As part of the ongoing refurbishment of Colchester’s historic Red Lion Yard to create a boutique shopping & café quarter, painstaking work has started restoring brickwork and wooden beams dating back hundreds of years that form part of the Grade I listed Red Lion Hotel.
Thanks to a special chemical treatment that dissolves and washes away layers of modern paint, the original features are gradually being revealed behind the hoardings at the High Street entrance to Red Lion Yard. Dating back to 1465, the hotel is one of the oldest inns in Britain.
The process has already uncovered previously hidden historic features including areas of wood charred by the flames of candles, which would have been used to light the hotel before electricity was installed.
Once the paint has been stripped away from the listed brick and wooden beams on the underside of the entrance to Red Lion Yard, the surfaces will be treated to create a brighter and more historically authentic appearance.
The process, which is being carried out by Norfolk-based specialists The APR Company, is designed to be kind to very old buildings and is approved by The National Trust.
John Fleming, centre manager, said:
“Red Lion Yard is being completely transformed through the refurbishment. Treating the underside of the entrance will create a brighter, more inviting entrance from the High Street.
“This is the final phase of work and we’re already seeing lots of interest from retailers and restaurant/café operators wanting to take space in Red Lion Yard and look forward to announcing further details very soon.”
The sympathetic refurbishment of Red Lion Yard has included the installation of attractive new shop fronts, improved lighting and signage and complete redecoration throughout. The floor has also been repaved with a traditional York stone.
Works are due to complete next month. The official relaunch of Red Lion Yard will take place from Thursday 24 July to Saturday 26 July with three days of family fun and an exhibition about the Yard’s fascinating past and exciting future.
Colchester-based Nicholas Percival is acting as letting agent for the available units at Red Lion Yard.