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In this issue...


NEWS 19 Crossrail archaeology exhibition set for a return 29 Surprising discoveries during exhumations of a post medieval London cemetery PROJECTS 12 Work on historic Whalley Abbey choir pits completed 13 Lights coming back on at Christopher Wray 16 New courtyard café for St Martin-in-the-Fields 21 Bradford Cathedral Chapter House re-ordering

COVER STORY: Lighting Dynamics UK continue their development as one of the UK’s premier companies specialising in the interior and exterior illumination of cathedrals, churches and other places of worship – Page 4

SOLAR 14 14 15

CRE North

CONSERVATION & RESTORATION 17 Sacrament House restoration allows celebrations to proceed 18 Conservation brings the colour back to Fusiliers’ church

October sees the return of CRE to Manchester. This time CRE North – the major exhibition featuring everything for a church organisation – takes place at EventCity next to the Trafford Centre on 10-11 October. It will pack into two days a wealth of events and showcases for church leaders, organisers, communicators and mission leaders. – Page 7

LIME 20 20


POWER Energy department clarifies position on community feed-in tariffs Solar power helps Waterloo Church to victory over energy bills Church gets a green makeover


The Principality’s the place for traditional principles HLF grant for lime-based softening plant

HEATING 24 Gas engineers’ training school selects DRU Kamara heater to keep students warm 24 The Kamara series


ROOFING 25 Metal theft bill heads back to Commons 25 New roof suits both building and its owners 26 The restoration of St Andrew’s Church, Blunsdon 28 Raising the roof!

Classified Section p31


MASTER CARVERS ASSOCIATION 30 They really are a cut above Richard Shepherd – Business Development Manager Tel: 07429 516265 Email: All other enquiries: Tel: 0161 710 3880 Fax: 0161 710 3879 61 Lower Hillgate, Stockport, Cheshire SK1 3AW Copyright Ecclesiastical & Heritage World. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be copied, reproduced or transmitted in any form without prior permission of Ecclesiastical & Heritage World. Views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the publisher.



St George’s Church, Poynton, Cheshire OLighting Dynamics UK (incorporating Ecclesiastical Lighting), based in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, continue their development as one of the UK’s premier companies specialising in the interior and exterior illumination of cathedrals, churches and other places of worship. The company is dedicated to offering a totally independent, creative and unbiased lighting design and consultancy service and, where required, they can supply all of the associated specified lighting equipment. Lighting Dynamics has a long established

St Agnes Church, Moseley, Birmingham


reputation for creating practical and architecturally sympathetic lighting schemes. Wherever possible, discreet lighting equipment is specified and installed to produce suitable levels of task and ambient illumination and to highlight both ecclesiastical features and any special architectural details. Their comprehensive range of modern, energy saving, long life lighting equipment is manufactured from the highest quality materials and takes into consideration many important factors such as reliability, durability, optical performance, overall efficiency, size, style and

ease of maintenance, to name but a few. The company is just about to launch a brand new family of the very latest bespoke LED fittings, specially designed for all types of ecclesiastical lighting tasks. This range of products has been under development for some considerable time and takes their overall lighting portfolio to the next level of technical innovation. Lighting Dynamics also has an unrivalled knowledge and expertise of all modern intelligent dimming and lighting control systems.

Holy Trinity RC Church, Sutton Coldfield

Recently completed lighting design and supply projects include: •

St Wulfram’s Church, Grantham – one of the finest magnificent medieval churches in England. A phased interior lighting upgrade including the latest ceramic halide and low volt tungsten light sources linked to analogue lighting control systems.

All Saints Church, Daresbury – a beautiful parish church set deep in the Cheshire countryside only a few minutes from Warrington. The church is well known for its connection with the Alice in Wonderland author Lewis Carroll. As well as the complete interior lighting upgrade, the stained glass Lewis Carroll Memorial Windows (a must for visitors) have also been feature illuminated by new externally placed luminaires. A comprehensive lighting control / dimming system allows maximum flexibility.

St George’s Church, Poynton, Cheshire – located between Stockport and Macclesfield, St George’s is positioned at the heart of the village and was built in the Victorian Gothic style. Complete interior lighting upgrade incorporating colour change LED light sources linked to a DMX lighting control system.

St Augustine of Hippo Church, Edgbaston, Birmingham – The building in a geometric Gothic style has numerous stone carvings and a striking painted chancel ceiling and is an outstanding Victorian landmark. Complete interior lighting upgrade including the latest ceramic halide, LED and low volt tungsten light sources linked to analogue lighting control systems.

St Michael and All Angels Church, Penkridge – A collegiate parish church set in a beautiful Staffordshire village. Complete interior lighting upgrade including the latest ceramic halide and low volt tungsten light sources linked to analogue lighting control systems.

St Agnes Church, Moseley, Birmingham – Sited on an island location in the heart of the beautiful conservation area of Moseley. Exterior lighting upgrade of tower and four main elevations of the building utilising the latest ceramic halide and tungsten light sources housed in modern IP 68 rated in-ground recessed luminaires.

Holy Trinity RC Church, Sutton Coldfield – A more modern style building with high arched windows and a beautiful wooden ceiling reminiscent of the ceiling depicted in Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper. Interior and exterior lighting upgrade linked to complete lighting control.

