Focus has been appointed by the Chamberlain Highbury Trust to jointly project manage the development and delivery phase of Restoring Chamberlain’s Highbury – an £8m National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) project to restore and develop the family home of former prime minister Joseph Chamberlain for the benefit of the people of Birmingham.
Built in 1878, Highbury became famous for political and social gatherings where Chamberlain delivered a number of important policy speeches.
Following a tender process, the partnership of Cultural Consulting Network and Focus was chosen to project manage the latest restoration plans for the site in Moseley, providing the trust with expertise from within the heritage sector and in project management.
David Kidney, from the Trust, said: “We are delighted to have appointed Katie Norgrove, CCN and Florence Andrews, Focus Consultants to manage this project. It’s an incredibly important role and will help us to realise our vision for a Highbury that can be enjoyed by the local community.”
Associate at Focus Florence Andrews is an experienced chartered surveyor and project manager with a background in community development within the cultural and regeneration sectors. NLHF-funded projects that Florence has worked on include Pitzhanger Manor, Walpole Park, Gunnersbury Park and Museum, St. Marylebone, The Amelia Scott – Tunbridge Wells, Barking Townscape, and St. Mary’s Walthamstow.
Katie Norgrove has been an expert advisor, monitor and mentor for the Heritage Fund for over 20 years on a broad mix of conservation, capital and audience development projects. She is currently mentoring projects both in development and delivery phase that range from a Grade I listed church in a rural village in Herefordshire to the redevelopment of the Holocaust and Second World War Galleries at the Imperial War Museum.
Katie and Florence said: “We are really thrilled to be working with the Chamberlain Highbury Trust to help make their dream of returning Highbury to its former glory for 21st century citizens of Birmingham a reality.”
Highbury is in need of restoration of both its internal and external fabric including works to the roof, windows and internal rooms. The Grade II listed house, which was placed on the Heritage at Risk Register in 2019, sits in Grade II* listed grounds which are also in need of further restoration, building upon the recent £300,000 Historic England funded Gardens project completed in 2021.
The development phase will take the successful round 1 NLHF bid and add further detail to the project ready for assessment by the NLHF at round 2. If the detailed proposals are given the green light, £3.2m of funding will be made available to restore the house and grounds.
Nottingham-headquartered Focus, with offices in London and Leicester, is a multi-disciplinary company offering a range of services across different sectors. It is one of the country’s leading consultants in the heritage and museum sector. Focus divides its services into three sections – Create, Deliver and Assess – and offers funding, business planning and economic development through the Create division, and quantity surveying, project management and building surveying through the Deliver department. The firm’s Assess team advises on sustainable buildings, building physics, compliance and planning, and on-site testing.