Canalside Heritage Centre, Beeston

Creative, yet sensitive, restoration and extension of these derelict lock cottages, to create a vibrant and flexible community space

Bonsers are delighted to have been part of this fantastic community project, which saw the sympathetic and careful restoration of these previously derelict 18th Century lock cottages, and the addition of a contemporary new build extension. 

Built as part of the Beeston Cut in 1796, the lock cottages were home to generations of canal working families, until the final tenants left in 1980. Unoccupied, the cottages deteriorated over a number of years, prompting the formation of the Canalside Heritage Centre Trust in 2010. The Trust worked tirelessly on the project to prepare a feasibility study in order to secure Heritage Lottery Funding. A funding award of £687,000 was made in 2015, against a project cost of £865,000, with a further £120,000 from the Local Improvement Scheme, and the final £75,000 donated by Broxtowe Borough Council, the Charitable Trust, and local fundraising events.

Work began on this sizable project in July 2016. As Principle Contractor, Bonsers were commissioned to undertake both the building of the contemporary rear extension, as well as the extensive renovation of the cottages, retaining and re-using as much of the original fabric as possible. Where this could not be achieved, such as the roof covering, which had been replaced with unsympathetic concrete tiles, we sourced reclaimed materials in keeping with the original design and finish of the 18th century cottages. As well as overseeing the works, and the unique experience of bow-hauling materials on to site, Bonsers also provided Heritage Repair training for the volunteers to enable the preservation of the Heritage Centre for years to come.


Project Canalside Heritage Centre, Beeston

Location Beeston and Rylands, Nottinghamshire

Value ​​£500,000+

Duration ​July 2016 to June 2017

We have restored the former Mill Managers House at Darley Abbey Mills as wedding guest accommodation. We have been delighted with the workmanship, site management and level of dedication shown to complete the project. The internal restoration works have included new lath & plaster ceiling, three coat lime plaster and repair of lime ash floors. Externally the works have included repointing, repair and structural repairs. We will be looking to use Bonsers again on our future projects.

Andrew Rose, Darley Abbey Mills

We have worked successfully together on many high-profile heritage conservation projects including; the restoration of the Grade I listed Mill Building at Cromford World Heritage Site for the Arkwright Society; the restoration of the Bestwood Winding House, A Grade II listed building and scheduled ancient monument for Nottinghamshire County Council; and the restoration of the Grade II listed Buxton pavilion for High Peak Borough Council. Bonsers specialise in a vast array of heritage skills, ranging from stone repairs, lime plaster, ornate plaster repairs and brickwork, joinery and ironmongery restoration.

Les Needham, G F Tomlinson Group Limited

G F Tomlinson have used the specialist services of Bonsers extensively over many years, and regard them as our key heritage conservation and restoration supply chain partner. Their in-depth knowledge and skills on heritage building practices and sensitive approach to the protection of historic building fabric, are second to none.

On all of these schemes, they have delivered a first-class service and a very high standard of workmanship, and we therefore have no hesitation in recommending Bonsers to any prospective client.

Les Needham, G F Tomlinson Group Limited

The second and more challenging project Bonsers worked with us on was the Building 17 project. This was a very problematic project with cutting edge solutions required to the contamination issues within the building. The work was very difficult and the working conditions extremely unpleasant. The Bonsers team acted extremely professionally at all times, the communication between contractor and client was exemplary, they worked to a tight timescale and budget. Additionally their follow up services have been second to none, coming to site to sort out any maintenance issues and also providing support to us in our work engaging with our community about the project.
I would fully recommend their services to others.

Sarah McLeod, CEO, Cromford Mills

The canal side restaurant project was relatively small and straight forward though the timescale was extremely short – opening up the upper floor for extra trading space, introducing a dumb waiter and toilets into the building. However, the Bonsers' team treated the project very seriously, taking great care to liaise with me as the client,   working very considerately alongside my own staff and engaging positively with  the passing public when required to do so. Equally, they completed the job on time and within budget.

Sarah McLeod, CEO, Cromford Mills

As part of the restoration project funded by English Heritage, Bonsers were employed as the main contractor on this project, initially based upon very good references and viewing previous projects. Throughout the whole project working with Bonsers was professional, helpful and with a real emphasis on caring about what was being restored – not just another builder on a building. We would certainly use Bonsers again for any other restoration work at Barlborough Hall.

Malc Lucas, Facilities Manager, Mount St Mary’s College & Barlborough Hall School

Bonsers impressed with their deep technical knowledge, experience and empathy of historic buildings. Their quality, workmanship and professional attitude was impressive throughout.

Michael Shaw BEng CEng MRAeS Bursar, Coventry School Foundation