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The Restoration Man

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George Clarke helps rescue neglected architectural treasures across Britain

About the Show

George Clarke helps rescue neglected architectural treasures across Britain

Series 2 Summary

Architect George Clarke returns for a second series of Restoration Man with a whole range of new families and brand new restoration projects.

Each episode features a family taking on the emotional and financial rollercoaster of restoring an old building - many of which are literally falling down or are listed with planning restrictions.

In 2011 the 'Heritage at Risk Register' had a staggering 5,828 entries. However thanks to restoration projects this statistic is over half of what it was ten years ago. But restoring old buildings isn't for the faint hearted and throughout the filming of the series George is on hand to offer advice and support to these restoration warriors wherever he can.

Projects include the restoration of a water tower in Cheshire, a Victorian brickworks in Oxfordshire, and a Yorkshire steam train water tower. Each building has a unique story to tell, so George tries to uncover the architectural and historical significance of building.

  • Episode 1 - Reeds Windmill, Kent

    After years of living away from their families, Pete and Nikki have moved back down south to Kent with the dream of restoring a derelict windmill that's been owned by Pete's family for over 100 years.

    Locally listed, the windmill has been a roofless ruin since 1915, and its tapering structure overlooks an area of outstanding natural beauty in the heart of the county.

    The build nearly comes unstuck when Nikki, who had recovered from cancer, suddenly becomes unwell again. George is on hand to advise, and support them on their restoration journey as they battle with Nikki's illness.

  • Episode 2 - Water Tower, Congleton, Cheshire

    George meets architect Andy and his girlfriend Ana, who are trying to restore a listed water tower into an uber-modern 21st century home. But at what personal cost?

    Andy Critchlow surprised his girlfriend Ana Ferguson when he bought a stunning, cylindrical Grade II listed water tower in Congleton, Cheshire, at auction - without even seeing the inside.

    Andy dreams of converting this building into a cutting-edge 21st century home, which means selling their current property and moving in with his parents during the nine-month build. As a director of his own architectural practice, Andy tackles the build with huge drive and determination.

    Meanwhile, George goes on a historical mission and discovers how this monumental landmark sitting proudly on a Cheshire hill saved the lives of the people it overlooked.

  • Episode 3 - Church, Eden Valley

    Scientist Phil Evans and his wife Joanne have taken a huge financial gamble and bought a Grade II-listed, gothic revival parish church in the Eden Valley, aiming to turn it into a dream home.

    Disaster strikes early on in the build and the implications are huge for their tiny budget. Architect George Clarke is on hand to give them all both practical advice and a reality check when the costs spiral out of control and threaten to halt the project.

  • Episode 4 - Engine House, Oxfordshire

    George Clarke meets Tim and Emma Verdon, who want to convert an old Victorian brickworks in the heart of rural Oxfordshire into a home.

    School bursar Tim and teacher Emma have big plans for the unlisted Engine House, which currently is nothing more than four walls with no roof. They enlist George to design a sympathetic extension. Emma gives up work to project manage the build. But living off-site and mounting planning issues put immense pressure on them, and they're forced to make some radical decisions.

    Meanwhile, George uncovers some disturbing history about their brickworks.

  • Episode 5 - Towers revisit

    George revisits two stubborn romantics with their dreams of converting derelict military towers into unique homes.

    Artist Sarah McCombie has owned a Martello tower in Kent since 2004, and ex-army man Barrie Taylor became custodian of a Scottish castle tower in 2005. Previously, neither had gained planning permission, and George visits each project to see if Sarah and Barrie took on board his advice and turned their restoration dreams into a reality.

  • Episode 6 - Medieval Hall, Vale of Glamorgan revisit

    George Clarke revisits Simon Hooper and his partner Victoria in Cardiff to catch up on their dream of converting a Grade I listed medieval hall into a unique home.

    George is keen to see if the family have overcome the challenges of restoring such an ancient building.

  • Episode 7 - Water Tower, Settle

    Mark Rand and his wife Pat's dreams of converting a water tower on the Settle-Carlisle railway line faces a battle with the planners which threatens to de-rail the whole project.

    Former Bradford police officer Mark and his wife Pat are fervent enthusiasts for the Settle-Carlisle railway line. It's the couples dream to own part of the line's history, which is why they bought the Victorian Settle station water tower to convert and live in. Sitting beside the station, in what's now an industrial estate, the building hasn't been in use since the 1940s. But Mark wants to bring this Grade II listed building into the 21st century, and has plans to add a glass rooftop extension, seeking advice from architect George Clarke.

