Cobbles will return to city street for historic makeover

Traditional cobbles are to be laid on a city centre street to bring Wakefield's history back to life as part of a multi-million restoration package.

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 4:38 pm
No Tar: Cobbles to replace Tarmac on Thompsons Yard.

The work is being carried out to restore the road at Thompson Yard off Westgate as part of Historic England’s High Street Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) programme.

It is the third phase of a scheme funded by Wakefield Council and Historic England to renovate Upper Westgate’s historic features.

The work will see traditional cobbles laid along the lane leading to Thompson Yard off Westgate.

Thompson Yard is best known as the former home of the 19th century novelist George Gissing, where a small museum dedicated to his life.

According to The Gissing Trust - Wakefield Historical Society the prolific writer, who produced 23 novels, is Wakefield’s most renowned novelist.

Similar work will take place in alleyways leading to Barstow Square, and Woolpacks Yard this year. This follows completion of works last year of phase one at Carter Street and phase one of Cheapside.

Mark Lynam, corporate director for regeneration and economic growth, said: “It is very important to preserve and restore the areas surrounding to complement the work on the historic buildings, which together help to reflect the character of our district and the many stories it has to tell.

“The third phase supports our overarching aim which is to breathe new life into our city’s historic streets and buildings.

"Through this project, we can also ensure our city’s stories and heritage are enjoyed and celebrated. The project also supports the district’s economy as we continue our recovery from Covid-19.”

The council has received £1.9million from Historic England which it has match funded to enable it to make almost £4million worth of investment into renovating Upper Westgate’s historic buildings, and adjacent yards and ginnels.

The funding will also be used for exciting new cultural events and celebrations in the future.

The project supports Historic England’s High Street Heritage Action Zones (HSHAZ) initiative to support the heart of the city and encourage businesses to the area.

The majority of the funds of the £4million project will focus on making grants available of up to 90 per cent to owners of historic properties within the Conservation Area to carry out high quality repairs and to bring internal spaces back into use. At least 20 buildings will be restored, for both residential and business use.

The programme of work will also involve cultural and community activities to engage owners and members of the public with the rich and fascinating history, and will involve working with Wakefield Civic Society, Wakefield Historical Society, and other community partners.