Staff from one of the region’s top shoe manufacturers took a step back in time as they visited their former factory which has been converted into 14 two-bedroom apartments for affordable rent by local housing provider Grand Union Housing Group (GUHG).
Grenson Court, a Grade II listed building which formed the factory base for Grenson the shoemakers from 1895 until 2013, was officially opened in a ceremony attended by staff from GUHG along with those from Grenson, East Northants Council and developer Westleigh Partnerships.
The event offered those in attendance a chance to see just how much the four storey building has changed in the four years since it was vacated.
Phil Hardy, GUHG’s Director of Operations, attended the opening and said: “It’s fantastic that we have been able to give a new lease of life to what was once a cornerstone of Northamptonshire’s shoemaking industry by converting it into much needed affordable accommodation for local people.”
The new homes are some of the 32 GUHG has built for subsidiary Rockingham Forest Housing to manage since they joined the Group in November last year.
Derek Taylor, Grenson’s General Manager, was amongst those attending the opening that worked in the factory before its closure in 2013.
He said: “It was hard to imagine how it would look, but it’s amazing what has been done to the building. I’m so pleased that it’s survived and is something for local people. It’s great for the community that people on an average wage can afford to live in such a beautiful building.”
As part of the opening event, Grenson kindly donated a framed photograph of founder William Green that will be hung in the building’s entrance hall and will link the building to its heritage.