A CUMBRIAN company has landed a £1.9million contract for phase one of a major revamp of an iconic building in Keswick.

Thomas Armstrong has been awarded the contract for the former Pencil Factory, which has been bought by Christian charity Keswick Ministries, which runs the annual Keswick Convention.

Work on refurbishment of the interior is due to start next month.

The work will include the installation of toilets, meeting rooms, two large multi-use spaces and a reception to the ground floor as well as installing power and heating throughout the building.

The plan is that this work will be completed in time for next year’s summer convention so that the ground floor can be used during the event.

"Despite the period of lockdown and other covid restrictions there has been some great progress on the refurbishment of the Pencil Factory already this year," said a spokesman.

"Working with local companies and other specialist contractors the building has been stripped out, new concrete floors laid, the building reroofed, the front of the building insulated and rendered, and new windows installed."

David Sawday, chief operating officer for Keswick Ministries, said: “We’re delighted with the way the project has progressed this year, which means that that work on the interior can now get under way as we work towards the full refurbishment of this iconic art deco building."

The £9.5million pound revamp project is set to be carried out in three phases and aims to be completed by 2024.

Outside the building there are new accesses, footpaths and landscaping.

Mr Sawday said: “We’re enormously grateful to local companies like Keswick Scaffolding, Mike Fell Builders, Graham Wilsons and The Environment Practice as well as Carlisle-based PMS Fabrication and The Flat Roofing Company who have made this possible.

“We look forward to working with Thomas Armstrong for this next section of transformation work.”

Keswick Convention began in 1875 on the lawn at St John's Church vicarage.

The annual three-week event now attracts an estimated 12,000 people.

This year, as a result of covid, the Virtual Keswick Convention was filmed from the Pencil Factory.

Thousands of people tuned in over five days to enjoy everything that was on offer.