Tag Archives: church repairs

Church Masonry Repairs

Summary = Emergency masonry repairs to church bell tower ruins

Value = Approximately £30,000

Location = East Bergholt, Suffolk

Challenge = The construction of the bell tower began in 1525, but the construction stopped in 1530, due to Cardinal Wolsey's fall from grace and the Reformation. Bakers carried out the necessary emergency repair works in 2017 as the bell tower masonry, which is exposed to the weather, had suffered damage.

Solution = Bakers carried out consolidation to the masonry walls which consist mainly of flint. Repairs were carried out to the cracks and sections of the mortar capping on top of the walls. Bakers surveyed the walls for loose stones, and re-bed any loose stones identified. Loose mortar was removed, and repointing was carried out to make the masonry walls safe and weatherproof.

Bakers also carried out brick repairs to the tower door and laid reclaimed pamnent tiles to the floor which leads to the exposed staircase within the tower walls.

Union Chapel, London

Summary = Conservation works to the east window of the Union Chapel in London.

Value = Approximately £40,000

Location = London

Challenge = Secondary glazing has caused damage to the stained glass window.

Solution = Bakers of Danbury Ltd recently carried out conservation works to the east window of the Union Chapel in London. The beautiful stained glass window had opaque secondary glazing on the outside of the window, which not only prevented the sun shining through the window to show its decorative image, but had also caused damage to the stained glass.

Bakers removed the secondary glazing together with the debris which had gathered at the base of the window. The glass was cleaned and damaged stone was replaced with new indented carved sections of bath stone to match the existing stone.

By removing the secondary glazing and cleaning the glass, the beautiful, bright window has once again become a focal point for the Chapel.

Watch the video at the top of this page to hear about conservation works carried out to the east window of the Union Chapel.

Union Chapel remains on the Historic England At Risk Register, so if you would like to make a donation visit www.unionchapel.org.uk

Wall Repair and Strengthening

Summary = Wall repair and strengthening carried out at Holy Trinity Church in Halstead

Location = Halstead, Essex

Challenge = The challenge was digging the pockets in between the trees as the trees prevented the digger from being able to get to where it needed to excavate.

Solution = Bakers of Danbury carried out hand digging where the trees prevented access for the digger. Bakers also adjusted some of the placements to achieve equally spaced ties.

To repair and strengthen the wall Bakers of Danbury dug ten 1.2m3 pockets along the length, to the back of the 36m churchyard boundary wall. The pockets were poured with concrete which was cast around 1.6m long stainless steel rods. The rods had been inserted through the wall. On the wall face they were tied and bolted to steel pattress plates.

To provide additional reinforcement, two lengths of Helifix reinforcing ties, set in resin were inserted along the face of the wall, extending the whole 36m length.

Cllr Mick Radley, Mayor and Chairman of Halstead Town Council said;

“I’m really pleased that the council has taken action to conduct major repair work to the Holy Trinity Church boundary wall and to recognise the excellent work that has been done. The wall has been leaning for a number of years and the recent repair work has now strengthened the wall along its length to hold it in place.

This work was conducted as part of the Town Council’s obligations to maintain closed churchyards and was funded from financial reserves specifically allocated to the work. Design work was commissioned to The Morton Partnership and the repair work to Bakers of Danbury Heritage Ltd. I would like to thank all of those involved with the repair for the excellent work they have done and with minimum disruption to the community.”

To keep up to date on similar conservation projects carried out by Bakers of Danbury visit our Latest News page or the Bakers of Danbury Facebook page.

St Nicholas Church, Harwich

Summary = Restoration to St Nicholas Church in Harwich, Essex included repair to water damaged walls, brick and stone repair and replacement, re-pointing and window surround replacement.

Value = £60,000

Location = Harwich, Essex

Solution = Completed in December 2020, Bakers managed a four month project carrying out restoration to St Nicholas Church in Harwich, Essex. The existing cement render to the parapet walls was cracking and blown in places, and the damaged render was trapping moisture behind it, which was in turn decaying the walls. After the render was removed, deep re-pointing was carried out to the brickwork joints. The fractured and defective yellow stock bricks were replaced with reclaimed yellow stocks. A breathable three coat lime render was applied over the top of the brickwork down to stainless steel bell drips.

Bakers repaired the brick parapet walls and octagonal chimneys. Bakers' sister company Collins and Curtis supplied window surrounds to two cast iron tracery windows in Stoke Ground stone. The cast iron windows were redecorated and re-pointing was carried out to that section of the South Aisle.

