Some of Coventry’s oldest buildings to be transformed into visitor apartments

Contractors have been appointed to transform three timber-framed Lychgate Cottages near Coventry Cathedral into short-term visitor apartments.

Officials and contractors pose for photograph infront of Lychgate Cottages in Priory Row, Coventry.

Pictured from left: Graham Tait from Historic Coventry Trust; Graham Robertson from Messenger Construction; Ian Harrabin from Historic Coventry Trust; Mark Brookes from Messenger Construction; and Cllr Jim O’Boyle.

Expert conservation contractors have been appointed to transform some of Coventry’s oldest buildings into unique, short-stay apartments for visitors to the city in time for it holding the title of City of Culture 2021.

The Historic Coventry Trust has awarded a contract worth over £600,000 to Messenger Construction Ltd to restore three timber-framed Lychgate Cottages in Priory Row and convert them into four self-contained apartments which will be let for short breaks.

The chocolate box black and white cottages were built in 1415 and are the only buildings from St Mary’s Priory to survive the destruction of Godiva’s Cathedral during the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539.

Skilled craftspeople from Messenger Construction, who work with public and private property owners including the National Trust and Historic England, have started work on the careful restoration of the ancient timber-framed structures.

Funding for the project has been secured from the Architectural Heritage Fund, the Cultural Capital Investment Fund and the Government’s Getting Building Fund through local partnerships.

Graham Tait, assistant director at Historic Coventry Trust, explained that the unique project in the Cathedral Quarter would attract visitors who may not previously have stayed overnight in Coventry, boosting the local economy.

“These notable cottages have been underused for many years. The project is part of the Trust’s partnership with the Council to restore much of the city’s ancient heritage in time for City of Culture in May 2021,” he said.

“The cottages will attract leisure visitors to Coventry to stay in a piece of ancient history linked to Lady Godiva. 

“The Trust has completed a new 250-year lease from Coventry City Council and will carefully look after the buildings for many generations to come.

“The cottages will be open to the public on open days for people to understand their unique story. We are also keen to document the more recent history and are encouraging any former residents to get in touch.”

Cllr Jim O’Boyle commented: “This is another major step in our innovative partnership with the Trust following the restoration of The Charterhouse, Drapers Hall and regeneration of The Burges which are already underway.

“The level of investment in the city’s heritage is unprecedented and will put us in a great position to take advantage of the boost in visitors resulting from City of Culture.

“The cottages will provide a very special experience for people to stay in the Cathedral Quarter and explore the other attractions. The increase in visitors will boost spending and jobs in the city centre’s shops and restaurants.”