On Thursday night at 8pm Portico’s restoration will feature amongst that of seven other properties on Channel 4’s “Great British Buildings: Restoration of the Year” programme.
Presenters Kevin McCloud and Anna Keay showcase the most incredible restorations of historic buildings from around the UK. From palaces to watermills, department stores to music halls, they unfold nine centuries of history told through treasured places that have been brought back from the brink. These are bold interventions demanding great craft skills, enormous dedication and budgets that run into millions.
This second episode, on Thursday 30th March, explores several wonderful buildings of the nineteenth century, in the Victorian category of the competition. Anna Keay and her team spent a week filming at Portico and at Northern Ireland’s two other entries: Mount Stewart and Sion Mills stables in Co Tyrone. Portico is a grade A listed Greek Revival temple and widely held to be one of the best examples of its type in Great Britain and Ireland. The restoration included everything from the ridge tiles to the subfloors and the result is a stunning landmark in Portaferry and a great credit to the foresight of those people who built the church in the mid 19th century as well as to those who recently restored it.
Prtico’s restoration was driven by the Friends of Portaferry Presbyterian Church (FPPC) who raised the £1.5m necessary for that project. The primary funder was the Heritage Lottery Fund but 24 other charities made significant contributions and a very successful crowd funding campaign raised over £70,000. Last May HRH The Prince of Wales reopened the building which is now an arts and heritage centre. In the last 10 months Portico has held over 65 events. Later this year from 26th – 29th May they will host their annual four day music festival “Festiv’Ards” featuring superb classical music ranging from organ concerts through clarinet, string quartet, piano, vocal and cello recitals (further information at www.porticoards.com).
Ian McDonnell, chair of FPPC Portico’s restoration said “Portico has already won several prizes and many accolades and is a wonderful example and lead for those who own a listed building and aren’t quite sure how to rescue it. To have the work that we’ve done recognized in this way on national television is a great compliment to the many people involved in the project, in particular Bill Maxwell our conservation architect”.
At the end of the episode Kevin and Anna hear which building the Judges from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors have shortlisted to be in the running for the ultimate accolade of ‘Restoration of the Year’.