The Witham Hall restoration a 'step nearer'

The Witham Hall
Image caption The hall was built in 1854

Durham County Council has backed a conservation, restoration and development project at The Witham Hall.

The Grade II listed building stands in Horsemarket, Barnard Castle. It was built in 1854 in memory of Henry Witham of Lartington.

Regeneration organisation Barnard Castle Vision and The Witham Trustees are seeking to match funding for the project.

If current funding bids are successful, work could begin this year.

The funding will be used to restore the original testimonial building, main hall and Hall Street buildings.

'Town asset'

Chris Clark, chairman of The Witham Trustees, said: "Our priority is to conserve the beautiful buildings and ensure that The Witham Hall remains an asset to the town.

"We are a step nearer to that goal but we still need to secure further funding before any work can begin."

Councillor Neil Foster, Durham County Council member for regeneration and economic development, added: "We are keen to see this regeneration project go ahead, and have committed our support to give it the required impetus."

Henry Witham moved to Edinburgh, where he pioneered the study of fossils under the microscope.

In 1832 on the death of his mother, he and and his family returned to Lartington and he founded the Barnard Castle Mechanics Institute and assisted in the provision of a Dispensary Society.

He died in 1844 and in 1854 the Witham Hall was built by public subscription as a testimonial to him to house Barnard Castle Mechanics Institute and the Dispensary Society.

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