From Victorian poverty to 21st-century luxury - Hopkins Homes wins top national prize for restoration of former Aylsham workhouse

PUBLISHED: 17:16 06 November 2015 | UPDATED: 17:16 06 November 2015

From left: Hopkins Homes staff: Lee Barnard, sales and marketing director; Melvyn Cursons, site manager; David Wytchard, head of design;  Michael Cox, managing director. Picture: SUBMITTED

From left: Hopkins Homes staff: Lee Barnard, sales and marketing director; Melvyn Cursons, site manager; David Wytchard, head of design; Michael Cox, managing director. Picture: SUBMITTED

Archant

A Victorian building which was once a place of misery for thousands has earned a top national award for the 21st-century restorers who turned it into luxury homes.

The Victorian facade of the former St Michael's Hospital, Aylsham, pictured in 2007. The Victorian facade of the former St Michael's Hospital, Aylsham, pictured in 2007.

Hopkins Homes beat off competition from other regional and national contenders to win the Best Refurbishment Project in this year’s Housebuilder Awards with a scheme in Aylsham.

Judges were impressed by the firm’s treatment of the listed former workhouse building which later became a part of St Michael’s Hospital.

Renamed Bure Place, the building, which dates from 1849, is set in the private grounds of St Michael’s Place, a short walk from the town centre.

Hopkins Homes restored many original 19th-century features including castellated parapets, ogee plain-tiled domes, stone mullion, and transom windows, blending them with modern kitchens, bathrooms and other living accommodation.

Bure Place features a collection of two-bedroom apartments; two, three and four-bedroom houses; and two-bedroom bungalows.

James Hopkins, executive chairman of Hopkins Homes, based in Woodbridge, Suffolk, said: “It is simply fantastic to see our hard work and commitment to high-quality design being rewarded on a national scale once again.

“Our developments are purposefully and sympathetically designed to preserve and enhance the local community.

“We are fortunate to have very talented and skilled members of staff and suppliers who help us to consistently deliver much-needed high quality homes for communities in the East of England. I would like to thank them all for making winning this award possible.”

Aylsham Union Workhouse was renamed a Public Assistance Institution in 1930, and then St Michael’s Hospital. The main building was disused by 2005 and the rest of the hospital closed in 2012.

Bure Place was also crowned as the Development of the Year at the Sunday Times British Homes Awards 2015 last month.

Has your firm won an award? Contact alex.hurrell@archant.co.uk

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