In May 2022, a group of over 50 SPAB (Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings) members took part in a hard hat tour to find out more about the repair and restoration works Bakers of Danbury are currently carry out at St Lawrence Jewry in London
The SPAB members were allocated one of two tour times for which the attendees were split into three small groups. The tours took 1.5 hours during which the groups stopped at 6 points within the site. As St Lawrence Jewry was a working building site and the tours involved climbing up and walking along multiple lifts of scaffolding - which have a limited amount of space - it was essential that the tours were well organised to ensure the tour groups were able travel along their designated route without the risk of meeting one of the other groups.
The tour guides for the three hard hat tours were Julian Harrap, Andrew Coles and Judy Allen from Julian Harrap Architects. The SPAB members enjoyed a detailed guided tour around the vestibule, nave and on the nave roof to see works taking place.
During the tour the attendees found out about how the current repair and restoration works are sensitive to the late 17th century construction including both the traditional materials and the quality of workmanship and how the works were designed for longevity using materials with longer service lifespans to ensure the ongoing preservation of the building.
Some other interesting information the attendees were told during the hard hat tours also included; how the intricate carved stone was gently cleaned using a nebulous spray technique, Julian Harrap Architects’ theory on why the external ashlar stone was removed from the north elevation sometime after the 1940’s, and how Julian Harrap Architects calculated the strengths and weaknesses of the existing 1950's nave roof before Bakers of Danbury could carry out repairs, structural strengthening and re-roofing using heavier code 8 lead.
To find out more about repair and restoration works to St Lawrence Jewry, London click here.