Fund for Market House will allow for ‘progress’

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

DETAILS have been revealed of how a welcome cash injection for the Market House in Rathfriland is set to be spent.

It was announced last week the Rathfriland Market House Development Association had received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the Market House restoration project.

The project aims to restore the Market House, creating a community hub and retail space within the building.

A spokesperson for the association said the development funding of £36,200 will "help the Market House Development Association progress their plans to apply for a full grant at a later date".

The project aims to completely restore the listed building and the association has identified a programme of work to be completed in order to ensure the building is in better condition.

Works will include repairs to the roof, outside render, repair and renew windows and doors, renew internal ceilings, plasterwork and woodwork including wooden floors, staircases, electrical, heating and plumbing installations, disabled access to ground and first floor levels, kitchen facilities and create space for display of historical artefacts and heritage experience.

The project will empower the local community to physically restore the Market House back to its former 18th century glory in order that it can be a fully functioning building, which can be used for the promotion of local heritage and broader community activities.

The project will not only see physical restoration work, it will go further as they aim to build upon the capacity of local people and volunteers in Rathfriland.

Support, training and resources for local people will enable the association to restore the building so that it can be used for purposes of heritage, tourism, community development, etc.

The Market House is the centre piece of the Square of Rathfriland. Originally built in 1760, it has played many roles through the years such as a minor court for petty sessions, a prison, estate granary for local farmers to store their grain for market days, a soup kitchen during the potato famine, as well as facilitating buyers and sellers of flax and other commodities.

The last major renovation to the building came in 1951, however the building has been unoccupied over the past 15 years to the detriment of the centre of Rathfriland.

Darren Trimble, chairman of the Market House Development Association welcomed the support of the Heritage Lottery Funding.

“The Market House is the main focal point of Rathfriland Square and has played a major role in the history of the village.

“There are many stories associated with the building and with the help of the Heritage Lottery development grant, we plan to explore this rich history and heritage.

“Our vision is to reach out to local people and visitors to educate them about the history of the building and its architecture as well as telling the story of the building in terms of who used the building and for what.

“We are keen to get as many people as possible to play an active part in this project and to engage with heritage.

“Over the course of the development phase we will be organising several public events, such as storytelling and heritage evenings when the community will be asked to bring old photos, documents, artefacts to share and educate."


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