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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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Allonby Reading Rooms are restored

A six-year project to turn Allonby’s iconic Reading Rooms into a large family home is nearing completion.

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ALMOST FINISHED: Builder Darren King is carrying out the restoration of Allonby Reading Rooms

Builder Darren King said he hoped work on the large sea-front building would be finished within three months.

The building, which had fallen into disrepair and was open to the elements, is now almost fully restored.

A new roof has been built and its clock tower, complete with clock, has been restored.

Restoration work started six years ago when the building was bought by Byron Beck and Faye Ashton, who work in Kuwait.

Mrs Ashton said it had been her dream to restore what had become an eyesore since her parents moved into the village in 1977.

Mr King said he began work in October last year and hopes to be finished in three months.

He said the result will be a beautiful six-bedroom home which will retain the character of the Reading Rooms, built by the Quakers in 1862.

While the exterior retains its historic character, inside it is modern, with white and stained oak fittings, said Mr King.

He added: “Right up until the 1940s, silent movies were shown on the ground floor of the Reading Rooms. There was a billiard room and reading room on the top floor with newspapers and books for local people to read.”

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