George Clarke returns for a brand new series of Restoration Man. This series takes us up and down the country to new locations, new restorations and amazing stories of people who have gone to extraordinary lengths to build their dreams homes, by restoring and rejuvenating some of Britain’s most cherished but forgotten buildings.
Episode 1 – Pumping Station
Alison and Matthew Grey are 2 designers from London with young children who are looking for a new place to live within commuting distance of London. They love industrial buildings and have purchased a glorious and majestic Pumping Station. They’re perfectionists who are intent on turning this Victorian Utilitarian building into a design haven, but with costs mounting as they continue to delay decision making they’re in danger of having to refinance in order to finish the build. George helps with the design and decision making whilst delving into the Pumping Stations celebrated past.
Episode 2 – Flint Mill
Alan Appleby and his wife Dora are restoration experts, but they’ve never taken on a project as ambitious as this. They’ve saved a Flint Mill which was about to fall down, and since Alan’s a building surveyor he shouldn’t have a problem fixing the massive structural damage. But his passion for old buildings soon takes over and they end up ploughing everything they have into this build. George Clarke helps them every step of the way and uncovers its unique history and the link between this building and the world renowned pottery and ceramics of Josiah Wedgwood .
Episode 3 – Fisherman’s Church
Having never lived together before, architect Neil Worrell and his partner Jackie Robinson decided to cement their relationship by purchasing a forgotten Church in the picture perfect fishing town of Brixham in Devon. What began as a project that would bring them closer together becomes the ultimate test as the restoration pushes them to their limits. George Clarke brings his own design expertise to the project to help them realise their dream and at the same time discovers the rich history that links this church directly to Brixham’s celebrated fishing community.
Episode 4 – Welsh School
Recession hit builders, Ian and Jayne Hall Edwards, have brought 5502.64 sq ft derelict Victorian School in the Welsh hills of Pencader with the aim to turn it into an eco- building training business and their family home. Having failed to win a grant to finance the build they are left with no money and living in a caravan on site. Battling through harsh winters and with George Clarke on hand to offer valuable advice this project and their family business hangs in the balance. Until they rediscover their passion with the help of a school reunion organised by George to show how important this school was to the local community.
Episode 5 – Cow Barn
Marco and Kath Walker with their 2 young children in tow have bought a pair of grade II listed 17th and 18th century tumbling down barns from their local farmer. They’ve never done anything like this before and are complete restoration novices. The project is beset with problems from the start and there is a risk that severe delays could put their family dream financially out of reach. George offers much needed advice throughout the build and discovers how these buildings and the surrounding farm helped to revolutionise cattle farming in the UK.
Episode 6 – Raf Bunker
Jamie Brown has big ideas about turning a15,000 sq ft historic WW2 RAF bunker into his new home. However with the bunker totally encased in earth, with no natural light, and the back section submerged in water his wife who is about to have their first baby isn’t so sure. With its fascinating history and draw dropping engineering, George helps Jamie tackle this huge bunker and discovers the important role it played in the Coventry Blitz.
Episode 7 – Telford Church Revisit
George Clarke revisits Keith and Sheena McIntyre who struggled through terrible weather conditions, and a challenge to integrate with the local community, in order to restore a stunning but isolated Telford Church.
Using inheritance from his late father, artist Keith McIntyre and his wife Sheena bought this Grade B listed, Thomas Telford designed church in the remote island of Berneray in the Outer Hebrides. Keith and Sheena dream of converting 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. They face extreme weather conditions and keeping the neighbors onside, whilst trying to manage the build from 400 miles way.
A year later George Clarke returns to find out if they’ve managed to transform the Church into a working artist’s studio, what life is like in the new community, and to see if they’ve been successful in winning a prestigious Royal Institute of Architects award.
Episode 8 – Thrum Mill Revisit
George Clarke returns to Thrum Mill to meet Dave and Margaret Heldey, who have battled through flooding and serious illness to restore one of Northumberland’s most stunning but abandoned water mills. Dave, an experienced amateur builder has poured his heart and soul into every aspect of the restoration, and has had to deal with no less than 18 planning restrictions. But have they fulfilled their dream of completing this hugely challenging restoration and bringing back to life the 300 year old water wheel that will eventually power their new home?
