22nd Sep, 2018

Historic Coventry building - featured in Italian Job - converted into luxury flats after campaign

Felix Nobes 10th Sep, 2018 Updated: 10th Sep, 2018

ONE of Coventry’s ‘most iconic’ Victorian buildings – which featured in the legendary Italian Job film – has been restored after years of campaigning.

Housebuilder Morris Homes has regenerated Copsewood Grange, on Allard Way, to its former glory.

Conservation group The Coventry Society began campaigning to save it from vandalism and disrepair several years ago.

Work began on restoring Copsewood Grange – once a club house for the adjacent golf course – in April 2016.

The developer has now transformed it into a range of luxury two bedroom apartments – attempting to retain its original style.

Morris Homes’ regional managing director, Dominic Harman, was joined by Coventry Society member Les Fawcett to lay the final roof tile.

It is part of a wider Coventry Society campaign to save historic buildings on former industrial land – including the smaller Copsewood Lodge on the same site.

Mr Fawcett said: “The society had campaigned for some years to save the historic buildings that had once been zoned for industrial development by the city council, neglected or vandalised.

“We were delighted to see that Morris Homes had grasped the nettle and were restoring the buildings to their former glory.”

The Grange was built in 1872 by James Hart, a ribbon manufacturer, and later sold to the General Electric Company (previously Peel Conner Telephone) in the 1920s, the Society says.

It was used by GEC during the 1980s for students and apprentices until it fell into disrepair following a major fire.

It acted as the club house for the Marconi golf club and still remains on the grounds of the Copsewood Grange golf club.

Aside from having housed students and workers, the building boasts historic connections to the film industry.

A scene from The Italian Job, starring Michael Caine, was filmed in the grounds of the site in 1968.

The three minis can be seen driving through sewer pipes, which were assumed to be in Turin, but were in fact part of the Grange’s golf club.

Mr Harman said: “When we undertook the challenging restoration of Copsewood Grange, we were very careful to ensure that its rich heritage and all of the buildings character and detail were protected.

“We’re delighted to be able to unveil our progress in bringing this important historic building back to life.

“Our topping out ceremony marks the final stages for completion of the building, we appreciate all the help we have had from Coventry City Council and we look forward to welcoming our first residents to their new home next month.”

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