Gary Edwards’ article “Great Scott! How legendary architect’s Gothic masterpiece became a remarkable family home,” published on The Daily Mail, chronicles the history and transformation of Fitzroy House over the years – with a focus on how the property became a beloved family home for almost 40 years.
Designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott, who was commissioned to build the property in 1862, Fitzroy House is a charming neo-Gothic house. It was used by the town as a library until 1958 after which it was turned into office space. But the building fell into disrepair over the years and in the 1970s, it was at risk of demolition.
Saving Fitzroy House
Enter Jim Franks, a quantity surveyor. Jim was tasked with surveying the original building and saw an opportunity for himself. He saw potential in the 2,800 sq-ft building and decided to save the structure by turning it into his family home.
Fitzroy House served as a home for Jim and Maureen Franks for almost 40 years. The pair spared no effort in restoring the property to bring it back to its former glory and keep it that way. But, come 2015 with the pair in their late 80s, the property became too much for them to handle and they listed it on the market for offers of more than £1 million.
“It’s a real one-off,” said Franks’ daughter, Eleanor Austin. “We’ve made it a family tradition to visit other George Gilbert Scott buildings to see what else he created.”
You can read Gary Edwards’ original article about Fitzroy House on The Daily Mail