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The Vulcan Works Northampton Building Conversion

A major refurbishment project in Northampton to create a leatherworking centre of excellence in the town’s cultural quarter. The multi-million pound transformation of the Vulcan Works – an historic former ironworks – undertaken by Northampton Borough Council in conjunction with the University of Northampton. The building has been largely empty since the late 1970s.

The Northampton Borough Council project will breathe new life into the Grade II listed former iron works factory and additionally create a new block for office, studio and managed workshops.

The development creates an Institute for Creative Leisure Technologies and a Leather Conservation Centre and is expected to cement Northampton’s place as a global powerhouse for leathercraft. The project is part of the council’s £13 million development of the cultural hub, with £5 million being used for the leather works centre.

The second phase creates managed work space. It is expected to support up to 100 local businesses in its first ten years of operation, creating around 300 jobs for the local community.

Located in the heart of the city’s Cultural Quarter, the scheme was a combination of renovation and new build, providing 68 lettable units specifically aimed at start-ups and growing businesses within the creative industry.

BSP has been the civil, structural and environmental engineer, as well as providing ground investigation work for the redevelopment of the site, BSP Consulting have prepared detailed designs.

BSP director Carl Hilton said: “The former Vulcan Works, a Grade II listed building, is a fascinating site historically and this development will open up a new chapter.

“It is a really interesting scheme that has almost every type of project rolled into one – new build, refurbishment of historic buildings, tight town centre site, industrial processes, party wall matters, together with multiple end clients. Our engineers have responded to these challenges and we are all looking forward to seeing it completed.”

The University of Northampton will transfer its Institute for Creative Leather Technologies and the Leather Conservation Centre, both currently on its Park Campus, to the Vulcan Works site in Guildhall Road.

Managed workspaces, ranging from 23 to 79 square metres in floor space, will be available to new and existing creative businesses. The 49 flexible units are expected to create up to 300 jobs over 10 years within creative professions such as advertising, architecture, design, arts and crafts and software design services.

SEMLEP has contributed £6.3million towards the development through the Local Growth Fund, and a further £3 million is being provided by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) from the European Social Fund (ESF).

Due to its diverse nature of work and historical importance, the project required more than 70 specialist contractors to deliver the build and we are delighted with the end result.”

Here is a time lapse video of the Vulcan Works project completion:


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Northampton Borough Council





Project Description

A design and build refurbishment project in Northampton to create a leatherworking centre of excellence in the town's cultural quarter




6 Years for various phases



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