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St Helens House, Derby
G1, 1766-67 by Joseph Pickford for Alderman John Gisbourne, plasterwork attributed to Abraham Denstone, carved chimneypieces attributed to George Moneypenny

Issue
St Helenís House in Derby is one of the finest and largest eighteenth century townhouses to survive in any provincial city. Unfortunately, it has been neglected for many years and has been disused since ceasing to serve as an adult education centre in 2004, when the Council said it could not afford the £5m repair costs. Although structurally sound, it is suffering from superficial damage externally in the form of crumbling balusters and dislodged parapet urns.

Our view
Sad that the local authority has shown a dismissive attitude to one of its crown jewels. We strongly believed that the local authority should sell the building to a carefully-chosen and vetted purchaser who had the will and resources to return the building to beneficial use while retaining a degree of piblic access and respecting its status as one of Derby's finest historic buildings.

Result
St Helen's House was bought in November 2006 by Richard Blunt, whose track record in sensitively restoring threatened historic buildings is second to none. Mr Blunt proposes to convert the building into a 50-room hotel, allowing general public access through organised tours.


 
 
   
   
     

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