Construction, in February 2013, followed quickly by the erection of the steel frame for the new link building.

The challenge to successfully introduce new build elements in a sympathetic manner into a historic setting was increased given the restricted site we had in Barnard Castle but the restoration has created superb spaces such as the original Testimonial Room which have now been brought back to life.