The Florence Institute for Boys originally opened in 1889. It was the first building in Britain specifically constructed as a youth club. A fine example of late Victorian architecture, the building had splendid interiors, including the great hall, top-lit gym and the library. The Institute closed in 1988 when funding dried up. The building fell into disrepair and suffered from vandalism and weather damage. In 1999, a major fire destroyed the roof.
The local community established The Florence Institute Trust Ltd, to restore the building and appointed our engineers to preserve the historic structure. With funding secured the Trust appointed our team to provide structural and building services engineering for the restoration. Internally, this involved extensive repairs to floors and walls, and the creation of new building services throughout. External works included the repair of brickwork and terracotta on all elevations and a new roof with traditional lead and slate coverings. We also reinstated features such as vents and the cupola.
Restoring an iconic building, taking part in feasibility studies to decide the best use of the building, working on the project to turn it into a seven-screen cinema with restaurants, coffee shop and retail units, winning multiple industry awards and creating something of huge importance to local people.