New Bolsover Model Village’s £10m project gets green light thanks to Heritage Lottery funding

The New Bolsover Model Village.
The New Bolsover Model Village.

A £10million project to breathe new life into the historic New Bolsover Model Village is set to go-ahead after the Heritage Lottery Fund agreed to grant £1.9million towards the project.

The project will carry out essential repairs and restore original architectural features at the 194 dwellings that make-up the Model Village.

Bolsover Town Centre. New Bolsover (Model Village).

Bolsover Town Centre. New Bolsover (Model Village).

In addition all 138 Bolsover District Council owned properties will receive internal thermal insulation.

The three-year project is due to start in June 2016 and offer a number of training and work experience opportunities for local people.

Running alongside the building work will also be an exciting programme of activities designed to engage the community, creating a better understanding of the local heritage and evoking a sense of pride in the local area.

This will include working with the local primary and secondary schools, supporting the local community group “Friends of New Bolsover”, exploring and developing volunteering opportunities including a community time bank, heritage open days, a heritage big lunch and a range of other activities.

Academics and educational institutions will also be invited to get involved in the ongoing research opportunities that the project will offer in terms of understanding how historic buildings function and ways of improving thermal performance.

Bolsover District Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Councillor John Ritchie, said: “We are delighted that the HLF have seen the benefits of this major iconic project that will provide modern homes in a Victorian setting.

“Together with our partners, the tenants and residents we have worked very hard to bring this project to fruition as it will benefit all the occupants of New Bolsover Model Village.

“We are very excited about this project as it will not only maintain the heritage and history of the village, but improve local residents’ quality of life.” 

New Bolsover Model Village was built by the Bolsover Colliery Company in 1891 to accommodate its workforce and is a lasting legacy to the coal mining industry which dominated life in the town from 1891 to 1993.

It was the first of a series of model villages developed by the company and the design was influenced by the emerging Arts and Crafts and Socialist Movements and their related Garden City ideas.

At New Bolsover, this influence translated into building houses on three sides of a large square with the school which served as a village hall on the fourth side.

The centre forms an open space which serves as a playground for the children as well as providing ample area for shrubberies and flowerbeds and a focal point for the community.

To accompany the colliery workers’ houses and the school, which has unfortunately now been demolished, twelve villa properties for the colliery officials and administrative staff, a cooperative store, a Miners’ Welfare, a Methodist Church - also now demolished - and an orphanage were also built with allotments and space for cricket, bowls, tennis and football.

The buildings were listed Grade II in 1989 and 2004.

The Model Village is also situated within the Bolsover Conservation Area which was first designated on July 17, 1971.

Jonathan Platt, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund East Midlands, said: “This is an ambitious and highly visionary project that will preserve an important part of the UK’s coal mining heritage whilst strengthening local pride and identity within the Model Village and connecting residents to the heritage on their doorsteps.

“New Bolsover was a model of how to do things in the 19th century and, thanks to this inspirational project and National Lottery players, it will become a model of how to get the best out of historic properties in the 21st century.”

Resident Craig Gulliver said: “New Bolsover is an amazing place that sadly has lacked the care and attention it deserves.

“Speaking as a resident I am hugely grateful that finally we are going to see something done to help not only make our houses look better and restored somewhat towards their former glory, but also to give us homes which are economical to heat.

“This investment represents real hope for the area and the future is looking bright for the community.”

The main aims of the project are:

To implement a program of repair and restoration, which will include the reinstatement of architectural detailing such as windows. This will include repairing and repointing chimneys, repointing brickwork, repairing or replacing existing stonework, installing new cast iron rainwater goods, repairing or replacing front doors and fanlights, replacing windows, upgrading the front room floors, new roof and wall insulation and doing roof repairs;

To work in partnership with community organisations to strengthen community spirit and promote pride in local heritage;

To improve housing and housing conditions for local people through physical improvement, better maintenance, and improved thermal efficiency;

To provide local training and volunteering opportunities.

The Heritage Lottery Fund, thanks to the National Lottery, is able to invest money into historical UK projects like the New Bolsover Model Village.

The Friends of New Bolsover Community Group are holding a Christmas event, on Thursday, December 17, at 157 New Bolsover, S44 6PZ, between 4pm and 6pm providing an opportunity to celebrate the success of the bid.

There will be refreshments and free Christmas crafts for children.