Built in 1791, Lightwoods House is a Grade II-listed building that sits in 16 acres of parkland. Its first owner was Jonathan Grundy and the estate was passed down through his family until 1865, when it was sold to a local soap manufacturer, George Adkins. After Adkins’s son’s death, it was bought by public subscription and handed over the Birmingham Corporation as a public park. The house was occupied by stained glass manufacturers Hardman until 2008, and the property was finally handed over to Sandwell Council in 2010.
Restoration of the house and park began just over two years ago and has revitalised many historical elements of the grounds, such as the drinking fountains, 19th-century bandstand and Shakespeare Garden. New additions include paths, railings and children’s play area, while the house now houses a tea room, community training rooms, a children’s centre, function rooms and office space.
It is hoped that the newly laid oak flooring, restored period features and reclaimed slate-tiled roof will provide a beautiful backdrop to all kinds of events, such as weddings, educational programmes, conferences, exhibitions, food festivals and Christmas fairs. It is also hoped that the site will qualify for a Green Flag and Green Heritage Award, further boosting its potential as a destination venue for the region.
The £5.2m project was carried out by contractors Conservation Heritage Building & Conservation (Staffordshire) Ltd, who worked closely with architects from the Urban Design team at Sandwell Council. The Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund contributed £3.6m of the funding.
Candidates for the awards are nominated by council building control teams from across the West Midlands. Another local winner was Annex, a new self-build project on Corngreaves Road in Cradley Heath, which was recognised as the Best Individual Home. The winners were presented with their awards at an event at the ICC in Birmingham on Friday 28 April.
To find out about other landmarks in the borough, visit the Discover Sandwell website. If you’re thinking of relocating to Sandwell or starting a business in the region, then visit our Business Services pages to find out how we can help.