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Experienced Project Manager Joins Richmond’s Old Grammar School Project
Tuesday - January 9, 2018
The Richmondshire Building Preservation Trust (RBPT) is pleased to announce the appointment of Kate Dickson as Project Manager for the Old Grammar School development in Richmond.

Kate is Director of Buxton based Creative Heritage Consultants Ltd, which was established in 2011. The consultancy is a multi-disciplinary practice offering a range of advisory services to those with responsibilities for listed and historic buildings, especially redundant structures and those ‘at risk’. The company is ideally suited for this challenging role with the RBPT, which aims to bring the Old Grammar School back to life with a new purpose for the community of Richmond.

The RBPT has recently been awarded a round one pass with development funding of £155,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, under the Heritage Enterprise programme. This is supported by a further £25,000 from the Architectural Heritage Fund to help progress plans towards making a round two application in spring 2019. Richmondshire District Council and North Yorkshire County Council are also supporting the project.

The Project aims to protect and conserve the heritage of Richmond’s 19th century former Grammar School, a Grade II listed building, which has been unused since 2011. New purposes for the building have been identified to provide community uses supported by commercial enterprises. Uses under consideration are a small independent hostel, community offices, a multi-use community hall, function room, second-hand bookshop and café. 

As former Director of Heritage Works Buildings Preservation Trust, Kate brings a wealth of experience of the creative re-use of historic buildings and this knowledge will be invaluable in her new role as Project Manager. During the next 15 months she will oversee the scheme development work required to take the Old Grammar School project forward, working with a design team, business planning and community engagement consultants, the Councils and the Trust. The team will assess the viability of options and develop the detailed plans required to apply for second-round Heritage Lottery Fund funding, which will allow the building to be repaired, designed and repurposed for future use.

Kate is enthusiastic about The Old Grammar School project: “Creative Heritage is very pleased to have been appointed to work with RBPT on this enterprising project, which will see the much-loved Grammar School brought into uses that will be of benefit to the local and wider community. I have enormous respect for the voluntary sector and am a strong believer in capacity building to enable local people and organisations to deliver projects that meet community needs. I am really looking forward to working with the RBPT Trustees and local partners to develop proposals for the building and opportunities for people to engage with their heritage and develop skills.”

James Gravenor who is leading the project on behalf of the RBPT commented, “I am very pleased that Kate has agreed to become our Project Manager. Her expertise and experience will take us a big step forward in our long journey to bring the beautiful Old Grammar School back into use in a new role”.

Kate took up her post with the RBPT last week and public consultations will be undertaken shortly.

Photo: Kate Dickson, new Project Manager for the Old Grammar School Project in Richmond.

About the Old Grammar School

The Old Grammar School is an iconic landmark in Richmond, which has geographical and heritage links with Richmond Station, both having as their architect George Townsend Andrews of York. The building holds a special meaning for the many boys who attended the grammar school, and later for boys and girls, who spent their first year as pupils of Richmond Comprehensive at what became known as ‘Lower School’.
The first mention of a grammar school in Richmond was in 1392, although it is believed it was founded earlier than this. A new school was granted a charter by Queen Elizabeth I in 1566 and built in the Churchyard of St Mary’s. One of its most renowned headmasters was James Tate, “The Scholar of the North” and in 1850, under the headmastership of his son James Tate II the school was moved to its present location as a testimonial to his father James Tate I. It was designed by George Townsend Andrews who also designed Richmond Station which opened in 1847. A west wing was added in 1867 and an east wing in 1937. The whole building was listed as a grade 2 listed building in 2004. This excluded the new 1960s building which is now the offices of Richmondshire District Council - Mercury House. In 1971 the Boys Grammar School was merged with the Girls’ High School and with the Secondary Modern School to form Richmond Comprehensive School. The Grammar School site became the Lower School for year 7 pupils. The site was closed in 2011 when the Lower School pupils were transferred to the main Richmond School site on Darlington Road. Famous ex-pupils of Richmond School include John Bathurst, surgeon to Oliver Cromwell, Francis Nicholson, governor of several American provinces, George Cuit the Elder and his son, landscape painters, Charles Dodgson, better known as Lewis Caroll, and Rear Admiral Sir Christopher Craddock, who was killed in the First World War.
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