Revamped shop front for Weston's WH Smith revealed

PUBLISHED: 17:24 24 May 2019

The new WH Smith shop in High Street. Picture: Peter Barrington

The new WH Smith shop in High Street. Picture: Peter Barrington

Peter Barrington

A High Street shop has had a face lift and has been revealed after months covered up.

The WHSmith store has been undergoing renovation for well over a year, causing the bookshop chain to relocate to an empty unit in the Sovereign Shopping Centre while the works continued.

But this week saw months of hard work revealed as the large tarpaulin and scaffolding covering the building was taken down to reveal a whole new front.

A council spokesman said: "WHSmith has completed the lead work on the historic Georgian high street store in Weston.

"The popular store closed its doors last year to undertake reconstruction work and, working closely with North Somerset Council, the revamp is almost finished with the lead work restoration completed.

"The stunning lead work on the front of Weston's new WHSmith store has been painstakingly restored, highlighting the ornate work originally put in place in the early 1900s.

"In the centre of this work is a quotation from Shakespeare, saying: 'come and take a choice of all my library and so beguile thy sorrow'. The leadwork also includes Tudor hunting dogs, flourishes of vegetation, Tudor roses, a bear, dragon, cherub and even a unicorn.

"The work on the shop front sets a positive bench mark for the Heritage Action Zone Shop Front Design Guide, which will be launched later this year."

Other shops are being encouraged to follow suit, by throwing out the traditional shop branding in favour of more tasteful and traditional option to celebrate the High Street's heritage.

North Somerset Council gave the green light to set up a new conservation area across the 
town.

The new Great Weston Conservation Area extends from Birnbeck Pier to Royal Sands and across the town centre.

Historic England has grant-funded Weston £369,000 to develop the Shop Front Enhancement grant scheme which will be launched over the summer.

It will be put out for public consultation in July and will aim to ensure shops have quality fronts as an essential element in improving both the look and feel of the town and the guide will provide policy guidance for retailers.

The shop is set to open in the next few weeks.

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