MORE than 120 guests joined in the celebrations when Lord Egremont unveiled a plaque to celebrate the completion of the restoration project at Coultershaw Heritage Site.
The event was held in the restored warehouse with a marquee attached and Petworth Town Band played under its colourful awning.
Lord Egremont joined other speakers in congratulating the trustees and their volunteers on their achievement.
The restoration project included refurbishment of the pump house with new display panels and a model of the site as it was in 1841, and restoration of the warehouse with toilets and as a room for schools’ visits, meetings and exhibitions, including a permanent exhibition of George Garland photographs.
The project also included restoration of the engine house as an exhibition space for hands-on pumps, a new bridge over the river above the sluice gates and reinstating of the boardwalk from the engine house to the navigation.
Chairman of the Coultershaw Trust Robin Wilson said: “Sadly the boardwalk was washed away in the floods on Christmas Eve. Eighty per cent of the timber had been salvaged and the rebuild is now halfway to completion.
“The new structure will be at a higher level, nearer the road and with a long span over the navigation.”
Mr Wilson added: “ It’s been a long haul.
“In 2006, with the help of a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) the trust commissioned a conservation management plan, on which the outline development plan was based. Outline designs, costings, planning approvals and licences took us to 2011 when the trust received a ‘first round pass’ and a grant from HLF to carry out further development work.”
In 2012, the HLF awarded a major grant of £244,400 which enabled the project to get started. Mr Wilson thanked sponsors and contributors including the Heritage Lottery Fund, South Downs National Park Authority, West Sussex County Council, Chichester District Council, the Leconfield Estates, Petworth Town Council, Charles Hayward Foundation, AG Manly Charitable Trust, Nick Vrijland, Chandlers Building Supplies, Covers Timber Merchants, the Petworth Society and the Sussex Industrial Archaeology Society
He said the trust was grateful to the Arun and Rother Connections for help and guidance in setting up pilot schools’ visits to Coultershaw, a key objective of the project.
Page of pictures in the Midhurst and Petworth Observer, Thursday July 24