Ross-on-Wye’s iconic Grade II* listed Market House will soon undergo urgent repairs and restoration, with the help of a £112,780 grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Set to commence in Spring 2024, the project aims for completion by November the same year. This significant undertaking will tackle extensive stone erosion that puts the building at risk, notably threatening to dislodge the glass from the severely eroded stone window surrounds.

The Market House has been a focal point in the life of Ross-on-Wye for over four centuries. But years of neglect have led to the deterioration of the building’s stone fabric, posing a serious risk to its structural integrity and future use. If unaddressed, these issues could lead to the windows being boarded up, impacting the building’s functionality and diminishing the town’s character.

Ross Town Clerk, Sarah Robson said: “We are delighted to have received this support thanks to the National Lottery players and are pleased the project will offer the opportunity to conserve this magnificent building. The Market House is such an iconic landmark within the town and it’s exciting to know that the restoration will enable residents and visitors alike to continue to enjoy it for many decades to come.”

The project will extend beyond mere repairs and conservation. Several legacy projects are also in the pipeline. These include new interpretation boards that will narrate the story of the Market House and its historical context. In collaboration with createRoss, the town will augment its Museum Without Walls with new Augmented Reality exhibits. An app-based tour will offer an engaging walk through the town’s history, accessible right from one’s smartphone.

In an effort to raise awareness about the decline in hedgehog numbers, a ‘Hedgehog Hub’ will be set up. The initiative will work with local Nature and Wildlife Groups to tell the story of the hedgehog, the town’s historic emblem, aiming to engage the community in wildlife conservation.

The project will culminate in a special exhibition, developed in partnership with Made in Ross, to celebrate the building and its heritage. Residents will be kept informed about the progress of the work through the town council’s website, newsletter, social media channels, and local press.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund is the UK’s largest dedicated funder of heritage projects. Over the next decade, it aims to invest £3.6 billion raised by National Lottery players to benefit people, places, and the natural environment. This grant will not only protect a treasured historic site but will also enrich the community’s appreciation of its heritage.