Internally, Bakers stripped areas of water damaged plastered walls, caused by defective lead downpipes. Three coat lime lime plaster was applied and the walls were redecorated to match the existing decoration. Those defective downpipes were replaced.

The timber access door to the spire parapet was replaced with a new oak door manufactured by Bakers' in-house joinery workshop. Minor electrical works were also carried out.

Past Restoration Projects at St Nicholas Church

In 2010 Bakers carried out a full redecoration of the whole church and installed three stone windows to the east end. Earlier in 2003 Bakers carried out substantial stone replacement to the tower and spire.

All Saints Church, Terling

Summary = Conservation and restoration work to All Saints Church in Terling included replacing the oak shingling to the church spire, associated roof timber repairs and masonry repairs to tower. Restoration and re-gilding of clock face and re-gilding to the weathervane.

Value = approximately £105,000

Location = Terling, Essex

Challenge = Temporary guttering had to be installed to the base of the spire for a year, to let rainwater wash the tannin out of the new oak shakes without discolouring the church tower.

Solution = To erect the scaffolding pockets were created to take the Haki-beams and corresponding loads upon them. Creating pockets helped to avoid destroying the vestry below to transfer the scaffold load to the ground.

Temporary guttering was installed to the base of the spire and remained in place for a year to catch the brown water that runs off the roof initially. This is caused by the oak ‘tannin’ that comes of the oak shakes and will decrease over time once washed out by the rain. Rodells Steeplejacks later removed guttering and downpipe.

Conservation and Restoration Work to the Spire

Conservation and restoration work to the spire at All Saints Church involved stripping the cedar shingles for the full height of the spire and carrying out timber roof repairs. A handful of re-connections of timber joints were installed, where structural heave had caused an oak dowel to fail in the joint, resulting in partial separation of the timbers. These were tied back together with a piece of stainless-steel strapping. All battens were placed with treated softwood and new oak shakes were installed.

The new shakes installed were split, not sawn. Shingles are sawn, whereas shakes can be split, split and sawn or simply sawn, depending on the type of grade required.

Stone Repairs and Replacement

Stone repairs were carried out, and the eroded existing stone quoins were cut out and replaced with new Hartham-Park stone quoins. Open joints in the brickwork were repointed. Tom Poysner who was at the time taking part in block release training at Stratford Crafts college to become a Banker Mason, predominantly fitted the replacement stone quoins along with another experienced Mason. A Banker Mason carries out the final preparation work on stone-masonry blocks by hand.

Conservation and Restoration Work to the Weathervane, Clock Face and Sundial.

The weathervane was removed, repaired, decorated and re-gilded. The existing lightning conductor tape was replaced with new.

A Specialist gilder/decorator bought the stone clock and sundial back to life by restoring and re-gilding them. The name “Rocky the Rocket” was given to the weathervane due to his strange appearance, as he looks like he has rockets strapped to his sides!

Student Site Visit

On 25th July a small group of 16-19 year olds who were studying a City & Guilds course with Essex Youth Build visited site at All Saints Church for a site tour and Q&A, whilst Bakers of Danbury Ltd were carrying out conservation and restoration works to the church.

Newington Green Meeting House

Summary = Restoration, refurbishment and a new build basement level extension

Value = Approximately £1,100,000

Location = Stoke Newington

Challenge = Limited access and limited space for storing materials

Solution =The £1.1 million project which started in February 2019 involved a twelve month programme to restore, refurbish and build a new build basement level extension to Newington Green Meeting House in north London.

Built in 1708 the Grade II listed Newington Green Unitarian Church is one of England's oldest Unitarian churches. It has had strong ties to political radicalism for over 300 years and is known as the “Birthplace of Feminism” due to its connections to activist and writer Mary Wollstonecraft. The Dissenters, a group that campaigned for religious freedom, social reform and the abolition of slavery, also used the Meeting House. A grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund gave the Meeting House the opportunity to future-proof and preserve its iconic heritage legacy. The purpose of the project was to provide a new visitor centre to enable local schoolchildren, researchers and community groups to make the most of the building's rich heritage.

While works took place the entrance into church was temporarily through the back of the building and the front of the church was restricted to site access only by using ply hoarding and pedestrian barriers. Internally the work areas were sheeted up and alternative routes made to channel visitors and staff to the site office and segregate works from other areas. There was a separate compound for storing materials and a site office was located within the limited space available.