Electrical installation of all of the above projects has been carried out by the Birmingham based NIC EIC registered electrical contractors A J Electrics (Coleshill) Ltd.

Lighting Dynamics has a significant number of very prestigious church lighting projects currently in progress with a large number at advanced stages of planning and design. Company founder, Gerry Browne commented: “This is a very exciting time in the further development of church lighting, especially with such a great and diverse range of modern light sources now coming on stream.” He has found that customers are increasingly looking for a company with the flair and experience to provide a quality lighting design,

whilst also specifying top grade lighting equipment and controls that will give longevity, reliability and overall flexibility for their ecclesiastical projects. Gerry continued: “In the main, clients no longer wish to see their church lighting project looking like an extension of somebody else’s lighting showroom or lit with industrial style floodlights to resemble a railway marshalling yard. It can be a dedicated process which involves advising, informing and demonstrating what can be achieved.”

Our Lady & the English Martyrs RC Church, Cambridge

St Augustine of Hippo Church, Edgbaston, Birmingham

Lighting Dynamics has, if required, a fully qualified team of NIC EIC registered electricians able to carry out the installation of interior and exterior lighting systems to current electrical standards and regulations. The company covers all of the UK and Ireland and provides a bespoke service for each individual church lighting project, from initial meeting right through to final focusing and commissioning. In Gerry’s words “Lighting Dynamics UK can provide the ultimate lighting service.” R


Church resources show heads north once again

October sees the return of CRE to Manchester. This time CRE North – the major exhibition featuring everything for a church organisation – takes place at EventCity next to the Trafford Centre on 10-11 October. It will pack into two days a wealth of events and showcases for church leaders, organisers, communicators and mission leaders.

OThe breadth of exhibitors encompasses the supply of all the goods and services required to enable a church organisation to function as it should – together with some real innovations. So, makers of the traditional robes and altar cloths for services will rub shoulders with suppliers of the latest IT and devotional software. Recent years have seen the burgeoning of new technology and the church has played its part in that development. CRE has also seen a growing presence of exhibitors offering software for church accounting, music, organisation and even sermon writing. Plus, there are website builders and hosts and a new site enabling newcomers to an area to find their nearest church. With the western world thrown into turmoil by financial activities that have raised more than eyebrows, there is more than ever a need for ethical financial services and advice. At CRE North visitors will find banks, insurance companies and financial advisors to provide just that, either for their individual needs or for their church. More traditional offerings include furniture, heating, maintenance and the stock-in-trade of every church – Bibles. One of the highlights of the show is always the ‘Clergy on the Catwalk’ fashion parade, at which local clergy become not-so-reverend to strut their stuff in the latest ecclesiastical clothing. In Manchester, this takes place at the Toybox Café – named after the charity that helps street children – as one of the Spotlight events. Other entertainments to offer a break from the daily round include the UK Christian Film Festival. According to the 2001 UK Census, almost two in three of the city’s population claim to be Christian, so as a thriving cultural centre with a young student population the city is an ideal choice for the UKCFF to start its regional tour.

One of the highlights of the show is always the ‘Clergy on the Catwalk’ fashion parade


Film-focused seminars will take place during the day, with a double feature screening on the evening of 10 October. The UK premiere of Hollywood film Loving the Badman, starring Stephen Baldwin, will be shown exclusively at the festival as well as the family animation Lion of Judah. The UK Christian Film Festival was established in 2011 and held its first event earlier this year at the Christian Resources Exhibition International at Sandown Park, Esher. Other live events include theatre presentations, such as the tough love message from In Yer Face (IYF). Hard-hitting theatre for a hardhearted generation, In Yer Face will be presenting their unique brand of theatre at CRE North. Established in 1996, In Yer Face has become one of the UK's leading Christian theatre companies and a ‘mission outfit’ for The Message Trust. Renowned for communicating issues of faith, identity and life skills in a culturally relevant way, the company has long been committed to investing into the lives of young people in such diverse arenas as high schools, pupil referral units, prisons, youth groups, churches and in the wider community. Said Rik, one of the company: “I was converted at a youth event in Cheadle. I walked in off the street at 17 and became a Christian that night. This is one of the reasons why I value putting on youth events for young people. God changed my life that night and I know I’m not, and won’t be, the last person that He speaks to in that way.” Other thought-provoking entertainment comes from RHEMA Theatre Company, and there is musical worship with the Michael Roberts Band. All is available to be booked for your church or mission. The Healing and Wholeness Zone at CRE North is dedicated to organisations that specialise in mental and emotional health and healing. The aim of the zone is to raise awareness about how Christianity relates to mental health and how it can help those who struggle as well as providing practical support to those who minister and work within this area. It is being run in association with Premier Lifeline, one of five listening lines that have joined together to form a new call-sharing project, the others being Crossline Coventry, Crossline Hull, Crossline Plymouth and Crossline Scunthorpe. All are members of the Christian Helplines Association, another part of the Healing and Wholeness Zone. As the organisers say: “CRE is more than just an exhibition – it’s an event with seminars and workshops led by gifted communicators in their field of expertise, with presentations ranging from how to lead worship to young people and the Bible.”

