Webb Estate restoration project opens doors for local business

A restoration project on a community venue in Purley has made extensive use of innovatively designed windows and doors supplied from a local business.

A local supplier provided the new windows and doors for the Lord Roberts on the Webb Estate

Lord Roberts On The Green re-opened as a cafe, post office and village store in April. It was built in 1907 by local estate agent William Webb as a temperance inn (one of the great oxymorons: a pub that didn’t sell alcohol).

The shop was originally named after Field Marshal Frederick Roberts, a hero of Victorian England who commanded the British forces in the Boer Wars, and who had connections with Croydon, having attended the East India Company’s Addiscombe college as a boy.

The Purley restoration project was undertaken by Laura Hamilton, the television presenter from Channel 4’s A Place In The Sun, and her husband Alex Goward, who stepped in to save the historic building from closure.

Any bidding contractor will have had to meet very demanding standards, since Hamilton, as well as appearing on Dancing On Ice, is also known for presenting another TV show: Cowboy Builders and Bodge Jobs.

And that experience appears to have paid dividends. Hamilton and Goward’s project has managed to marry saving a valuable community asset with establishing a new business and providing the means to pay towards the cost of the works. The refurbishment also includes an apartment and a three-bedroom house that will soon be up for sale as separate dwellings.

But the restoration was far from straightforward, with much attention going into the types of materials that could be used in the Webb Estate conservation area, where strict local rules and regulations apply.

Laura Hamilton and Alex Goward outside their refurbished and re-opened Lord Roberts

“It was imperative that the look and feel of the shop was maintained and utmost care was taken to ensure that the new materials were in-keeping with the old ones being removed,” said James Bath, the managing director of Guild Home Improvements, who undertook much of the work on windows and doors.

“There were many considerations to factor in when refurbishing such an historic building in a conservation area,” Laura Hamilton said.

“Initially we felt that our only option was timber frame windows as they had to match the existing black and white Tudor-style windows. When Lance at Guild Home Improvements told me about their composite window system we were delighted as it meant we could be in-keeping with the local character, could match the existing heritage colours and also comply with local heritage conditions.

“The added bonus is the windows are virtually maintenance free and had a much shorter lead time than timber windows. We then went on to select internal aluminium windows and a slimline aluminium conservatory from Guild Home Improvements to complete the restoration.”

GHI used a window system from its range which seeks to replicate the flush timber designs found in heritage properties in local towns, villages and cities, enabling homeowners to keep an authentic design without losing the character appearance and feel of the period. GHI also supplied a slimline, internally glazed, aluminium window system, external doors from its stylish Endurance range and installed a slimline, aluminium, conservatory that forms the new coffee shop seating area.

“It was an absolute joy to be involved with this restoration,” Bath said.

“Lance Thompson, one of our sales advisors, was heavily involved with the project as it was also something dear to his heart having been part of the local community in his younger years, popping into the village shop and post office to buy pick-and-mix sweets and also attending the local John Fisher School in Purley. Being back on site felt very nostalgic and Lance was eager to ensure that the project was delivered on time, on budget and that the materials complied with various regulations.”

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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