The second Crowdfunder “Buy a Brick” campaign was another resounding success.
Launched only 7 months after the first Crowdfunder ( May 2019), we were uncertain what the response was going to be. We needn’t have worried. It raised over £11,000.
The first raised over £15,000 meaning the combined total was over £26,000. That’s a lot of bricks sold!
However, the December Crowdfunder total was also boosted by a very generous grant from our closest neighbour . The Friends of Cromford Canal, in collaboration with the Derbyshire County Council, awarded a £6000 grant towards the restoration fund, which was a wonderful surprise and pefectly timed.
The grant is the largest donation received by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, outside corporate funding, which takes us to the funding target to complete Stage 1 of build.
The other good news is that Andrew Churchman, our builder, started work on site at the end of January. Andrew and his team will spend 4-6 months repairing the masonry and re-instating the roof (assuming no unforeseen problems).
With the funding secured, it means that work can continue unimpeded (subject to the weather) until the project is complete, which is targeted for July /August 2020.
DWT has agreed to include information on the history of the canal in the cottage’s interpretation, in recognition of the FoCC’s contribution. It will inform visitors of the importance of the canal and why the cottage was built, and this will help raise awareness of the vision to regenerate the canal.
The cottage restoration is turning out to be a fantastic community collaboration project and it is important for the FoCC and the Derbyshire County Council to be stakeholders, along with local businesses and volunteers, to ensure the project is a success.
Meanwhile, our volunteers have been on site since October 2019. They have a regular working group on Tuesdays and almost every week a new discovery is made. From a John Else “Purity” lemonade bottle, (made in the old Hatter’s factory), to the iron bracket of (what appears to be) the original stock lock.
They’ve also removed over 20 tons of debris from inside the cottage and , more recently, they have been concentrating of rebuilding dry stone walls around the garden areas and rebuilding the steps into Lea Wood.
On the building side, the first major structural repair was completed in February, which involved removing a large tree root from under the corner of the cottage and under-pinning.
There are a number of structural problems to be resolved during the restoration process, but Andrew Chuchman is highly experienced in these kind of buildings an relishes the challenge.
There’s a long way to go but the restoration is now well and truly underway which gives us confidence that the seemingly impossible can achieved, and the vision realised after all!
Hopefully , it will be a Derbyshire “good news” story that we can be all proud of.