Award winners at CRE North n The creators of the award winning Canterbury and York Lecterns are in town. Fullers Finer Furniture, who have been designing and manufacturing church furniture nationwide across four decades, will be at CRE North in Manchester. Come and see the revolutionary fully height adjustable Canterbury Lectern for yourself. Complete with LCD monitor and integrated microphone socket, this award winning lectern is just one of many pieces of handmade furniture Fullers produce. So if you want quality, come and talk to Fullers Finer Furniture on Stand P11. q • For more information visit

One of the popular features at a CRE Exhibition is the prayer area where you can take a moment to pray or you can have prayer from one of the Exhibition Pastors


One of the exhibitors at the show is Lighting Dynamics UK, Stand No. C12. Pictured is All Saints Church in Daresbury, Cheshire – an example of one of their completed church projects

Over 30 seminars and workshops will discuss how to meet the needs of the church for old and young, from new ways of ‘discipling’ and how to deal with church members who develop dementia, to the practical elements of how to maximise income. For example, a small urban church in the north recently saw giving increase by 41% while another in a deeply rural area experienced income rising by 71%. How they did that will form part of a practical seminar on good stewardship by Steve Pierce, director of learning and stewardship at the Diocese of Liverpool. “We find money talk hard, but the Bible has plenty to say,” explained Steve. “This practical seminar looks at good stewardship practice in the local church and practical resources to help us talk more easily, live more faithfully and give more generously of all God has entrusted to us.” Back on the exhibition floor, the range of goods and services available

continues to grow. Getting the message across is a major theme, with sound and lighting systems on offer alongside notice boards. Staged by the Bible Society, CRE is a series of exhibitions held at different venues in different regions, with an annual national event at Sandown. From Manchester the show moves on to Bristol in January, the first CRE to be staged in the city. q • EventCity is on the site of the Trafford Centre in Manchester and is the country’s second largest exhibition space outside London. Right at the side of the M60 ring road, it boasts free parking and unrivalled accessibility. There are also a clutch of hotels on or around the site for overnight stays.

Actor and Christian broadcaster David Aldous will be hosting the Spotlight stage in the Toybox café


Work on historic Whalley Abbey choir pits completed n Lancashihre based stonemasons, Stone Edge, have completed a building conservation project on one of the last remaining choir pits in the country. The conservation works to Whalley Abbey Choir Pits, near Clitheroe, which lasted from May until July, saw the repair and consolidation of the low level ruins. The 16th century choir pits were considered to be the area of the abbey ruins in most urgent need of repair, for reasons of public safety and pending loss of historic architectural fabric. The abbey owner, Blackburn Diocese, used the work on the choir pits to raise public awareness of the abbey site. Stone masonry work included: • Loose and missing masonry from the walls of the original choir pits • being reinstated, following consolidation of the walls with lime • mortar and lime mortar aggregate. • New capping stones being placed over the repaired walls to prevent • damage from visitors and deterioration arising naturally from water. • Bore holes being sunk into the low points of both pits to create • ‘soakaways’ to regulate flooding. Steve Burke, architect for the choir pits, said: “Stone Edge’s attention to detail was excellent. When repairing medieval structures, there are always unforeseen difficulties and Stone Edge have been extremely flexible and easy to work with.” The choir pits were excavated in the 1930s, unfortunately, without much of an archaeological record. Years of weather and visitors have taken their toll, which led to the need for Stone Edge’s building conservation services to conserve the pits for future generations.

Unique to the north west, three of the misericords have inscriptions. The satyr and the young woman’s misericord inscription translates ‘think much & speak little’. The position of the choir in abbey churches varies, and is sometimes farther east, for example under the Crossing Tower, than at Whalley. q

Historical importance of the choir pits The choir pits, or resonating chambers, at Whalley are a rare survival in Britain, and may be the only fully excavated examples in the country. Although the work on the abbey’s church began in 1330, with the first mass around 1380, the choir pits may be a later feature. This is because the two facing rows of wooden choir stalls, which stood above them, are inscribed “WW”, the initials of William of Whalley, the abbot from 1415 to 1434. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1537, 22 of the beautifully carved stalls were re-used in St Mary’s parish church, Whalley, where you can still see them today. The misericords – the ‘perching’ seats for the monks – are fine examples. There would rarely, if ever, have been more than 20 monks.


