Coventry’s 600-year-old Monastery to be restored and opened to the public

The Charterhouse has been awarded a £4.3m National Lottery grant

One of Coventry’s finest medieval buildings will be restored as a major visitor attraction in time for City of Culture 2021 thanks to a multi-million pound National Lottery grant.

The Charterhouse is a Grade 1 Listed 14th century Carthusian monastery set in parkland along the River Sherbourne off London Road just outside the city centre.

Historic Coventry Trust has been working in partnership with Coventry City Council on plans to restore the medieval building, its walled gardens and grounds since 2011.

The award of a £4.3 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) means that the Trust is now only £350,000 short of its £8 million target.

The major grant will lead to the opening of a heritage visitor centre and educational attraction as well as the creation of the first 30 acres of the planned 70 acre Heritage Park.

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “Charterhouse is a site steeped in heritage. From its origins as a medieval Carthusian monastery, to its subsequent associations with Richard II, the Wars of the Roses and 19th-century industrialists, it has a unique story to tell.

“This National Lottery funding will allow this precious group of grade I listed buildings to be restored, and a welcoming visitor attraction to be created for the future.”

The plans include creating inter-active displays charting the extensive history of The Charterhouse, which was founded by King Richard II in 1385, and the recreation of two monks’ cells set in the walled garden and a café. Future plans not yet funded include the restoration of the coach house as a wedding and conference venue.

The economic impact of the project will add £3.5 million every year to the local economy when it opens to the public in 2020.

Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Coventry Council Cabinet Member for Jobs and Regeneration, said: “This is fantastic news for the city. The Charterhouse project will secure access for local people to this amazing building for the first time in its 600 year history.

“It will also be a major boost to tourism with huge potential for creating jobs for local people through the visitor economy. The Charterhouse is one of a number of projects that are going to put Coventry firmly on the tourist map in the run up to 2021.”

Ian Harrabin, Chairman of the Historic Coventry Trust, said that the grant was a very significant investment by the Heritage Lottery Fund, recognising both the national importance of the site and also the impact that it could have on the community.

“It has been a long road over the past six years with a huge effort from the Council and local community alongside our volunteer trustees and team of consultants. It is very exciting news and also a huge relief that we are now so close to starting the project,” he said.

“Although we still have some funding to raise, the generous support of the Heritage Lottery Fund means that the project is now almost certain to start at the end of this year. We will be calling on the local business community to help us reach the target.

“The Charterhouse is nationally important because it is one of only two Carthusian Monasteries with significant remains in the UK and its wall paintings from the 15th and 16th centuries are considered to be some of our finest examples of medieval and Elizabethan art.

“The Charterhouse lies at the core of the Heritage Park and is the Trust’s primary project.  We are already working on the next phases of the park with the aim of achieving the full 70 acres in time for 2021. The park
will make a great venue for many of the year’s cultural events but also will become a perpetual legacy from the 2021 year for future generations.”

Construction work is expected to start in January 2019.

Notes:
The Charterhouse project is supported by Historic England, Garfield Weston Foundation, The Foyle Foundation, Edward Cadbury Charitable Trust, People’s Postcode Lottery, Ernest Cook Trust, The Hobson Charity, Alan Evans Memorial Trust and The Veneziana Fund.

For more information, contact:
Siobhan Palmer, Media Officer, Heritage Lottery Fund: 0207 591 6056 / spalmer@hlf.org.uk

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