Summary = Conservation and structural reinforcement work to protect one of the finest Victorian buildings in London

Location = London

Challenge = The central chimney of the Lowther Lodge had been supported by scaffolding for over two decades. It was important that Bakers carried out urgent structural repairs without compromising the appearance of the Grade II Listed building and its central chimney which boasts a beautiful dragon motif incorporated within the English rubbed red brick.

Solution = The Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) is a charity, learned society and professional body. The Society’s headquarters, located next to the Royal Albert Hall, is an iconic building in a prestige location that houses extensive historical Collections of over two million maps, artefacts and other items, as well as providing academic and conferencing facilities

Founded in 1830 the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) has resided at its Kensington Gore address since 1913. Lowther Lodge is the oldest section of the Society’s headquarters, dating back to 1872 and is one of the finest Victorian buildings in London. The building was designed by the architect Norman Shaw who is said to have led a revolution in English domestic architecture in the late 19th century. Now Grade II* Listed, the last significant refurbishment works were carried out back in 2010/12 transformed the former Library into a new Members’ Room.

The Society recently instructed Bakers of Danbury Ltd to undertake external repair and conservation works to the Lowther Lodge element of their headquarters. Bakers of Danbury is a conservation company, established over 140 years ago and has a long history of providing high quality craftsmanship for some of the UK’s finest historic and listed buildings, including St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, London

Lowther Lodge boasts elaborate brickwork and is said to be one of the most important examples of Victorian brick façade in England. Its monumental central chimney is no exception; with a beautiful dragon motif incorporated within the English rubbed red brick construction. Amongst other works, Bakers of Danbury are carrying out important structural repairs and reinforcement including brick repairs to the beautiful central chimney, which had been supported by scaffolding for over two decades.

To ensure the safety and future of the ornate central chimney, Bakers has structurally reinforced the chimney by using Cintec anchors which were installed internally to structurally support the chimney at the first and second floor levels. Structural reinforcement to the top section of the chimney has involved slightly more substantial steelwork. Upright rolled steel joists (RSJs) which each measure five meters, form part of the supporting framework which has been fixed to a lift shaft running through the centre of the building. Straps fixed to those RSJs will wrap around the chimney. The chimney bricks have been cleaned and repaired and where they were found to be beyond repair, replaced with Bulmer handmade bricks to match the existing. Similar structural reinforcement works will also be carried out to the western chimney. The wrap around straps around both chimneys will be the only part of the structural reinforcement visible from ground level.

Bakers are also carrying out onsite repairs and refurbishment to several timber windows and external doors, together with replacing timber balustrade and lead roof coverings to three balconies. Refurbishment works are also being carried out to three metal casement windows as a sample for future refurbishment to other metal casement windows.

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