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31 Granby Street

Autumn 2021 marked the beginning of a seven-month project to save the roof of 31 Granby Street – a stunning grade II listed building and historic Leicester landmark.

(Image credit: Donald Insall Associates)

Why is 31 Granby Street important?

The former bank has long been recognised as a landmark in Leicester’s Victorian gothic architecture.

Joseph Goddard, a local architect, won a competition to design and build the Leicestershire Banking Company's new headquarters in the early 1870s. He had already played an important role in introducing Victorian gothic architecture to the city in his design of the Clock Tower.

The building is packed full of interesting and unique architectural and design features. It is built in red brick and Portland stone with a French pavilion roof and a corner porch. Its front to Granby Street is the most dramatic with three tall, decorated windows. Samuel Barfield, whose work can also be seen on the Clock Tower, carved the details on the exterior can be seen today. Hammer beams create a lantern roof, a feature that gives the building a lofty and imposing appearance. The pillars are hand-carved with individual friezes, and each corbel stone is engraved with a coat of arms.

For a while the building sat vacant, until a local family bought it and donated it to ISKCON to use as a Hare Krishna temple and community hub for the city.

Why does it need work?

The poor condition of the building means it is on the national Buildings at Risk Register.

Its roof is in poor condition and continues to deteriorate with water getting into the building and exposing its historic interior décor.

Urgent repairs were completed on one roof in March 2018 and private fundraising and discussions with other funders have been on-going since then.

What’s the plan?

Funding has been secured for a seven-month project to revive the roof to the glory it deserves.

The High Street Heritage Action Zone has granted ISKCON up to £750k towards the total project cost of over £1m. The High Street Heritage Action Zone is part of a national programme supported by Historic England that will see some of the most important historic shopfronts and buildings in Granby Street and Church Gate repaired and restored between now and March 2024.

Lang Conservation are the main contractor, led by conservation architects Donald Insall Associates, with structural engineers DCA Consultants and quantity surveyors PMP Consultants. The project will begin with the installation of an internal scaffold, called a birdcage, to allow access into the glass lantern. The rotten timbers will be replaced and any timbers, masonry and slate that can be saved will be reused where possible. The uPVC guttering will be replaced with cast iron. The parapet walls will be rebuilt, and a new lightning conductor system will be fitted. The ceiling will be repaired using a lime plaster, and the Georgian wired glazing in the glass lantern will be replaced with laminated safety glazing.

Do you have a story about 31 Granby Street?

Can you help us to join the dots between the people that have worked at or visited 31 Granby Street? Perhaps you have your own story or know of a tale that’s been passed down through family generations?