    But have these restoration warriors embarked on a project too ambitious to see through?

  • Episode 8 - Chapel, Pembrokeshire revisit

    George revisits Gareth and his family in their restored Victorian Welsh chapel. Is church living all it's cracked up to be?

    Four years ago Gareth Williams decided he didn't want to live in a bog-standard terraced house any more. So he bought a derelict church.

    To save money he decided to do all the restoration work himself and get everything he needed off eBay.

    George returns to dig deeper into the fascinating history of this ancient building.

  • Episode 9 - Bathlodge, Ormskirk revisit

    Architect George Clarke returns to Ormskirk after two years to see how builder Mark Horton and his family are doing living in their dream home: a former 18th-century folly that he restored after he found it on the Buildings at Risk Register.

    Mark was ready for the challenge, but disaster struck three months in when the bank pulled his loan. Pressures mounted with dramatic consequences for both his health and the build, but he managed to struggle on and finish the project.

    Now, long after the dust has settled, how are Mark and his family enjoying living in their extraordinary home?

  • Episode 10 - Ice House, Scotland revisit

    Architect George Clarke returns to a remote 19th-century Scottish ice house after two years to catch up with its owner, Laird Henderson.

    George previously helped to realise an ambitious glass extension, but after budget problems and a clash with building control, will Laird have moved on and built the idyllic loch-side hideaway to match, or will he still be taking in the stunning views from his caravan as he struggles to complete the restoration?

  • Episode 11 - Gothic Church, Pennines revisit

    Architect George Clarke catches up with Joanne McGirr and Phil Evans, who risked all to restore a Victorian Gothic church at the foot of the Pennines.

    Last time George saw them they were teetering on the edge of financial ruin and faced with the agonising decision of whether they should sell the project...

    Have they been able to keep hold of their dream home?

  • Episode 12 - Oast House

    George meets James and Lois Denning, who inherited an historic estate which has been in James' family for the last 234 years.

    The castle and stately home that used to belong to his family have been given to the National Trust, so they've decided to convert a stunning and only recently abandoned oast house.

    George is on hand to advise them with the epic restoration of this beautiful old agricultural building into a grand nine bedroom family home.

  • Episode 13 - Berneray Church, Outer Hebrides

    Using an inheritance from his late father, artist Keith McIntyre and his wife Sheena bought a listed, Thomas Telford-designed church in the remote island of Berneray in the Outer Hebrides.

    Keith and Sheena plan to convert the church into a holiday home and artist's studio, where they can bring their art students and musician friends to be inspired by the amazing light and rugged, desolate landscape.

    In restoring this roofless ruin, Keith and Sheena face challenges from the extreme weather and have to keep the neighbours on side while managing the build 400 miles away from their home in Newcastle.

    Meanwhile architect George Clarke uncovers the church's turbulent history.

  • Episode 14 - Longhurst Lodge, Surrey

    It was love at first sight when theatre producer Vanessa Ford Robbins and her partner Nik Huddy saw Longhurst Lodge, a Victorian gate lodge nestled on the boundaries of a country estate in Surrey.

    This unusual two up, two down has been derelict for nearly 50 years. Nik and Vanessa want to bring this fairy tale building back to life, but they desperately need more living space and face mounting planning issues over extending the Grade II listed building.

    The couple tackle the project with huge drive and determination, doing all the build work themselves, but living in a caravan on site during winter. George Clarke is on hand to help advise and support the couple. He also discovers some of the estate's bloody history.

  • Episode 15 - Thrum

    Four years ago Dave and Margaret came across a picture of a watermill in the north east. The mill had been abandoned for 50 years and they decided to bring it back to life.

    The couple put their hearts into the restoration, with experienced amateur builder Dave even designing the new mill water-wheel to generate hydro-electric power from the force of the river.

    George Clarke is on hand to help the couple as they tackle this huge project. But, with floods and Margaret's life-threatening illness to contend with, will they ever achieve their dream of calling this historic building home?

  • Episode 16 - Pig Barn

    David and Judith Ward take up the challenge of restoring a dilapidated pig barn across the road from their daughter's farmhouse in order to be nearer to their grandchildren.

    David is a charismatic preacher and has faith that even in this challenging market they will manage to sell their old home, pay back the loan and raise the funds to finish the restoration.

    George Clarke is there from the start, giving practical advice and guidance.

    But will their hopes for a happy retirement in the bosom of their family ever become reality?

The Restoration Man synopsis

George Clarke helps rescue neglected architectural treasures across Britain

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2 Series, 17 Episodes

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