The popular Minions Heritage Centre on the outskirts of Minions village, reopened on Saturday (23 May) following a long period of closure.
Safety concerns regarding the engine house were expressed when the deterioration of a number of timber lintels was brought to the attention of Cornwall Council’s Capital Projects team. Such was the condition of some of the structural timberwork that the building was subsequently closed on health and safety grounds pending repairs.
An assessment of the engine house by Cornwall Council officers and local conservation specialists Heritage Cornwall Ltd. (formerly Darrock & Brown Ltd.) revealed significant deterioration to the window lintels on the eastern side, water ingress around the western window, and structural problems with the timber access steps to the rear.
Heritage Cornwall Ltd. was duly asked to prepare a repair estimate and with the help of CORMAC Solutions Ltd. and Cornwall Council, work got underway in November 2014. The subsequent dry weather aided progress and, by early December, the eastern lintels had been replaced. Work on the rear lintel and new steps followed this, and the final stage will be to install gates at the bottom of the steps to prevent moorland livestock from damaging the new timberwork.
Progress was halted unfortunately when building work caused damage to one of the glass roof lights, this delaying the reopening of the Centre significantly. This and a number of minor finishing issues have now been attended to, allowing this much-used facility to reopen for the benefit of locals and visitors using this part of the moor and World Heritage Site.
Thanks are extended to Pete Wherry and the staff of Heritage Cornwall Ltd. for their skill in sensitively undertaking the much needed repairs, to Toby Lowe (Cornwall Council Environment Directorate) and CORMAC Solutions Ltd. for facilitating the work and attending to the final fit and finish, and also to Beryl Martin, the Custodian of the Centre and Minions Parish Councilor, who has worked hard to refurbish the interior ready for reopening.
The Minions Heritage Centre within Houseman's Engine House, undergoing repairs in December 2014; this popular facility is now open to the public once more