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Whitehall Rec bandstand restored to its former glory

THE historic bandstand in Whitehall Recreation Ground has been restored to its former glory.

Whitehall Rec bandstand
Cllr Kathryn Lawrence, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for operations and traded services, at the restored bandstand in Whitehall Recreation Ground. Published Tuesday, 23rd August 2022

Rugby Borough Council enlisted the expertise of specialist builders to carry out the restoration, with work starting in January.

Plans for the restoration were drawn up after the council secured funding from section 106 contributions, with heritage restoration specialists studying photographs of the bandstand in its pomp to ensure the project remained faithful to its original construction.

Shilton-based builders TR Ellis & Co Limited dismantled the bandstand before restoring or replacing the structure's components.

The original cedar shingle roof has been replaced by a zinc-covered roof, while bespoke railings and a gate - inspired by the bandstand's original wooden panelling - have been fitted.

Wood fittings including the bandstand's timber columns and spandrels have been faithfully recreated, while the decorative wooden finials atop the bandstand's roof have been restored and refitted.

Lighting and electrics have also been installed to allow the bandstand to return to its roots as a performance venue.

Cllr Kathryn Lawrence, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for operations and traded services, said: "The restoration of the bandstand was the next key element of our phased improvement programme for Whitehall Recreation Ground, which has included a new play area, skatepark and improvements to pathways to link the rec to our Park Connector Network.

"The bandstand has stood in Rugby's oldest public green space for 90 years, so we're delighted to preserve this piece of the borough's history for future generations."

The bandstand was built in 1932 to commemorate Rugby being declared a municipal borough. In recent years, it had become blighted by woodworm and wet rot, forcing the council to erect security fencing amid safety concerns.

Whitehall Recreation Ground opened to the public in 1877 and a decade later was the focal point of the borough's celebrations for Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee.

The Whitehall Memorial Gates were unveiled in 1922 to honour Rugby's fallen heroes of the First World War, with more than 10,000 residents attending the opening ceremony conducted by Field Marshall Earl French of Ypres.

Richard Leedham, managing director of TR Ellis & Co Limited, said: "The project generated positive comments from the local community throughout and we're pleased such a valued asset has been saved."

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