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Steptoe's Yard Celebrates Jak Hall's Gold Roof Championship Win

Jak Hall

Making great use of an old building

childrens play centreAs demolition experts it is often hard for us to want to see buildings restored, after all it is our business to pull them down, the stone is more often than not recycled and usually becomes much more useful than it is while sat decaying and creating a blot on the scenery.

Although over the years I have become quite fond of old mills and factories, I often like to think of what it would have been like the day it opened for business, nowadays they are often black with smog that has built up over the years so while recently surveying a potential demolition project I saw a very old building that had been put to a fantastic use. The building in question had probably seen numerous businesses and industries come and go and was quite a large building, three floors and a massive slated roof but the present occupiers had seen potential in this old building and transformed it into children’s soft play and party centre.

The roof had obviously been thoroughly repaired but repaired using original items, possibly from a reclamation centre or possibly new items made to resemble the original items but they really did make a difference, now I’m pretty sure the building wasn’t listed which means the occupiers didn’t have to go to those lengths and restore any of it to its original look but they had done.

One of the most impressive restorations to the mill was the car park and driveway, a massive cobbled area fully restored and cleaned looking like brand new, again not something that needed to be done but as with cobbles as opposed to tarmac or concrete this will hold the building in good stead over the years, if the car park is going to see lots of traffic and according to the day I was there this will be so, cobbles will last and look a great deal longer.

The business was also obviously thriving as the queues were out of the door and along the front of the mill. This place has also gone a long way to bringing the local community together. As I was leaving the business owner was in the car park and I managed to strike up a conversation with her and the business idea was born due to the fact of her not being able to occupy her own children very well on wet and cold days, she managed to put a great business plan together and was helped with a few government schemes, the centre has a laser quest on one of the floors and the bottom floor is a massive soft play centre with high climbing frames and slides, the noise coming from inside told me that there was lots of fun being had.

From a personal point of view it was great to see a building that has probably been battered for over 100 years with the British weather, possibly been through 2 world wars, more than likely helped employ thousands upon thousands of workers throughout its time and maybe stood empty for a long period of time facing certain demolition but out of know where an innovative idea transforms it into a modern and hip, vibrant place that has possibly ensured it will stand for another length of time.


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