An expanding North East construction company has been awarded the contract to restore Auckland Castle.

Meldrum Construction Services Ltd, based in Gateshead, will be returning the Castle to its original Georgian Gothic opulence.

The multi-million pound project, supported thanks to National Lottery players by a grant of £12.4million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), will be managed by Darlington-founded construction management consultancy, Turner & Townsend and internationally acclaimed architects, Purcell.

Meldrum specialises in Grade I and Grade II listed buildings, with previous contracts including The Bruce Building, and St Nicholas Cathedral in Newcastle and the Sunderland Empire Theatre.

Around half of its current 190 employees will be involved in the Auckland Castle project, with a minimum of 60 expected to be on site at any one time.

They will be working alongside lead consultant and conservation accredited architects, Purcell, as well as Auckland Castle Trust’s Curatorial Team, to repair, restore and re-present the Grade I listed Castle in a way that better tells the story of its former residents, the Prince Bishops of Durham.

Purcell, which has 15 offices across the UK, as well as sites in Asia Pacific and Australia, has already worked on a number of similar projects, including the restoration of Durham Cathedral, Kensington Palace, Tower Bridge and the National Maritime Museum.

The restoration of Auckland Castle, which is due for completion in 2018, is being supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), Sir James Knott Trust, The Charles Hayward Foundation, The Headley Trust, The Linbury Trust, The Rothschild Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, J Paul Getty Jnr Charitable Trust and the Overstone Fund.

Within the Castle complex, where Purcell is the overall lead architect, there will also be an extension to Auckland Castle’s Scotland Wing, which will house a new museum exploring the history of faith in the British Isles.

The Faith Museum, designed by award-winning Niall McLaughlin architects, is being constructed by Meldrum in partnership with Turner & Townsend and is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Jerusalem Trust.

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