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Project underway to restore iconic building

Pictured outside 2 – 6 High Street are, left to right: Steve Jardine (the Council’s project co-ordinator); Rex Cornock; Mike Woods; property owner Gerry Evans and Councillors Tudor and Lewis.

A building which housed one of Haverfordwest's best known businesses is being restored.

Numbers 2 - 6 High Street - once better known as Swales Music Centre - is the latest property in the town to be renovated under the Haverfordwest Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI).

The building is being brought back into productive use as three retail units with accommodation above.

The work will entail extensive work to the internal timber framing and complete rendering to the front elevation using traditional lime render

Pembrokeshire County Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economy and Communities, Keith Lewis, said: "It's wonderful to see signs of real regeneration in Haverfordwest.

"We are fortunate to have grant money available under the THI and I would encourage other property owners to take advantage of this scheme."

The local County Council Member, Thomas Tudor, emphasised the importance of investing In Haverfordwest as Pembrokeshire's county town

Mike Woods from R K Lucas and Son said his company was delighted to be appointed project managers for the renovation work.

He explained: "Swales is remembered as an iconic part of the townscape and not just by music lovers. The name itself will be recalled fondly by generations across Pembrokeshire.

"Having our own business roots dating back to the late 1700s, this was a project we were keen to be involved with.

"The Townscape Heritage Initiative has played a vital part in the viability of this project and I would like to thank the Council for their co-operation in the development of the scheme.

"With their financial assistance and our professional guidance, we look forward to the successful completion of the restoration of some wonderful buildings in our town providing much needed quality accommodation and commercial space.".

The grant funders to the scheme are Pembrokeshire County Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Cadw.

Said Councillor Lewis: "This is a last call for owners to come on board for the THI as all grant offers need to be in place by August, with work complete by March next year."

During the scheme's preliminary works, a portfolio of papers dating from the 1850s was discovered. The cache includes bills and tax returns from when the building was used as a solicitor's office, offering a tantalising glimpse into the past working life of the town

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The work is being undertaken by main contractor RDR Maintenance for whom 72-year-old Rex Cornock is applying his long-learnt joinery skills to carefully crafting and restoring the feature timberwork within the property.

Rex, who lives in Haverfordwest, learnt his timberwork skills as a wheelwright, crafting timber wheels for the early post-war farming community.

Swales family member, Pat Swales Barker, said: "I'm delighted to hear that 2, 4 & 6 High Street are on the way to a new life. My parents Joffre and Nan Swales bought number 2 in 1961 in order to open a music shop. Numbers 4 and 6 were bought from Mr Keith Pugh, barber and tobacconist in the mid-1970s and we became the largest music shop in Wales.

"Over 45 years countless numbers came to the Music Centre to buy records, music and instruments as well as for music lessons and to take music examinations. For some time in the 1960s there was a folk club in the medieval cellar which had its entrance in Dark Street.  It was also our family home as we lived ‘above the shop.

"Eventually the time came to retire and my sister Freda and I closed the shop in 2006 and sold the property soon afterwards."


Above: Pictured outside 2 - 6 High Street are, left to right: Steve Jardine (the Council's project co-ordinator); Rex Cornock; Mike Woods; property owner Gerry Evans and Councillors Tudor and Lewis

Centre: Property owner Gerry Evans with the cache of discovered documents.

Below: the former Swales Music centre before work started.

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ID: 34725 Revised: 20/3/2017