AN ambitious plan to restore the former NatWest Bank building, in Settle, to create a gallery, museum shop and upper floor flats has been launched.

The Grade II listed  building in the market place, which has connections to Sir Edward Elgar, was bought in August by the North Craven Building Preservation Trust -  a volunteer-led registered charity dedicated to preserving the historical, agricultural and architectural heritage of the district and sharing information via its museum service. It also owns the The Folly.

A fundraising campaign has been launched to fund the restoration of the near-derelict property, now known as Dr Buck’s House. The property was built around 1787 by John Constantine, a butcher.  By the 1871 census the house was the home and business premises of Dr James Hartley and from around 1878 until 1916 it belonged to Dr Charles Buck (1851-1932), general practitioner and a lifelong friend of one of Britain’s greatest composers, Sir Edward Elgar (1857-1934).

Buck was introduced to Elgar at a meeting of the British Medical Association at Worcester in 1882.  He struck up an immediate friendship with the young conductor, Edward Elgar, six years his junior. Buck’s invitation to Elgar to visit him in Settle was taken up within a very few weeks. One of his most famous pieces, ‘Salut d’Amour’ was written at Dr Buck’s home in Settle.

In 1937, the building became the District Bank, later becoming the NatWest Bank until it closed in 2017. It was bought by a property developer and then later purchased by NCBPT. 

Andrew J Penny, conductor emeritus of the Hull Philharmonic Orchestra, said: “The acquisition and restoration of this historic property, with its association with Edward Elgar, is important to all those with an interest in Elgar’s music.”

Chair of the Trust, Heather Lane, said, “There is a huge amount of renovation to be done, as the building is in a very poor state. We believe it is vital to preserve this important Settle landmark for community benefit and will be using the project as a case study for low and zero carbon technologies in the conversion of listed buildings. We intend to heat the house using renewable energy and will use traditional methods to repair the interior plasterwork."

An online campaign to raise £350,000 has been launched via CAF Donate ( or via the link on the Dr Buck’s House project page on the Trust’s website: