Brouns & Co’s Linseed Paint Revives Historic Wakefield

Michiel Brouns at Westfield in Wakefield, where several buildings have been restored using Brouns & Co linseed paint

The regeneration project utilized Brouns & Co’s sustainable linseed paint, manufactured in Yorkshire using traditional methods, to restore the exterior facades of several historic buildings in Wakefield’s Upper Westgate area. The company’s CEO highlighted their pride in contributing to the revitalization effort, as their paints offer superior longevity and authenticity ideal for preserving historic properties.

Leeds-based Brouns & Co, the UK’s only manufacturer of environmentally sustainable linseed paint and one of just a handful of producers worldwide, is playing a key role in a £4m regeneration project that is breathing new life into a historic quarter of Wakefield.

The city’s Upper Westgate Heritage Action Zone has provided grants to businesses since 2020 to enable them to renovate and invest in more than 20 historically significant buildings in the Westgate area of the city, many of which were vacant and had fallen into disrepair.

The £4m, four-year partnership initiative between Historic England and Wakefield Council, which is also focused on boosting the economic, social and cultural prosperity of the city, is using Brouns & Co’s linseed paint as part of the renovation process. The firm’s sustainable paint, which is produced in a range of 40 historically accurate colours, has been used on the exterior timber frontages of several of the historic buildings.

Britt Harwood of Mirfield-based Inc. Architecture, a specialist conservation architect who works predominantly on historic buildings and was the overseeing architect on the Wakefield scheme, said: “Using linseed paint was crucial to this important regeneration project. Not only is it virtually identical to the original paint that would have been used on these buildings when they were first built, and even manufactured using the same, traditional process, it also has far superior longevity and durability to plastic-based paint.”

She added: “Brouns & Co colour-matched the historic paint shades for us and on some buildings we also used their own historic colours. The fact that they make the paint right here in Yorkshire is a bonus and has helped reduce the environmental impact of the project.”

Brouns & Co linseed paint was used to restore the exteriors of Westgate’s Nocturno, Flares and After Dark nightclubs, as well as the Elephant and Castle pub, among a number of the historic street’s other listed buildings.

Michiel Brouns, Brouns & Co CEO and an expert in the restoration of historic buildings, said: “We’re really proud that our paint was used on this important regeneration project which has had such a positive effect on this historic area of Wakefield and helped to bring these streets back to life.”

The linseed paint manufacturing process, which Brouns & Co has returned to Yorkshire for the first time since the 19th century, involves oil from flaxseed grown and pressed in Collingham, being triple-milled with ground natural pigments to create paint in a range of authentic colours.

Brouns & Co’s paint is used by many historic properties including Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, the restoration of Wentworth Woodhouse near Rotherham, and English Heritage-owned Brodsworth Hall near Doncaster, as well as by architects and developers.

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