In the 1770s it stood atop Steep Hill as Lincoln County Hospital. Since then, the former Chad Varah House has taken on guises as a residential college site and university classrooms. Now, the building has been given ‘the new life it deserves’ as a luxury living palace.
The Lincolnite was invited for an exclusive first look behind the scenes as phase one of the £10 million Bailgate Court project reaches completion and a workforce of around 30 continue to transform the site before a December deadline.
See inside the first finished property:
The building on Wordsworth Street was constructed, on the site of a Roman fortress, in 1776 and started life as an infirmary. It treated patients until 1874, before becoming the Lincoln Theological College. It was also used briefly by De Montfort University, The University of Lincoln and temporarily the Lincoln University Technical College.
With its position beside the city’s iconic hilltop beauties, life in one of the building’s 13 high-end apartments and two houses (ranging from £450,000 to £1.2 million) comes complete with what developers describe as the best views in the city. It’s perhaps unsurprising that half of the properties have already been snapped up.
Pavilion penthouses, complete with rooftop ‘glass box’ terraces, offer rarely glimpsed panoramas of Cathedral Quarter rooftops, spires, castle walls and Lucy Tower. On the north side, a carpet of bustling city scenes and greener horizons.
The mission to restore and reinvent the scheduled monument building was taken on two and a half years ago by a trio of ambitious investors. Grimsby-born property developer Dean Draper of Peach Estates formed a joint company, Bailgate Court Ltd, with developers Philip Good and Colin Holden.
Together, they have restored and preserved the Grade II listed building’s original 18th century features and worked with industry experts to match heritage with discreet new age luxuries like digital bedside shower controls, LED wall lighting, under-floor heating throughout, security features and enormous open-plan kitchen living spaces.
“We have also worked with Holten-Le-Clay architect Jonathan Hendry,” explained Dean Draper. “We partnered with him previously, notably on our Museum Court development in Lincoln, and he was named ‘Architect of the Year’ in 2010.”
Dean Draper, who is now based in London but makes weekly trips back to Lincolnshire, has been developing properties for 30 years. “This is easily my favourite project so far,” he added.
“We created bespoke kitchens, the bathrooms and worktops are silestone, there is underfloor heating throughout, incredible acoustic and thermal values, just lovely quality, and most importantly, it’s all about position. The position and the views from this building are unquestionably the best in Lincoln.
“I was interested in this building since 2006. The mission was always to rescue one of Lincoln’s most beautiful buildings. It’s a change of use into something the city needed and bringing some life back into it.
“It’s Grade II listed and it’s also a schedule monument, so everything we did had to be agreed by Historic England, the conservation department and the planning department and we have got a great relationship with all three of those.
“The biggest challenge was raising the money. Altogether we have invested £10 million, including the purchase of the property.
“We love Lincoln, all three of us are Lincoln based. We believe in it, we invest in it. We think Lincoln is really going places. Every time I come here, I live in London but I am a Lincolnshire boy, there is always something going on and you can just see the progress, on a weekly basis.
“Lincoln in general is thriving. We have got a lot of confidence in Lincolnshire.”
Final touches are going onto properties on the south side of the building. The last phase will be the north side, where the old facade has been demolished and reconstructed to form glass-fronted living spaces and terraces.
On October 6, the team will host an open day, where visitors will be able to step inside what would have originally been a bustling hospital ward, and be met instead with the first fully-completed apartment – with interior designs by Victoria Covell.
Visitors will also be given a tour of the ongoing work.