Episode 9 – Settle Revisit Billing
This time, architect George Clarke goes to North Yorkshire to meet a retired policeman and his wife, train enthusiasts who took on the challenging restoration of a railway water tower at Settle station. Two years after the restoration started, George is going to see how they’ve transformed the water tower into a home to live in. He also meets train enthusiast Michael Portillo who, while transport minister, was instrumental in saving the Settle to Carlisle line.
Episode 10 – Foxholes Farm
Russell Edwards and Nadia Smith put everything they have into turning a derelict farmhouse in the Shropshire countryside into their family home. Although they have no previous restoration experience, they are determined that this 18th century building will be restored to its former glory. But their high standards soon start to cost them dear, and they’re forced to work ever harder to keep money coming in to finish the project. After two winters in a caravan, illness and exhaustion threaten to overwhelm this young family. George helps with the design and hard graft wherever he can, and investigates the history behind this mysterious half timber-framed building
Episode 11– Braxted School
Jim and Bee Goody see a derelict village school in Essex as their golden ticket to escaping the suburbs and creating their dream home in the country. But unable to sell their own house, they take a heart-stopping gamble in buying the Victorian school on a bridging loan – with weekly interest payments of £400! The only way they can complete the project is for Jim to quit his building job and work alone on the school to make it mortgageable. At first, Jim and Bee regard some of the listed features of the school as an obstacle to creating the home they want, but as they coax the Tudor Revival building back into life, they fall in love with its unique history.
Episode 12 – HMS Owl
London couple Justin Hooper and Charlotte Seddon have a dramatic vision for a derelict World War II airfield control tower in the Scottish Highlands. Their romantic dream of a complete lifestyle change soon wakes up to reality, however, as simply restoring the 700 window panes to their original modernist look swallows 40% of their budget. The difficulties of project managing the build from 600 miles away make it increasingly hard for the family to make the final leap from London. George helps them realise their vision for this 4000 square feet of military space, and meets the people who were willing to sacrifice everything as the tower played its crucial role during the Second World War.
Episode 13 – Pannal Water Tower
After living in a bungalow for 25 years, Yorkshire couple Carol and Majid Nadry embark on an ambitious mid-life adventure: buying an empty brick water tower to turn into a five-story family home. As they fight to make the huge rusting water tank on top of the building into part of their home, they hit devastating legal problems which are a sobering lesson to anyone developing a property. Unexpected costs deliver crippling blows to their budget, but the couple refuse to give up on turning a faceless brick monolith into a one-off design. George encourages and advises Carol and Majid to see their daunting challenge through, and follows the seismic changes in architectural history that this building’s humble appearance belies.
Episode 14 – Longhurst Lodge Revisit
When Nik Huddy and Vanessa Ford Robbins stumbled upon this overgrown 19th century gatehouse, they saw an opportunity to express their love of arts and crafts in restoring this tiny cottage to its former glory. They both throw themselves into learning the traditional techniques deserving of this gatehouse’s fascinating history. But their can-do attitude is severely tested as they live on-site in a caravan through two freezing winters. Even when they move in, this charming gingerbread house is still too small to install a proper bathroom. A year on George catches up with them now that they have added a sympathetic extension to the house, which brings life-changing modern comforts to their home without once compromising on the heritage of this unique building.
Episode 15 – Welsh School Revisit
Ian and Jayne Hall Edwards bought a large derelict Victorian school in the valleys of West Wales with the hope of combining a family home and a new eco-building training business under one roof. Already badly hit by the recession, the finance they had counted on falls through and they are forced to battle through harsh winters in a caravan, struggling to get the school – and their family business – back on its feet, earning as they go. George now returns one year on to see how they have not only virtually rebuilt the Victorian school from scratch, but have transformed it into a modern family home with energy efficiency to beat even the latest new-builds. Their eco training centre is also fitted out for their new business venture launch – ready to be a source of inspiration to eco friendly builders for years to come.