Tag Archives: conservation

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.

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.

Church Fire Damage Repair

Summary = St John the Baptist Church in Royston was devastated by a fire. Bakers of Danbury have carried out phase one of works which included securing the structure and stripping the fire damaged materials which were beyond repair. Bakers are currently working on the second phase.

Location = Royston, Hertfordshire

Challenge = National lock down due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Solution = Bakers of Danbury were initially tasked with phase one of works which began May 2019 and involved six weeks stripping all fire damaged material and making the structure safe after it had suffered a devastating fire in the early hours of the 9th December 2018.

The fire which started in the tower devastated the tower and bell ringing chamber and caused significant damage to the medieval nave roof, in particular the west end of the roof. The church also suffered from subsequent water damage as a result of extinguishing the fire, which cause the floor to collapse.

After completing phase one of works, Bakers were awarded phase two of works which began at the fire damaged church in February 2020. Later the following month, due to the nature of the works and the confined working space, the project had to be put on hold during the national lock down due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In May the works resumed with the introduction of social distancing measures, sensible planning and safe working procedures which were implemented by Bakers' SHEQ Manager, Contract Manager and Site Manager for the project.

During phase two, a new tower roof with steel supporting girders was installed and covered in lead. New window reveals (in Clunch) were installed within the tower and repairs were made to the tower internal walls, particularly at the belfry level where it had been seriously damaged by the instense heat. Within the tower a quatrefoil window was replaced with one handcrafted by Bakers' sister company Collins and Curtis Masonry.

Lower down the tower, Bakers repaired the walls by stitching them with large pieces of Clunch. Re-pointing the stonework further restored and strengthened the tower. New copings in Barnack stone were installed to the tower parapet and new ashlar indents were also incorporated.

To the naive roof, which suffered significant damage, Bakers repaired the original inner wall plate and introduced a new outer wall plate to support the rafters. New rafters were installed where the fired had damaged the original ones beyond repair. Those original principal rafters which were salvaged have been repaired and supported by installing large stainless steel brackets (individual brackets weigh 175 kg each).

All timbers have been ice blasted to remove fire and smoke damage, taking particular attention to preserve historical graffiti which although had been damaged by the fire, was still legible. A new lead roof (code 7) will be installed and all rainwater goods will be replaced with cast aluminum.

Ice blast cleaning has been carried out in isolated areas of the church which suffered fire and smoke damage, for example around the windows and doors. Various cleaning trials have been carried out throughout the interior and exterior of the church. Phase 2 of works will be completed to deadline, January 2021. Bakers are working in close collaboration with the Project Quantity Surveyor to monitor overall contract values, variation costs and the final contract sum.

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.

Restoration of Oldest Church Remains

Summary = Restoration of apsidal remains, said to be the oldest church in Britain.

Location = Colchester, Essex

Challenge = The weather was causing erosion to the original core structure of the walls.

Solution = Restoration works have recently been carried out by Bakers of Danbury Ltd, to the remaining stonework belonging to what is said to be the oldest Christian Church in England.

The remains of the Church next to Colchester Police Station in Essex, are believed to date back to 320 A.D, toward the end of the Roman occupation in Britain. Originally excavated more than 40 years ago, the apsidal remains consist of septarian stone together with reclaimed roman tiles and pamments.

Commissioned by Colchester Borough Council and supported by Colchester Archaeological Trust, Bakers of Danbury’s stonemasons repointed the stone wall foundations with Lime Mortar and restored all visible stonework, using traditional methods which have been handed down generations of the 140-year-old company. Despite the starkness of the pointing against the older, dirtier masonry, Bakers' stonemasons matched the original core mortar as closely as possible.

The recent restoration works will protect the remains for many years to come, by preventing further erosion which can occur when the weather gets into the original core structure of the walls. All oak marker posts which mark the positions of the aisles and partition have been replaced with new.

Philip Wise, Colchester & Ipswich Museums said;

“These works will help to safeguard the future of these important Roman remains for the people of Colchester.”

Although Colchester Archaeological Trust agree the ruins are a “probable Romano-British Church”, the building was associated with two cemeteries one pagan and one Christian, which help support alternative theories around the buildings original use - perhaps later being converted to a Romano-British Church. These theories suggest it may have been originally been a pagan temple, a Roman mithraeum (Roman temple) or a hall for funerary feasts predating AD.320. The remains were awarded Scheduled Monument status by Historic England on 07 October 2020, ref 1470104. For more information visit historicengland.co.uk

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.

Westminster Deanery

Summary = A refurbishment and roofing project at Westminster Deanery, which sits within the grounds of Westminster Abbey.

