Construction firm restores grand historic Hull building

The impressive restoration of 52-53 Whitefriargate, which is a magnificent Grade II listed building in Hull city centre, has been completed on time and within budget.

The renovation and restoration works were carried out by Yorkshire and Lincolnshire construction firm, Hobson & Porter, for Shires Estates Investments, which acquired the building in 2020. The project was supported with a grant from Historic England and Hull City Council, as an extension of the Humber High Street Challenge Fund.

The work included the conversion of the upper levels to support future use as a restaurant or café, with a flat roof converted into a stunning roof terrace. Hobson & Porter also replaced the shop fronts, roofs and completely renovated the external elevations, which included the stone window surrounds, rendering, decoration and traditional timberwork.

Sam Robertson, from Hobson & Porter, said: “We take great pride in refurbishing local iconic buildings so that they can be preserved and enjoyed by future generations. Our work reflects the traditional methods of construction, with high levels craftmanship, that have been key to the building’s longevity for more than 200 years.

“This project really showcases the capabilities of our skilled team and supply chain, and what we can deliver. We enjoyed working with Wren Architecture and bringing the company’s vision for the building to life. With more development works planned for Whitefriargate and the surrounding area, we have already received enquiries about several other exciting projects nearby.”

52-53 Whitefriargate dates from the late 18th century and has gone through many changes and alterations in over 200 years. Originally a town house, in the 19th century it was converted into a shop on the ground floor. At the upper levels it had been a library in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In the 1960s a fire destroyed the second floor overlooking Whitefriargate, which has never been replaced. The unit had fallen into a state of disrepair before it was purchased and invested in by Shires Estates Investments, attracting tenants LW Flowers, with plans to open up a rooftop bar and extended restaurant space.

Sam added: “Whitefriargate is a historic high street in Hull where 60% of the buildings are Grade II or Grade II* Listed. The area, including Silver Street and Hepworths Arcade, has been declared a Heritage Action Zone opening access to funds administered by the city council and Historic England and we are honoured to have played a part in ensuring a brighter future for the building, its tenants, and the local community.”

Hobson & Porter has a proven track-record for heritage and listed building work, the firm has recently re-roofed the Guildhall and is restoring its time ball and internal mechanism. The firm also made improvements and repairs to the clock tower and its historic stonework. Other successful projects have seen its team restore 79 Lowgate and Beverley Road Baths, and Hobson & Porter is currently restoring Albert Avenue Baths and its historic lido.