The choir pits before (above)... and after the conservation work

Lights coming back on at Christopher Wray n One of Birmingham’s most interesting disused historic buildings is set to be restored following a deal between its owner and local developer Linford C-Zero. The former Christopher Wray Lighting Factory on Bartholomew Row is something of a local cause célèbre. The site, which was once valued at over £2m for residential development, has had a dogged planning history culminating in an application for demolition last year. An argument was put forward that the buildings were beyond economic repair, blighted by a Compulsory Purchase Order which was never carried out, and a Grade II listing of the whole site. The application was turned down leaving the owner at his wits end. In came Linford C-Zero, founded by former Linford-Bridgeman director Simon Linford. Linford is putting together his love of historic buildings with sustainable development expertise to take on development projects others might be frightened of. Flush from success in restoring Little Bolton Town Hall, he was looking for a project in his home town and the Christopher Wray building seemed ideal. Since it ceased to be used by the eponymous lighting manufacturer in 2003, this Grade II listed building has gradually fallen into disrepair, and now sits as a rather sorry sight alongside Birmingham’s busy inner ring road. 9-12 Bartholomew Row, to give the correct address, is not just one building but a collection of structures, the significance of which lies not in their beauty or architecture, but in their history. In many ways their development over time has been a microcosm of the development of Birmingham, adapting for changing use as the city has changed around them. They started off as a terrace of houses in Bartholomew Row in the mid-to-late 18th century, overlooking the newly built St Bartholomew’s Chapel in a new suburb of the growing city. By the end of the century, they were partly being used as maltings and by the early 19th century shops and a warehouse had been constructed. The mid 19th century saw the loss of two of the houses, which were re-built by the 1860s, and by the early 20th century the buildings which survive at 9 to 12 and to the rear were all built. 7 and 8, the church and the buildings north of No 12 were lost during or soon after the war and, as a consequence, the surviving buildings at 7 and 8 were re-built when Christopher Wray took over the buildings. The buildings are an unusual surviving example of how domestic 18th century buildings have been adapted and extended to meet the needs and aspirations of their times. Their last use was as a factory and showroom for Christopher Wray Lighting, but the business left nearly 10 years ago. Significantly 9-12 Bartholomew Row is right next to Birmingham’s flagship new ‘Eastside City Park’, and this provides the key to its future. It is one of few heritage buildings which feature in the ‘Eastside Masterplan’, along with Grade I listed Curzon Street station. Linford C-Zero is looking at a mix of uses for the site, including student accommodation (Birmingham City University is relocating to the area), small offices and retail. It is proposed that central to the scheme will be a new brewpub, whilst a wine bar or club could exploit the extensive cellars. New buildings on sections of the site not deemed to be significant will not only enable the conservation deficit to be overcome, but will also enable the features of the most important parts of the complex to be seen and understood. Linford C-Zero is focused on sustainable development. The adaptation and reuse of historic buildings is an inherently sustainable activity. The energy embedded in them is an investment. Informed, careful adaptation can not only reduce the amount of energy expended in creating new development, but also achieve greater energy efficiency, sustaining the utility of historic places into the future. C‑Zero will use the development to demonstrate techniques for improving the energy efficiency of historic buildings, while new buildings on the site will be to the highest

environmental standards, in line with the rest of Eastside’s aspirations. The development is a challenging one, which Linford relishes. Director Simon Linford describes the opportunity: “The history of this site is one of change, of adding and subtracting buildings as their use has developed, and as the surrounding environment has changed. For the buildings to survive into the future this process needs to continue. The key to constructive conservation is re-use – these buildings have evolved over 250 years, and will now evolve once again.” q • Linford has established a Facebook site to keep interested people informed of the development, and give the opportunity for Birmingham people in particular to comment and make suggestions. The Facebook site already has pictures of the buildings, and fascinating maps showing how the buildings and neighbourhood evolved over the last 250 years. It can be found at


Energy department clarifies position on community feed-in tariffs n On 20 July, following the latest review of feed-in tariffs (FiTs) for small-scale renewable energy schemes, Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: “We are also planning to remove the energy efficiency requirement for community and school solar projects in recognition of the hard-to-treat nature of the community buildings often involved in such schemes, and the educational benefits that they can bring. “These types of projects will also be able to get tariff guarantees for installations of any size, making it easier for communities to get involved in clean green local energy generation.” Projects will only need to produce a valid Energy Performance Certificate at any level. The news was broadly welcomed by the renewable energy industry. However, in a release issued by the Church of England’s Shrinking the Footprint campaign, it was stressed that charities will not be exempt. Churches will still need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) to get the higher rate of tariff, or they can set up a co-operative or Community Interest Company (CIC) to meet the community requirement. Community FiT projects will be defined on the basis of existing tax law and will be exempt from the energy efficiency requirement (level D) introduced for solar projects earlier this year. The changes will take effect from 1 December, subject to Parliamentary and state aid clearance. q • Shrinking the Footprint is the Church of England’s national environmental campaign. The Church is committed to a carbon reduction target of 80% by 2050 – in line with government commitments – with an interim target of 42% by 2020.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams has stated: “For the Church of the 21st century, good ecology is not an optional extra but a matter of justice. It is therefore central to what it means to be a Christian”.

