ONE of Bridgwater's most iconic buildings has been restored to splendour years after having been gutted by fire.

The scaffolding is now down and for the first time in many years the elaborate concrete ornaments on the unique Grade II listed building are once again visible at Castle House in Queen Street.

Castle House was built in 1851 as a family home by John Board, a pioneer of concrete construction but had stood vacant in recent decades after its roof had been destroyed by fire, water had cascaded through the interior and the concrete ornament was crumbling.

It was taken on by SAVE Britain's Heritage, just as it was declared the most endangered historic building in the South West by Historic England.

Marcus Binney, executive president of SAVE Britain's Heritage, said:"Once again dogged persistence through adversity has paid off and thanks to heroic support from Historic England and EDF Energy this highly unusual architectural gem proclaims Bridgwater's long and enterprising history."

The house attracted interest from potential partners and works began in 1999.

The structure had to be protected against water ingress and the building disappeared under scaffolding.

Works started in 2012 with the rear range, and over the following years the house has been repaired, including the roofs, ceilings and the concrete façade.

This was only possible thanks to major grants by Historic England and EDF Energy, partners such as architect Chris Balme from Ferguson Mann Architects, and Corbel Conservation, the contractor., and the support of Sedgemoor District Council.

The SAVE Trust is now looking for a development partner to complete the interiors. Planning permission was granted in 2017 to convert the house into three flats.

Cllr Duncan McGinty, leader of Sedgemoor District Council, said: “After many years of seeing the Castle House, firstly in a dilapidated state and then nine years swathed in scaffolding, I am thrilled to see it emerge looking so spectacular.

"It is a real ugly duckling to swan situation.

"I’d like to thank everyone who has been connected with this project over the years and for staying with it."