Bakers restored the Schoolroom and constructed a basement to accommodate facilities including a meeting room, three w/c, a plant room and lift shaft going from basement level to the first floor. To construct the basement, Bakers excavated 4m deep, formed a new steel reinforced slab and carried out underpinning and structural steel works to support the ground floor walls. An underground drainage and tanking system were installed to the basement level as well as a ducting and airflow system.

The restoration works involved localised brick repair, cleaning, replacement and repointing to the external walls. The bricks consisted of glazed bricks, London reds and yellow stocks. To the front of the meeting house all render was removed and a breathable three coat render was applied once repairs had been carried out. To the majority of the sides and the rear of the building the masonry remains exposed.

A complete overhaul and repair of all wooden sash windows included the pullies and weights being adjusted and services, some were re-glazed and new ironmongery was installed to all. Some stone window sills were replaced by Baker’s sister company Collins and Curtis. Stone monument repairs were also carried out and a ramp and stone clad stairs were installed in Scoutmoor Stone. A two coat lime render was applied throughout the meeting house.

Roof repairs took place and a new roof light installed within the apse roof (a semi-circular recess at the end of the chapel). A new raised entrance ramp and reception area into the chapel was formed. Repairs were carried out to the wooden skirting, doors and dado rails, together with the existing profile skirting and ornate fibrous plaster coving. All electrics and plumbing were removed before the new M&E package was installed. The £208,000 M&E package included a new heating system with a BMS (building management system), lighting, data, an access control system, CCTV, intruder alarm, fire alarm, small power and ventilation. The extensive £40,000 AV package enables live streaming of services and a speaker system and projection system designed for events and concerts.

Refurbishment of Spains Hall

  • Summary: Refurbishment of Spains Hall, a Grade I Listed Country home in Finchinfield, Essex including some alterations to the Great Hall to accommodate weddings and functions
  • Value: Approximately £1,500,000
  • Location: Finchingfield, Essex
  • Challenge: The house was in need of substantial restoration and repair, as very little work had been carried out on the house for decades.
  • Solution: Spains Hall is a beautiful Grade I Listed country house circa 1570, incorporating a timber framed medieval house C1400-50.
  • The sympathetic restoration, repair and alterations began in August 2008, during which many hidden original features were enhanced and brought back to their former glory. These features include the jib door, the Tudor well in the floor and the restored flamboyant Victorian wallpapers.

    The house was altered to add new facilities allowing the house to open to the public for the first time for business and hospitality use, including weddings and functions. The rooms which were altered for business and hospitality use included:

    • The porch
    • The Great Hall
    • The large drawing room
    • The dining room
    • The vestibule
    • The south staircase lobby
    • The tapestry bedroom and en-suite
    • A new w/c for disabled and elderly people inc. baby-changing facilities
    • New separate w/c facilities

    The refurbishment of Spains Hall included major restoration works in the Great Hall and remaining rooms. Within the Great Hall repairs were made to the primary beams and the supporting brick walls were strengthened. Where possible, carvings were cut from the decayed beam and fitted onto the new sections.

    Where carvings could not be salvaged, Bakers' in-house joinery workshop hand carved replica carvings. New oak floor joists were introduced, plank flooring installed and substantial wall panel repairs were made within the Great Hall, the large drawing room and the vestibule.

    A new kitchen was installed with large French doors and a fanlight. New bathrooms and en-suites were also installed.

    New mechanical systems, heating, plumbing, electrical power and lighting were sensitively installed as well as Audio Visual systems with speakers hidden within the wall panelling.

    The tapestry bedroom and en-suite were fully restored, to be used by the Bride and Groom for wedding functions.

    A large roof light was installed within the roof of the entrance hall to gain additional light. The small staircase was replaced with a large Georgian style sweeping timber staircase, to create a dramatic and welcoming entrance hall.

    The rear entrance was also remodelled to include a new large panelled entrance door and long side sash windows to let more natural light in.

    The external walls were re-pointed where the pointing had failed. Windows were restored which included stained glass repairs. Roof tile repairs and lead repairs were also carried out. The garden walls were also repaired, and a new opening formed with an arch leading into the formal gardens.

    The refurbishment of Spains Hall was awarded the RICS 2012 National Grand Finalist Award for Building Conservation

    £1 million refurbishment

    Bakers of Danbury recently completed a £1 million refurbishment project to improve and extend nine alms houses, some of which date back to the 18th century.

