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1st Jul, 2022

Dilapidated 90-year-old bandstand to be restored to its former glory

A DILAPIDATED 90-year-old bandstand in Rugby’s oldest public green space is to be restored to its former glory.

A major restoration project for the bandstand in Whitehall Recreation Ground is set to start next week.

The historic bandstand, built in 1932 to commemorate Rugby being declared a municipal borough, has become blighted by woodworm and wet rot in recent years, prompting Rugby Borough Council (RBC) to erect security fencing due to safety concerns.

But after commissioning a report from heritage restoration specialists and securing £80,000 in Section 106 contributions from housing and employment developers in the area, RBC is set to start work on a complete restoration of the bandstand on Monday (January 24).

Plans for the restoration have been drawn up after experts researched photographs of the bandstand in its pomp, with the structure set to be dismantled before being rebuilt in keeping with its original construction.

The restoration includes replacing the bandstand’s original cedar shingle roof, which had become rotten due to water damage, with a zinc covered roof, traditionally used for bandstands built in the early 20th century.

The project also includes the installation of guttering and drainage to protect the bandstand’s timber columns.

Work on the restoration is set to be completed in the spring.

Coun Howard Roberts, RBC’s leisure and wellbeing spokesman, said: “Restoring the bandstand was a key element of our phased programme of improvements to Whitehall Recreation Ground, and we’re delighted to have secured Section 106 funds to carry out the work.

“It’s a major restoration project which protects a piece of the borough’s heritage for future generations and marks another significant step in our work to improve Rugby’s oldest public green space.”

Whitehall Recreation Ground opened to the public in 1877, and a decade later was the focal point of the borough’s celebrations for Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee.

The Whitehall Memorial Gates were unveiled in 1922 to honour Rugby’s fallen heroes of the First World War – with more than 10,000 residents attending the opening ceremony conducted by Field Marshall Earl French of Ypres.

A phased improvement programme at the recreation ground has so far included a new play area, new ‘easy gates’ at all entrances, and the installation of a state-of-the-art skatepark.

Future plans include pathway improvements and landscaping work.

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