Grant Offer from Cadw
During 1994, Cadw began to accept grant applications ''in principle'' from prospective owners. The Trust put in an application in October, and heard just before Christmas that it was successful. The normal rate of grant for industrial buildings is 40%. The Trust has been offered 50% grant aid for all the historical repairs in recognition of the outstanding interest of the Tannery, and as a Building Preservation Trust. This is very encouraging, as it represents a large sum of money, and will also make attracting further funding easier. Unfortunately, Cadw grant cannot be used for acquiring the site, so the Trust must raise the purchase price - and the other 50% of the cost of repairs - elsewhere. The Cadw offer is usually held open for three months only, but the Trust has written to Cadw to explain the particular circumstances, and understands that the offer will remain open while the purchase is negotiated.
Strategic Development Scheme
The Trust's application through Dwyfor was not successful. (Dwyfor fared badly as a whole - only three schemes out of twenty were successful.) We will try again next year....
European Regional Development Fund
The 1994-1999 phase of the ERDF grant has just started, behind schedule. The Trust has received the new guidelines, and must submit an application by the end of March. Another EC grant that may help us is LEADER II which is about to start. We await guidelines.
Heritage Lottery Fund
The Trust is preparing an application to the new Heritage Lottery Fund. We fulfil their eligibility criteria very well, though their economic viability requirements will cause me homework!
One of the problems of a voluntary group such as Cyfeillion Cadw Tremadog is to find the initial matchfunding required by most of the grant-giving bodies.
Fortunately, The Heritage Lottery considers unpaid volunteer time as matchfunding, with labour at £46 a day, and an architect or other professional at £120 a day. ERDF and Leader may use similar formulae. This means that the time put in by the Chairman, the Treasurer, members of the committee and supporters, and myself as Secretary, may now be given a cash equivalent, and used as matchfunding. I estimate that since our inception in July 1991, we have jointly put in at least 1,300 hours, which equates to about £9,500.
Acquirinq the Site
As ever, the Trust needs to acquire the site in order to progress. Many grant-giving bodies will not give grant to or even entertain application from other than owners. The Trust has just received a new, independent, valuation of the site. This takes into account the clearing of the derelict industrial buildings at the front of the site and the securing of the two listed buildings against further collapsed by Dwyfor. The planning restrictions on the site and the contamination still present within the slab and subsoil are further considerations. As a charity, the Trustees have a duty to use their assets wisely, and so would need very good reason to make an offer above the valuation. However, the remit of the Trust is to protect and preserve the architectural heritage of Tremadog - which might thus include paying a little more than the market value in order to secure an important building.
Offer to Buy Tannery
The Trustees have therefore decided to ask the present owners, Mr and Mrs Hibberts of Benada Development Company if they would consider an offer, subject to contract. lf Mr and Mrs Hibberts accept the offer, the Trust will have to decide if it is to raise the money - stand by for action! lf they refuse, and decline to negotiate, the Trust will consider seeking further action by Dwyfor to ensure that the buildings are transferred to suitable owners whether the Trust or others.
St Mary's Church, Tremadog
Although our first probed is the Tannery and site, the Trust's remit covers the whole of Tremadog. The Church is part of Madock's original scheme and dates from c. 1810. It is an early example in Wales of the gothic revival. Its location, set upon the rock, and its method of construction are also interesting. The tower is of brick, but with a very early type of cement render-possibly Parker's Roman Cement, the recipe for which have been lost. The Gateway is also gothic, made of Coade stone. Coade stone was an artificial stone. The gate was shipped in kit form to Ynys Cyngar (Porthmadog did not yet exist) and assembled in its present position. The church originally had box pews, and fine stained glass windows. The cessation of worship in the church is very worrying; a disused building soon deteriorates, and the process has begun already at St Mary's. It may be that with the appointment of a vicar to Porthmadog, the parish will take a new lease of life; but the long-term future of this church, as with so many places of worship, is uncertain.
The Trust will support every effort by the congregation and the village to safeguard the Church. The real need is for a new or complementary use, that will ensure the income to maintain the fabric of the building. Has anyone any suggestions? There is to be a Public Meeting soon: look out for date and venue.
Remounting of Exhibition
In October, we remounted the exhibition prepared by the Trust and Ysgol y Gorlan with grant aid from Cadw, Gwynedd County Council, The Prince of Wales Trust and The Welsh Church Fund. Despite better advance publicity, only just over 20 people attended in 4 days. Those who did found it interesting. Many thanks to supporters who gave time to look after the exhibition. The Memorial Hall kindly donated the use of the hall. Costs are covered by the grants, and the Trust received a small amount in donations.
VISIT FROM CADW'S INSPECTOR
Peter Wakelin, Cadw's Inspector, visited the site in July to consider the Trust's application for upgrading the Listing from Grade II to Grade II*. One of the questions is the original use of the Tannery building. lts height and style is typical of a mill, but there is contradictory archival evidence. The evidence of the building itself is ambiguous. A mill or loomshop needs light, while a Tannery needs ventilation. The roof had evidently been repaired at least once, the last time in c. 1935 (scratched onto a slate). Timbers are a mixture of oak and softwood. The ventilation dormers or giblets on the north are either later additions or replacements of earlier dormers. If replacements, there may originally have been four, as there are four pairs of diagonal timbers for dormers valleys or bracing, along the length of the roof. The original roof probably had leadroll ridge and hips, not clay, as remnants of leadroll attachments were found on the hips. The louvres in the upper floor windows are of nailed construction, so probably 19thC but the louvres in the west gable wall are pegged so probably original. Dr Wakelin was puzzled by the lack of a waterwheel placement at the rear or end of the Tannery, but found possible evidence in the east retaining wall of the site, which corroborates the archival evidence showing a wheel and the woollen mill there. (Other evidence has the eastern building as a warehouse.) The upper part of the staircase in the Tannery is of oak, and fits within the north east corner behind the chimney breast. I asked Dr Wakelin about the number of fireplaces, in either a Tannery or a Woollen Mill, but he made no comment. Recently, I learned that fireplaces or stoves were sometimes included in the Yorkshire Loomshops of the period - and the first manager at Tremadog was a Mr Fanshawe - a Yorkshire name.
Cadw has offered grant at an enhanced rate in recognition of the Tannery's importance, so perhaps a re-grading is in the pipeline. But the grant is the important thing!