With any group of buildings enjoying the significance of an “Ancient Monument” classification (such as The Long Gallery and Unicorn Theatre) maintaining, upkeep or repair all demand sympathetic attention to detail. The routine maintenance of keeping the whole complex tidy, clean and presentable, both internally and externally as a civic asset, falls on the very capable shoulders of our curator.
The on-going maintenance of the fabric of the buildings is largely centred about our architect’s quinquennial report, which highlights the need for immediate repair and medium or longer term works likely to arise within those five years. These works often have to be approved by a supervising officer from English Heritage who can demand agreement of specification and detailed drawings, or a written report on intentions supported by photographs.
Additions to or alterations of any part of the structure will certainly require a special “Ancient Monument” written permit. We make a point of keeping in touch with the appointed English Heritage representative to keep him informed of our anticipated programme.
Over recent years we have replaced steps, carried out roof and joinery repairs and installed a new guttering and rainwater system. A secure cupboard has been constructed to the East end of the Under Gallery, this relatively insignificant item taking over six months to achieve a formal consent. Gas has been brought into 18, Thames Street which has enabled central heating to be installed. Fortunately this structure is a simple grade 2 listed building and the works therefore required courtesy consultation with building control only.
We have an exciting list of wants and ideas such as an entrance lobby with toilet facilities to “The Unicorn Theatre”, but we are heavily constrained by the planning process together with the ever present state of our funds. Perhaps One Day…