Save The Folk!
- Credit: thefolkofgloucester.co.uk
The Folk of Gloucester, one of the city’s most historically significant buildings and former home of the city’s Folk Museum, has launched a crowdfunding appeal to ensure vital restorations can go ahead.
Trustees of the Westgate Street venue, which dates back to 1506, need £20,000 to carry out sensitive repairs to its magnificent timber façade.
They are calling on Gloucester’s residents, visitors and businesses to rally behind and #LoveTheFolk by contributing donations which will enable long-term improvements to its frontage.
The full cost of the necessary work is £74,000, but volunteers from Gloucester Civic Trust who run and maintain the site, have already raised £54,000 towards the total themselves. The final £20,000 will complete the fundraising, and it’s hoped the #LoveTheFolk crowdfunder will reach its goal within six to eight weeks.
Jonah Jay, the architect overseeing the project for the Civic Trust, says, ‘The repair works are required to provide lasting improvements to the appearance and integrity of the distinctive street façade of The Folk of Gloucester.
‘These repairs will address ongoing issues with the timber frame itself, addressing rot and insect damage, as well as measures to slow down the effects of weathering.’
The timber frame’s infill, consisting of brickwork and wattle and daub, will be stripped of the existing modern paints which impair breathability and movement within the structure, repaired where required, and re-finished in traditional limewash. The colour of the limewash will be different for each part of the three former townhouses that make up The Folk to reflect historic colours and the different ownership and uses of the buildings.
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It’s the first phase of a wider three-year project to restore the fabric of the three Tudor timber-framed buildings, also known as Bishop Hooper’s House, which make up The Folk, create access-for-all to most of the rooms, and create an exciting and vibrant cultural heritage centre with new displays plus a programme of cultural events, concerts and activities.
Trustee Sue Smith says, ‘It is so exciting to be on the brink of restoring these buildings to their former glory. We will be bringing the stories and the buildings back to life, but need everyone’s help to achieve that ambition. You can make a difference.’
The Civic Trust now manage The Folk, which was bought by Gloucester Historic Buildings Limited from Gloucester City Council in 2021. The buildings used to house Gloucester Folk Museum, and are remembered fondly by many Gloucester residents who visited as youngsters.
This row of three unique Tudor buildings witnessed many events in Gloucester, perhaps the biggest being the Siege of Gloucester in 1643. They were high-status houses when they were first built, and many Aldermen owned these buildings and lived here, including several mayors and sheriffs. Bishop Hooper, who was burnt at the stake in 1555, is reputed to have stayed here the night before that event, which was witnessed by thousands of Gloucester citizens. Later, the houses were subdivided and became places of work for industries like pin making, coffin making, brewing, basket making and many others.
The Civic Trust is compiling a comprehensive history of the building and researching all who lived and worked here over the past 500 years. They will be telling their fascinating stories on conducted guided tours of The Folk, called If Only Walls Could Talk.
There are some exciting rewards for those who donate, and all who do will be invited to the opening day.
The mission for The Folk of Gloucester is to preserve the building for the community and visitors of the great historic City of Gloucester, in order to educate, excite and explore the identities of the city and its people through objects, exhibitions, displays, programming and events.
Find out more at gloucestercivictrust.org and thefolkofgloucester.co.uk
Gloucester Civic Trust is a registered charity, number 264719.