Age Concern’s plans to give one of Preston’s oldest houses a much-needed facelift were due to get the council thumbs up today.
Arkwright House, where textile pioneer Richard Arkwright developed the ground-breaking Water Frame spinning machine which revolutionised the cotton industry, is in desperate need of remedial work to cure a problem with, of all things, water.
Members of the city’s planning committee were being asked to approve an application to damp proof the gable end wall and chimney’s of the Grade II listed building in Stoneygate.
And council officials have recommended the work should go ahead to protect a valuable piece of Preston’s heritage.
Councillors have been told the building, where Arkwright and John Kay worked on their spinning frame in 1768, has been suffering from a long-standing dampness problem which requires major work.
Age Concern, the current occupiers of the property, say water is running down the chimney stacks and also down the face of the gable end wall causing internal problems.
“It is quite clear that the damp has penetrated through the full thickness of the walls to the gable end,” says a report to today’s committee. “The plaster work will need to be removed and time allowed to dry out, then put back with a waterproof render.”
Arkwright House was built as a town house in 1728 and was originally occupied by the headmaster of Preston Grammar School.
It became a run-down alehouse and then a common lodging house and was very nearly demolished in the 1970s until a group called the Friends of Arkwright House saved it