Tag Archives: abbey restoration

Repairs to Medieval Wall

Summary = Repair to flint and stone masonry of a medieval wall at St John's Abbey Gate in Colchester

Value = Approximately £30,000

Location = Colchester, Essex

Challenge = Bakers was asked to repair a hole in the wall, but when Bakers started to remove loose masonry it became apparent that further repair work was necessary to stabilise the wall.

Solution = Investigations were carried out into the foundations, and it was found that they were suitable, so Bakers could continue with the conservation and repair works. Colchester Archaeological Trust were involved in the investigations.

Bakers carried out repairs to the collapsed section of the medieval masonry wall which formed part of the boundary to St John’s Abbey Gate in Colchester. The medieval masonry wall consists of various kent rag stone, flint, clunch and re-used masonry from the abbey with lime mortar.

All stone was salvaged, but where necessary Bakers had to source reclaimed stone to match the existing. Loose mortar was raked out, before being pointed with the new lime mortar which matched the existing. The new mortar used had been matched closely with the original mortar colour and was approved by the client.

Westminster Abbey

Summary = Roof works to the medieval South Triforium and the Great Cloister within Westminster Abbey.

Value = Approximately £1,450,000

Location = Westminster, London

Challenge = Access issues and restrictions due to the main access route into site being through the Great Cloister - a busy area of the Abbey accessible to the public from 9.30am every day.

Solution = Under the instruction from Westminster Abbeys' Surveyor of the fabric Bakers carried out roof works to the medieval South Triforium and the Great Cloister within Westminster Abbey.

70ft above the Abbey floor, the new gallery provides visitors with magnificent views down over the Abbey buildings and the Palace of Westminster. Roof works carried out by Bakers involved stripping the existing roof, recasting original lead and re-leading part of the South Triforium and part of the Main Cloister.

A full overhaul of the rainwater goods was also carried out, with a combination of new and refurbished lead downpipes, hoppers and chutes fitted. A new hopper, corbel stone and 22 metre downpipe was introduced, formed to mirror the Christopher Wren era hoppers that were already in use.

Bakers increased the gradient of the Triforium roof by increasing the fall of the lead bays (compliant with lead sheet association guidelines). Other structural repairs included reinforcing 300-year-old oak primary rafters using a flitch plate repair and other associated structural repairs to the oak roof.

Other works include the provision of a new access hatch and fall arrest system, stone repairs and indents to internal and external elevations and the careful re-homing of monuments and statues from other parts of the Abbey onto the Triforium floor.

The new freestanding external access ladder with a handrail was crafted from European Oak. It was a good project for our recently qualified joiner Jack Darvill to work on.

With the improvements to the rainwater goods, Bakers also undertook the renewal of the below ground drainage within the Great Cloister, which will also included the exciting addition of a fountain positioned in the centre of the Cloister, formed on York Stone paving with a lead cistern fountain.

Works were completed Spring 2018, in time for the opening of a new museum and gallery, located in the Abbey's medieval Triforium. After being hidden from public over 700 years, the Triforium became “The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Galleries”.

Jim Vincent, Clerk of the Works at Westminster Abbey said:

Bakers of Danbury have successfully managed access issues and restrictions whilst carrying out the works at the Abbey. The main access route into site is through the Great Cloister, which is a busy area of the Abbey accessible to the public from 9.30am every day.

We have found Bakers of Danbury to be considerate of the public and employees of the Abbey and have undertaken the works to the Abbey with the utmost care and attention at all times and look forward to continuing our working relationship with them in the future. The high standard of work is commensurate with the status of the building and is what is expected of contractors working at Westminster Abbey."