Kriterion Conservation Architects secures Enniskillen Workhouse contract

5th October 2018

Kriterion Conservation Architects has been awarded the contract for the conservation and restoration of Enniskillen Workhouse Entrance Block, a Grade B2 Listed Building of great historical significance, into a business enterprise and heritage hub.

Development funding of £221,000 was awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to Fermanagh and Omagh District Council at the end of 2017, to help it to work up firm proposals for the project, which is being delivered in partnership with South West College.

Kriterion Conservation Architects will develop project plans and drawings to support a round 2 application to be submitted by the Council, in partnership with South West College, to HLF in October 2019 in a bid to secure the full £2.3m grant necessary to bring the project to life.

Enniskillen Workhouse was designed by architect George Wilkinson and opened in 1844. The main workhouse was demolished in 1964 and all that remains today is the Grade B2 listed Entrance Block which is currently ‘at risk’ and in need of urgent repair.

Kriterion Conservation Architects specialises in the conservation and restoration of listed and historic buildings, giving them new long-term sustainable uses whilst taking into account the historic and architectural significance of the building, its heritage value and its location.

Previous examples of their work include the Enniskillen Castle Heritage Gateway project, another HLF supported project, which transformed the Enniskillen Castle complex into a state of the art visitor attraction and flagship events space.

The project proposal for Enniskillen Workhouse is to sensitively refurbish the iconic building, bringing approximately 480m² of floor space back into use as a hub for business innovation and enterprise, while part of the building will be redeveloped as mixed-use exhibition, reminiscence and display space. Here the surviving workhouse records and minute books will be displayed and used to tell the story of the workhouse and the people who were housed there for the first time.

Members of the public who have memories, photographs or artefacts relating to Workhouses in Fermanagh are encouraged to get involved and are invited to contact Catherine Scott, Museum Services, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council.

Throughout the proposed restoration works a dedicated heritage skills and education programme will enable more than 100 local craftspeople and contractors to benefit from accredited training, and 12 apprenticeships will be created.

Speaking about the appointment of Kriterion Conservation Architects, Chairman of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Howard Thornton, said:

“The appointment of Kriterion Conservation Architects is another important stage in the Enniskillen Workhouse project. The project aims to develop local skills, business and enterprise opportunities while remembering a very important part of our shared history in a meaningful and respectful way. The Council, in partnership with South West College, is continuing to develop the round 2 application in an effort to secure the additional funding needed to bring this project to life and transform the existing site.”

Commenting on the announcement, Michael McAlister, Chief Executive of South West College said:

“This is a significant project for the people of this region and we are delighted to have the expertise of Kriterion Conservation Architects on board to help progress this unique venture.  The College looks forward to working with all the partners involved to deliver a pioneering innovative learning space within this historic building.”