    The 18 month project saw nine properties within the Old Square, Colchester, Essex undergo the following improvement works:

    • Demolition of 3 single storey extensions
    • Construction of 3 two storey extensions
    • Reconstruction of 2 existing flat roofs with external patio/balcony
    • Complete new kitchen installation
    • Complete new wet room installation
    • Landscaping to enhance the area - communal gardens and planting areas
    • Substantial internal alterations to improve circulation and space
    • Demolition of old sheds and garden walls
    • Removal of raised walkway and stairs
    • New energy efficiency measures installed
    • Soundproofing
    • efficient and controllable heating
    • enhanced fire precautions
    • Scooter charging facilities

    Former Colchester Mayor, Alderman and farmer, Arthur Winsley, who died in 1726, left much of his property to a new charity to house 12 men who had: “lived well and fallen into decay”. The 81 Winsley’s Alms houses are now home to more than 100 people.

    In line with the Founder’s wishes expressed in his will, every year the Trustees hold a service in Winsley’s chapel and have their annual meeting and dinner on the same day. Acting Trustee Irene Kettle said:

    Our Founder’s legacy is important to us and we are very proud of the history of Winsley’s, but it is essential to remember this is a thriving, friendly community and a place which must grow and improve. In this way, we can ensure the legacy of Arthur Winsley and Others, lives on.

    At a ceremony held in January 2019 at Winsley’s Square, off Old Heath Road the renovated properties were blessed by the Rt Rev Roger Morris, Bishop of Colchester and officially opened by The Mayor & mayoress of Colchester. Residents were invited to take a look around.

    The architect on this project was Nicholas Jacob Architects, and Trustee Andrew Waters led the project.

    The King of Prussia Gold Medal

    Bakers of Danbury are delighted to announce that The King of Prussia Gold Medal was recently awarded for the structural and restoration works carried out to St Peter and St Paul's Church. The Church Architecture Awards 2018 are run by the National Churches Trust and the Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association (EASA).

    Works carried out to the 12th century Grade I Listed church included a 20m long foundation piling, roof repairs and masonry repairs throughout the church.

    Structural movement to the south aisle of the 12th century, Grade I Listed church had caused substantial damage to walls and roof finishes. As a result, a major restoration of the aisle was necessary, with associated masonry works to the tower and re-roofing of the nave and chancel.

    Bakers of Danbury carried out underpinning of the South Aisle to St Peter and St Paul's Church, during which 20m long foundation piles were carefully positioned, so not to disturb any archaeology below ground.

    A new tiled roof was installed to the aisle following timber repairs, along with structural repairs carried out to the south aisle. The nave, chancel and aisle roofs were retiled with a specially selected blend of new handmade tiles to replace the old.

    Bakers also carried out consolidation and pointing of the tower, and fitted new Kent rag stone (supplied by Baker’s sister company Collins and Curtis Masonry Ltd) which replaced damaged stone on the windows, parapet and turret. We also removed a damaging cement covering to the parapet top, and reinstated the original and unique brick copings.

    St Peter & St Paul’s, Stoke

    Summary = Structural and restoration works carried out to St Peter and St Paul's Church, a 12th century Grade I Listed church including 20m long foundation piling, roof and masonry repairs.

    Value = approximately £450,000

    Location = St Peter and St Paul's Church, Upper Stoke, Kent

    Challenge = Structural movement to the south aisle of the 12th century, Grade I Listed church had caused substantial damage to walls and roof finishes. As a result, a major restoration of the aisle was necessary, with associated masonry works to the tower and re-roofing of the nave and chancel.

    Solution = Bakers of Danbury carried out underpinning of the South Aisle to St Peter and St Paul's Church, during which 20m long foundation piles were carefully positioned, so not to disturb any archaeology below ground.

    A new tiled roof was installed to the aisle following timber repairs, along with structural repairs carried out to the south aisle. The nave, chancel and aisle roofs were retiled with a specially selected blend of new handmade tiles to replace the old.

    Masonry repairs were carried out throughout St Peter and St Paul's Church.

    To the historically important tower, we carried out consolidation and pointing of the masonry and fitted new Kent rag stone (supplied by Baker’s sister company Collins and Curtis Masonry Ltd) which replaced damaged stone on the windows, parapet and turret. We also removed a damaging cement covering to the parapet top, and reinstated the original and unique brick copings.

    A new gleaming weather vane was added to celebrate the reversing of many years of decline and decay.

    Structural and repair works to St Peter and St Paul's Church were awarded The King of Prussia Gold Medal (Highly Commended) in the Church Architecture Awards 2018 (run by the National Churches Trust and the Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association (EASA).