Solar power helps Waterloo Church to victory over energy bills n St Andrew’s Church in Worcester was built in the 1830’s as one of the famous Waterloo Churches – built using money granted by the Government to mark the defeat of Napoleon. Now the church is marking its place in history once again by becoming the first in the Diocese of Worcester to install solar panels. The system will save a staggering 5 tonnes of CO2 a year – so in three years it will have saved the equivalent weight of the anchor itself! The 9.8kWp system was installed by Lincolnshire-based company Freewatt before the March change in Feed in Tariff. In its first five weeks of operation the 40 panels have already generated 1,000 KWs of electricity – well ahead of its original target. Freewatt was chosen as the preferred installer because of its track record of working with historic and listed buildings. It was the first company to install solar panels on a church in the UK when it completed a solar scheme at St Denys’ Church in Sleaford, Lincolnshire. Freewatt also recently completed a large project at Winchester College where it handled installations on some of the UK’s most historic buildings. Julian Patrick, MD of Freewatt, said: “Working on sensitive buildings can pose tough challenges that we are experienced at overcoming. We frequently work with and help to coordinate local councils, diocesan committees, parish councils, English Heritage and grant funding bodies.” q


Church gets a Green Makeover n The Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul in Deddington, Oxfordshire, was looking for a way of protecting the environment which would also support the church financially. With a large south facing roof, solar power was an obvious option which came with the added incentive of reducing the church’s electricity bills. Being at the heart of the community and being Grade 2* listed, the Parochial Church Council required the assistance of a solar panel installer that would carefully consider its ecclesiastical context and the architecture of the existing building. From early on in the project, SMC Solar Ltd was on hand to advise and help the church as they explored the options available. The Church of St Peter and St Paul is built of local stone with the original part dating back to the beginning of the 13th century. Standing on Deddington ridge, its tower can be seen for many miles around. It was of particular importance to the PCC that the aesthetics of the building were maintained and that the solar panels were installed in such a way as not to detract from the visual character of the church. SMC Solar attended meetings with the church architect and local planners as well as making presentations to the PCC to aid the church in the planning stages. The final design was a 9.66 kWp 42 panel array above the south aisle. The nature of the

roof and the design meant that the array was not visible from the ground – keeping the solar panels a discreet yet financially successful addition to the church. The installation itself was carried out efficiently by SMC Solar in just two days with all access equipment on site for as short a time possible, to

minimise disruption to the church and the community. q • To find out more about SMC Solar and the services they provide, please contact Steve Munday, Managing Director, Tel: 01367 718833,


New courtyard café for St Martin-in-the-Fields n Platform 5 Architects have won planning consent for a new temporary outdoor café for St Martin-in-the-Fields in central London. The new kiosk is due to open April 2013. The new café will be sited in the east courtyard of St Martin’s – one of the most sensitive sites in central London – next to one of the most famous churches in the world. Situated between Trafalgar Square and The Strand, the courtyard is largely underused despite thousands of tourists and workers who pass by every day. The site is a rare open space in the heart of central London and the new café should provide an attractive catering facility for local workers, residents and tourists as well as generating income to support the work of church and the long term preservation of its listed buildings. The café will be a small, self-contained temporary structure in the corner of the courtyard, opposite the East Window. Its simple design is sympathetic to its historic surroundings, while contemporary materials will be used to provide a pleasing visual contrast and a focus for the site. As the café will only operate during the summer months, Platform 5 Architects have designed a kiosk that can be easily removed from the site during the winter. Lightweight, yet stylish, tables and chairs will be used which can be removed each day and easily stored within the unit when the café is not in operation. The new café is an extension of StMartin-in-the-Fields’ ethos of welcome and hospitality to its diverse mix of communities – including congregations, concert-goers, tourists, local residents and office workers. The café will operate alongside the already well-established and award-winning Café in the Crypt and, like the existing café, will generate income for the church and its charitable work. In commissioning Platform 5 Architects soon after the completion of the 2007 refurbishment, the church is also continuing a programme of using contemporary art and architecture to enhance James Gibb’s original building, completed in 1726. Hugh Player, Chief Executive of St Martinin-the-Fields Ltd said: “The Courtyard Café is an exciting new venture for St Martin-inthe-Fields. It will complement our internal catering operation, Café in the Crypt, the Les Routiers Café of the Year 2012, now celebrating 25 years of service to visitors to St Martin’s and Trafalgar Square. Platform 5 shared our vision in creating this new contemporary space that will work well with the church’s Georgian and modern architecture while having the flexibility to


provide the same great service to new and existing customers.” For Platform 5 Architects, this project represents a significant new phase in the practice’s development. Following the recent refurbishment of Waltham Forest College – the practice’s first education project – St Martin-in-the-Fields represents the practice’s first public realm project. Peter Allen, Partner at Platform 5 Architects said: “It has been an honour to work with St Martin-in-the-Fields and we’re delighted to

have received planning consent for the new temporary café. St Martin’s are great clients who understand the benefits contemporary design can bring to a historic setting and, for Platform 5, it’s hard to think of a more exciting place to be building our first public realm project. We’re really looking forward to the construction phase and enjoying the cafe next year.” q • For more information about Platform 5 Architects visit

