Summary = Conservation and repair works to St Leonard’s Church, Shoreditch which included the repair and strengthening of the front portico, steeple and clocks.
Location = Shoreditch, London.
Awards = King of Prussia EASA & National Churches Trust UK Church Architecture Awards (Highly Commended) and Heritage and Restoration Category of the Hackney Design Awards 2020 (Commended).
Challenge = Victorian alterations has compromised the church's structural integrity.
Solution = St Leonard's Church in Shoreditch is a Grade I listed church constructed in brick with a Portland stone façade and dressings, and slate roofs. Built in 1740, it is one of the oldest buildings in Shoreditch and is well known for its tall steeple.
Alterations made to the church by the Victorians left its structural integrity compromised. The church also suffered war damage and later was placed on the Historic England's Heritage at Risk Register. Since the 1990’s various works have been carried out to rebuild the church closer to its original form and rectify problems caused by Victorian alterations and war damage.
In 2016 Bakers installed a new slate roof to the north and south aisles and nave. Roof works included carpentry repairs, repairs and replacement of the cast iron rainwater goods, leadwork, masonry repairs and redecoration.
In 2019 Bakers carried out further conservation and repair works to St Leonard’s Church which included the repair and strengthening of the front portico, 192 ft steeple and clocks.
Restoration to the front portico which sits on the west façade was necessary due to water penetration caused by blocked roof outlets, which had led to the rusting of previous iron repairs, and in turn caused the portico stonework to spall and crack. A new Portico roof was installed with copings and new lead gutters and flashings. Other repairs carried out to the rest of the west façade included stone cleaning and repairs which were made to the clock level. Where stone indents were found to be beyond repair, Bakers’ sister company Collins and Curtis Masonry Ltd templated, cut and profiled replacement stone indents in Portland Stone to match the existing. The clocks were repaired and restored by specialists, back to their former glory.
In October 2019 a SPAB Repair of Old Buildings Course visited site at St Leonard's Church to view the restoration and repair works taking place and take part in a Q&A session with Roger Meers Architects, Bakers of Danbury’s skilled craftsmen, and Thwaits & Reed, the clockmakers who were refurbishing the clock at the time.
Works carried out over the years has helped preserve St Leonards Church for future generations and finally as a result of recent conservation works, St Leonard’s Church was recently removed from Historic England's Heritage at Risk register.
The conservation and repair project at St Leonard's Church has received King of Prussia, Highly Commended at the prestigious EASA & National Churches Trust UK Church Architecture Awards as well as Commended in the Heritage and Restoration Category of the Hackney Design Awards 2020. The judges at the Hackney Design Awards 2020 said;
“The careful and conservative repair to the west façade of this Grade I listed church is highly commended by the judge as a great example of the “touch lightly” approach to historic building conservation.”
It was reported that the judges were impressed by the amount of original material that the project team were able to retain by their painstaking process or investigation and design of repairs.