Example of a THI project that meets our
aims relating to conservation
Project title: The Walled City THI, Northern Ireland
Applicant: Foyle Civic Trust
Administered by: Walled City Partnership
Grant awarded: £ 1,000,000
Grant Programme: Townscape Heritage Initiative
Project duration: 9 years
The Walled City THI - 2 Castle Street before and after and the Northern Counties hotel in the
The city of Derry (an Doire) dates back to the founding of St Colmcille’s abbey in 546 in a
strategic position on the banks of the River Foyle. The walled city today sits within the
Londonderry Historic City Conservation Area and retains defences and a grid layout which
have changed very little since the early 17th Century. The project encompasses areas within
the walls and Shipquay Place, the main public square in Derry dominated by the scheduled
monument of the walls and some of the city’s key civic buildings. The city has come through
a difficult and disrupted 30 year period of civil unrest resulting in large scale loss and damage
to buildings and infrastructure. Building repairs were often short term measures and did not
always take cognisance of architectural style and detailing; and many buildings were to suffer
repeated damage. The area nonetheless retains much of its traditional domestic/small scale
commercial character with buildings dating mainly from the 19th Century.
2. The aims of the project
Restoration of up to 33 properties within the Walled City Conservation Area, including
approximately 14 listed properties. To repair, reinstate and fully utilise the key buildings
within the defined THI area.
To address the issue of problems relating to derelict buildings, disrepair, underuse and
vacancy of buildings in order to strengthen the attraction of the historic environment.
To help improve declining trade and business in the area.
To promote the sustainable and viable use of the buildings that make up the special
architectural character of a defined area within the Historic City Conservation Area.
3. Benefits for heritage
Redressing the economic decline and deterioration of building fabric and its associated
heritage merit through repairs and restoration of identified properties.
4. Benefits for people
Redressing the issue of economic decline through the improvement of key historic
buildings to ensure a positive future for the area and the community.
5. Lessons Learnt
Although the high standard of conservation works required to attract an HLF grant initially
discouraged a level of participation, appreciation of the benefits of a conservation led
approach increased as the scheme gained momentum.
The partnership persevered in encouraging owners to remove external roller shutters
from shop-fronts, these being a legacy of the troubled past. Despite an initial resistance
to the removal of external shutters on THI funded properties, incidences of vandalism
have proved to be minimal.
The clustering of projects was important to maximise the impact and encourage further
Regular, ongoing communication with owners was important to encourage grant uptake
as the scheme progresses.
Education, particularly at a young age, is key to the appreciation of, and respect for the
built heritage of the city.
6. Long term benefits
The process of conservation and reuse of buildings has revealed some fine examples of
the high quality architecture within the city.
The restoration has instilled a sense of pride in the locality with an appreciation among
owners of the heritage value not only of their own property but also of the city centre as a
The high levels of occupancy achieved, suggests the desirability of restored historic
properties as places to live, work and shop.
The attention to detail adopted by the partnership in advising on the reinstatement of
traditional shop-front forms adds significantly to the quality of the civic space.
The animation of the streetscape through the removal of external shutters has added an
element of vitality, particularly to the evening environment, and will help the THI area to
compete with other shopping areas in the city centre.
The community networks developed during the project are themselves a resource for
Restoration of THI properties has been a catalyst driving physical improvements in the
Property owners acknowledge that the restoration works would not have proceeded
without the capital input from the HLF
7. The Budget
Total THI common fund £2,315,714
HLF grant awarded £976,444
Contributions from other funding partners £1,359,647
Funding of core costs by Derry City Council In excess of £4000,000
Property Owner Contribution £2,163,551