Sacrament House restoration allows celebrations to proceed n Ecclesiastical objects are some of the most rewarding for restorers to work on. Most are still in use, meaning that the work carried out not only prolongs their use, but also becomes an important part of the object’s history. So says Spencer Cane, founder and principal of Spencer’s, a gilding and restoration company based in central London. Spencer’s specialises in the conservation and restoration of gilded surfaces and painted objects, and the replacement of both carved and composition ornament. He added: “After 15 years experience I am still fascinated by the history which one can unlock when conserving gilded objects.” A case in point was the Sacrament House of the London Oratory, a Catholic lay community on Brompton Road, which Spencer restored and regilded early this year. At first glance the damage appeared to be the result of years of wear and tear. However, on closer inspection it became clear that the damage was far more extensive. The entire object was covered in a thick layer of bronze paint, which had been added at some point to disguise missing sections of carving and chips to the surface of the object. Several of the more delicate areas of woodwork were broken at the joints and there were visible signs of woodworm damage, which is common in objects of that age. Once the bronze paint had been removed, it became clear that much of the gesso – the plaster surface that supports the decoration – was unstable, possibly due to damp. Spencer takes up the story: “The first task was to repair all the broken joints to the structure of the object and replace all the areas of missing carving. We then set about the painstaking task of replacing the chipped and unstable areas of gesso and blending them in with the original surface. Once this was done, we re-gilded the surface and burnished the raised decoration, with the use of a polished agate stone, to highlight the carved embellishments.”

Carving the replacement sections

One of the most demanding aspects of working on ecclesiastical objects is that many of them are required on a specific date for a particular service. The London Oratory Sacrament House was no different as it was required for the Easter celebrations. Said Spencer: “Working to tight deadlines is something that we are well accustomed to, and we pride ourselves on delivering a first-class service to our clients time and again.” The before and after images below bear testament to the quality of the service provided. q • For further information call Spencer Cane on 07956 124796.


Conservation brings the colour back to Fusiliers’ church n One of the major conservation projects to be carried out in a church in Greater Manchester in recent years is that of the decorative scheme in the chancel of Bury Parish Church, together with the wrought-iron altar and reredos screens. It was carried out by Harrogate-based David Everingham Conservation Ltd, which since its foundation in 1998 has become one of the leading private conservation businesses in the north of England. The Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin sits at the highest point of the old town centre of Bury. Although the present building is Victorian, having been designed by J S Crowther and consecrated in 1876, there has been a church on the site since at least the 14th century. It is also the traditional garrison church of the Lancashire Fusiliers.

The chancel panels The chancel scheme was installed in 1888. It was dedicated by Sarah Openshaw, a member of a well-known local family, in memory of Edward J Hornby, who was Rector of Bury in the third quarter of the 19th century. It consists of four scenes from the life of the Virgin – The Annunciation, The Nativity, Temple Scene and The Adoration of the Magi – set in arches on the walls of the chancel. Each scene is made up of between eight and 13 copper plates attached to the brick of the chancel wall. The attachments are in two forms – bolts with decorative heads at the edges of the plates, and flat head screws filled and painted to match painting detail. The paintings were executed with a wide variety of pigment types, including a range of earth colours (umbers, ochres and siennas), rich reds including alizarin crimson and vermilion, greens including viridian, oxide of chromium and possibly malachite, lead white, and several yellows. David Everingham initially examined the panels in 2007, when concern had been raised about the abraded appearance of the gilded background in The Adoration of the Magi. That proved to be the tip of the iceberg; closer examination revealed numerous conservation issues. The scheme was covered with a layer of surface dirt, both loose accretions of dust and other particulate matter, as well as firmly adhered surface dirt, much of it acquired during the town’s industrial heyday of the late 19th and first half of the 20th century. The program of conservation included removing the surface deposits and the discoloured varnish, re-gilding areas of abrasion, retouching damaged surfaces and re-varnishing with a modern, hard-wearing


Conservation of oil-on-copper panels depicting scenes from the life of The Virgin Mary varnish. All the materials and techniques used in the conservation of the panels were selected according to strict conservation principles. Two of the most important principles – the reversibility of treatments and adhering as far as possible to the original intentions of the artist – were observed at all times. The photographs, especially those taken during cleaning (above), are testimony to the dramatic improvement in the appearance of the panels. Dull greys turned into brilliant whites,

browns into rich reds and the gilded surfaces now reflect light with the brilliance of freshly applied gold leaf.

The reredos The Edwardian reredos is a magnificent structure carved in oak with the Epiphany as its central feature. Although not original to the church, it now embellishes the existing decorative scheme and was looking tired compared to the newly conserved oil-on-copper panels. Following

David Everingham Conservation Ltd has become increasingly involved in large-scale projects in churches and historic buildings, although the conservation of easel paintings in its Harrogate studio remains the core activity, with clients including local authority museums and collections and privately owned paintings. Reflecting the increasing application of scientific knowledge and analysis in conservation, David’s background is in science, with a first degree in biochemistry. After completing an MA in the conservation of fine art, David spent several years in museum conservation before entering private practice. Currently with four employees, the business continues to grow and expand its repertoire of skills.

removal of surface dirt and minor repairs, the original tonal values of the reredos were restored and it now sits proudly as the centrepiece of the chancel scheme. The pelican atop the reredos, plucking blood from her breast to feed her young in a symbol of piety, now stands out in brilliant white against the stonework behind.