Location = Westminster, London

Challenge = Nationwide Lock down due to the Covid-19 pandemic

Solution = Works continued safely on site during the Covid-19 lockdown, due to sensible planning and safe working procedures put in place on site. Bakers are currently midway through the £1.8 million refurbishment and roofing project at Westminster Deanery, which sits within the grounds of Westminster Abbey.

  • Westminster Deanery roof works
  • Roof works carried out by Bakers involved stripping the existing roof, recasting original lead and re-leading the roof adjacent to the West Towers of the abbey. The pitched tiled roof area was also stripped, with structural repairs undertaken and then retiled with a mix of reclaimed peg tiles and new handmade tiles . A full overhaul of the rainwater goods is also being undertaken, with refurbished cast iron and lead downpipes, hoppers and chutes. Bakers increased the gradient of the roof (compliant with lead sheet association guidelines).

  • Westminster Deanery refurbishment works
  • The entire deanery including a grand function room are being renovated which includes five bedrooms, a kitchen, utility, dining area and the Dean's study and offices, along with two bathrooms and the addition of one new bathroom. Upgraded electrical and mechanical installations are being completed, along with improvements to insulation wherever possible. Full decoration is also being undertaken externally, including the 15th Century elevation being stripped of many layers of paint to reveal the original brickwork façade underneath.

    A new hardwood doorway and canopy will lead to the refurbished garden, which will be landscaped and have new drainage installed before the Deanery is handed back at the end of this year.

    To hear more about this and other projects visit our Latest News page or the Bakers of Danbury Facebook page.

    Westminster School

    Summary =Bakers of Danbury recently built an extension to the Grade I Listed Westminster School. The extension included two entrance lobbies, a new block of visitor w/c, a presentation/ reception room as well as four new offices and meeting rooms for school staff. Bakers also carried out refurbishment and renovation works to six rooms around the perimeter of the new build extension, as well as the installation of a new stairwell and lift.

    Location = Westminster, London

    Challenge =Westminster School is the only ancient school in London which still occupies its original site. The site of the new extension is very closely surrounded by Grade I Listed buildings, some dating back to the 11th century. Access was restricted due to working on a live school.

    Solution = Phase one involved carefully dismantling the modern concrete music center to protect the archaeology below ground and the listed buildings surrounding the site.

    During phase two, Bakers oversaw archaeological excavations,which were carried out in conjunction with Pre-Construct Archaeology. The archaeological excavations uncovered part of the original kitchen to the Monks Abbey dating back to the 11th century.

    A section of the new build floor (within the presentation/ reception room) was later covered with cantilevered glass to create a platform from which to view the archaeology below ground level. Close co-ordination between Bakers, the structural steelwork fabricator and the glass floor manufacturer was required because in some parts the glass floor were only 10mm away from the archaeology. Underfloor lighting and temperature control were installed to help preserve the archaeology.

    During phase three of the project, Bakers used traditional building techniques and materials to create the new build extension. The extension was constructed with handmade bricks, reclaimed tiles and handmade timber and lead light windows, and it's new lead roof which features an oak oval lantern, with complex lead soffit detail was installed.

    External restoration works were carried out to a number of surrounding school buildings together with an internal renovation to six rooms, plant-room and the installation of a new stairwell (with decorative balustrades) and lift. Bakers carried out extensive repointing and cleaning, as well as stone (Burford stone) and brick repair and replacement to the neighbouring Grade I Listed Ashburnham house.

    A full M&E package which covered both the new build extension and existing school buildings included a contractor led design disabled platform lift and a Daliv Control Lighting System which enables separate light settings for different parts of one room. The expansion of the plant-room provided a new heating system to the new extension together with an adaption to the existing school heating system. Landscaping was carried out to Little Deans Yard, which lays the front of Westminster School.

    The project was overseen by Bakers' Contract Manager Chris Norman. Throughout the project, monthly progress meetings took place with the Client, Ptolemy Dean Architects, Structural Engineers, M&E Consultant, Quantity Surveyor, Chris Norman and other representatives from Bakers of Danbury. The Contract Manager, Chris worked in close collaboration with the Project Quantity Surveyor to monitor the overall contract values, variation costs and the final contract sum.

    Less formal weekly meetings with the School Bursar took place with Chris Norman and the Site Manager to maintain communication between the Principal Contractor and Client, also enabling Bakers to organise works around any forthcoming School activities and restrictions. In addition to the Site Manager’s daily inspection of works, Chris Norman held a weekly site meeting with the Site Manager to inspect works, checking quality, health and safety and progress against the project programme.