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Restoration work begins on Watson Fothergill's bank


BBC cameras have got up close to view Fothergill's detailed stonework

One of the biggest and best preserved buildings of architect Watson Fothergill is being restored.

Four weeks of initial restoration work has been carried out on the head offices of the old Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Bank on Thurland Street.

Stonework has been repaired and consolidated and open joints have been re-pointed. Further restoration work is to be carried out in the near future.

Built between 1877-1882, the building is an example of the Victorian architect's gothic style.

Architect Watson Fothergill's old Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Bank on Thurland Street, Nottingham
Fothergill bankrupt several builders demanding high quality workmanship

Ken Brand, an expert on Watson Fothergill, said: "It's built in an era when there were many banks.

"This building was making a statement, the client was puffing out its chest. It was used as a form of advertising."

It features intricate stonework, an impressive central tower and three designs in Portland Stone depicting the principal industries of the region at the time - mining, textiles and agriculture.

"At the time Watson Fothergill was on the up and the bank took a gamble with him, having seen his work on the old Albert Hall," said Mr Brand. "He must have sold them on what he wanted to do."

The son of a wealthy lace manufacturer, born in Mansfield in 1841, Fothergill became known as Nottingham's most flamboyant Victorian architect.

He developed a distinctive picturesque style, influenced by the European gothic architecture he saw on his many visits to the continent.

There are many of his buildings dotted around the city centre, including banks, pubs, office buildings and shops.

As well as creating his own offices on George Street (1895) he designed the Old Jessop's Building on King Street (1895), the Queen's Chambers on Long Row (1897) and the Rose of England on Mansfield Road (1899).

Dominic Heale takes a bus top tour of Watson Fothergill's Nottingham

"Fothergill is important because he gives Nottingham a distinctive style," said Mr Brand, who is also Vice Chair of the Nottingham Civic Society.

Comparing him to one of Nottingham's other Victorian architects, famous for the Lace Market's Adams Building, Ken Brand said: "TC Hine was like a wife while Fothergill was like a mistress."

"Hine is sturdy and reliable while Fothergill gets people excited due to his flamboyance and decorative detail."

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