The chancel and south chapel screens The larger wrought-iron screen separating the nave from the chancel is an imposing structure: 25ft high and 40ft wide. Dedicated to the memory of Sarah Openshaw on her death in 1899, it is part of the Crowther design. It consists of vertical elements supporting a central arch, with three smaller arches on each side. Surmounting the arches is a repeating fleur-de-lys motif, with a secondary fleur-de-lys motif above. The centrally located cross dominates the structure at over 40ft high. The real jewel in the crown is the Sir Giles Gilbert Scott-designed wrought-iron screen and gate for the south chapel. Sir Giles Gilbert Scott was commissioned to design the screen at the same time as his work on Liverpool Cathedral and it is clear that the projects share similar design elements. With superbly crafted spandrels, palmettes and leaf motifs and a running border of fine tracery, almost art nouveau in style, the screen is a masterful demonstration of design and craftsmanship. The only thing wrong was the dull, gold paint that covered earlier gilding.

The chancel screen after re-gilding A programme of selective re-gilding was proposed. Nick Rank, senior architect at Buttress, Fuller Allsop in Manchester, proposed a new design for the gilding of the chancel screen. The design for the Giles Gilbert Scott-designed south chapel screen was to remain the same, gold leaf replacing the drab, gold-painted areas. Whereas water-gilding is suited to picture frames and other surfaces where a high burnish is required, oil-gilding is generally better suited to wrought-iron. Once the surface to be gilded is clean and dust-free, a modified linseed oil, known as gold size, is applied in stages to cover the entire area. Apart from the skill

in applying the gold, the key to success is to apply leaf only when the size has dried to its optimum receptivity. Adding to the demands of this particular project was the complex nature of the wrought iron to be gilded. With undulating surfaces and tight scrolls, applying leaf in solid blocks required extraordinary patience, especially 40ft above ground on a tower scaffold. The results of the gilding have been spectacular. Where once the surfaces were dull and uninspiring, the wonderful reflectance of the gold surfaces now illuminates the aisles of this historic Parish Church. q

Crossrail archaeology exhibition set for a return n Crossrail has announced the return of its hugely popular Bison to Bedlam archaeology exhibition at its Tottenham Court Road Visitor Information Centre. The free exhibition celebrates the half-way point of Crossrail’s archaeology programme and will feature almost 100 finds, including a skeleton from the infamous Bedlam psychiatric hospital, a silver Roman coin and 55 million year old amber. The exhibition – which runs from 2-27 October – will also display a small section of mammoth jaw bone for the first time. Exhibition visitors will have the chance to win an exciting archaeology-themed prize donated by Systra. A series of seminars by expert archaeologists working on the project will take place alongside the exhibition on Wednesday evenings from 6.30-7pm. People will be welcomed on a first-come, first-served basis. Crossrail’s lead archaeologist Jay Carver will also host the project’s first online ‘Twitter Q&A event’ (#BisontoBedlam) on 9 October. He will be answering questions on Crossrail’s archaeology programme between 2pm-9pm. The Crossrail archaeology programme began in 2009 with archaeologists beginning their investigations at Tottenham Court Road, where they excavated the former Crosse & Blackwell factory site. Since then Crossrail has uncovered finds dating from prehistoric times to the industrial revolution, including Roman artefacts

and remnants of Britain’s industrial heritage. Crossrail passes through the heart of London's West End and along the north edge of the Roman and medieval city. The archaeology programme therefore expects to uncover further important and interesting remains.q • Crossrail’s Tottenham Court Road Visitor Information Centre is located at 16-18 St Giles High Street, WC2H 8LN.


The Principality’s the place for traditional principles n One of the many lime companies offering courses in the use of the material is The Lime Company of West Wales. Based in Crymych, Pembrokeshire, it claims to be the first historic building conservation company in West Wales to specialise in the repair and conservation of traditional buildings, and has saved over 50 local buildings using traditional materials. Its craftspeople have been selected to advise on the creation of the National Heritage Training Group’s forthcoming lime training modules NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) and to assist with the Cadw and Construction Skills Wales initiatives to address Wales’s heritage skills shortage. According to the company’s literature: “We are very aware that our specialist knowledge should indeed be general knowledge and we are as keen to teach people new to the joys of old structures, as we are to help professionals develop their existing building skills.” In addition to their own short courses in Wales, the company teaches throughout the UK on behalf of the SPAB, The National Trust and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. The training courses include Lime for Builders: Principles of Conservation and Basic Best Practice, a one-day course designed to give builders an introduction to the correct use of lime, and Lime for Builders’ Merchants: What is lime and what should it be used for? which recognises the importance of the knowledge passed on by builders’ merchants in the correct use of the materials they sell. Lime for Specifiers: The relevance of lime specification and sound ecological practice in historic building conservation is designed to give professionals

such as architects, surveyors and planners an introduction to lime specification. More general one-day courses are designed to give homeowners and tradespeople the knowledge required to help conserve old houses. One such gives an insight into the skills required for successful best practice when using lime. The course comprises mainly practical workshops where those attending enjoy a great deal of ‘trowel-time’. Skills such as lime pointing, plastering, limewashing and roughcasting are explored in-depth. Interaction is encouraged throughout the day – so students should be prepared to get stuck in. According to the company, traditional building skills are particularly relevant in Wales because one third of its housing stock was built before 1914 and therefore prior to the widespread use of cavity walls. Modern insulation methods can be catastrophic to these solid-walled houses, so the traditional repair techniques using lime plaster and allowing the walls to ‘breathe’ are essential. q • To find out more, visit

HLF grant for limebased softening plant

n A less well-known use of lime is for the softening of water in traditionally ‘hard water’ areas. The lime is produced in the traditional method, shunning the modern production method developed in the early 19th century because it produces a purer product. The method is still being used at Twyford Waterworks in Hampshire, an Edwardian facility which is still powered by steam and run by a preservation trust. In July the trust was awarded an £820,000 Heritage Lottery Fund award. Still commercially pumping five million gallons of water a day, Twyford Waterworks is a ‘time capsule’ of engineering, showcasing the complete history of water pumping through the eras. It retains nearly all its original equipment from the past 100 years, including five large lime kilns, a water-powered narrow gauge incline railway, water-driven lime mixing equipment and the entire water softening process. q


Lady Chapel with renovated Maufe furniture

Bradford Cathedral Chapter House re-ordering by Ulrike Knox, Cathedral Architect, RIBA, AABC n Bringing back into use forgotten and little used corners of ecclesiastical buildings is something we often find ourselves doing at Knox McConnell Architects. Such projects are not usually glamorous or high profile but are nevertheless important by unlocking space and enhancing, or even creating, new uses. In November 2011 we completed a project at Bradford Cathedral which brought back into use the Chapter House as a meeting space and at the same time enhanced two adjacent chapels by cleverly reusing fixtures and fittings. Worship on the site at Bradford can be traced back to Saxon times and for most of its life it was the Parish Church before becoming a cathedral in 1919 on creation of the Diocese of Bradford. The essence of the architecture can be described as early fourteenth century nave arcades with remnants of fourteenth century chapels, fifteenth century aisles, clerestory and tower in Perpendicular style and nineteenth century transepts and restorations. The east end of the cathedral was added to in the 1950s and 1960s to stripped gothic designs by Sir Edward Maufe including the Chapter House and several chapels. More recently the Chapter House had become unsuitable for its original purpose due to the constraints of the fitted furniture and the increase in the number of canons who are permitted to sit on Chapter. The furniture installed by Maufe was contemporary with the east end remodelling and whilst it was recognised that the

furniture had some merit, the layout prevented the room from being used effectively. St Aidan’s Chapel located directly underneath the Chapter House was also little used due to its difficult access and its original character having become obscured by earlier make-overs in the 1990s. The Chapter House was the only designated meeting space in the



cathedral and the there was a desire to make this space work for all the different types of meetings as well as offering more to the community. Our proposals aimed to enhance the general feel of the east end of the cathedral whilst enabling its use as a meeting place for visitors, congregation and staff. We applied for and received a grant to have a conservation management plan drawn up specifically looking at Maufe’s furniture. It happened that there were better examples of Maufe’s furniture at Guildford Cathedral and we were given permission to remove and re-use the furniture in a more effective manner elsewhere in the cathedral. Removal of Maufe’s fitted furniture from the Chapter House allowed a simple but flexible layout to be adopted for meetings and day conferences. It also provided the cathedral with an opportunity to generate income by opening it up as a venue for external groups to meet. Maufe’s furniture removed from the Chapter House was carefully remodelled by Hare and Ransom of York and re-used to enhance St Aidan’s Chapel and the Lady Chapel, giving both spaces a coherent feel more akin with Maufe’s aesthetics. As is typical of such a project it had a relatively modest construction budget but involved a wide range of small elements of work such as recording and archiving, upgrading the toilet and teapoint facilities, bespoke joinery, wheelchair access, repairs and new plastering, acoustic panels, asbestos treatment, refurbishing marble floors, refurbishing light fittings, new ventilation, new electrics and audio visuals, decoration – the list could go on. The contractor, Sorrell Construction, completed the project on time in eighteen weeks and on a tight budget of £229,000. The works were also carried out without impacting on the day-to-day operation of the cathedral and all parties are delighted with the results, in particular the clever re-use of Maufe’s furniture and the modest achievement of having a flexible meeting space that generates a small income. As mentioned at the beginning, it is not glamorous nor is it high profile, but it is very important to a small cathedral with limited funds such as Bradford. q

Lady Chapel before renovation

Chapter House before renovation

Chapter House after renovation – a flexible meeting space


Gas engineers’ training school selects DRU Kamara heater to keep students warm ORF Training owns and operates its own City and Guilds accredited training centres in Birmingham and Manchester. The company delivers plumbing courses, electrician training and gas courses, specialising in foundation courses for new entrants to the trades and those upgrading their skills, such as Gas Safe accreditation. Its reputation means that it attracts trainees not just from across the UK, but from every corner of the globe. Its courses have included students from as far afield as Spain, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia. Both RF centres are fully equipped and fitted out to the highest of standards. They benefit from large open plan workshops for practical training, dedicated classrooms for theory training and IT suites. Having moved to the Jubilee Centre in Birmingham in 2011, RF Training had to find a heating system for its main classroom. There was no central heating, so the challenge was to find an efficient stand-alone solution that was capable of heating a spacious room with high ceilings. Gas training manager Trevor Daniels drew upon his experience in the heating trade and selected a DRU Kamara 16 powered flue gas wall heater. This kind of heater is popular in churches, schools and other public buildings for high capacity space heating. All Kamara heaters have the option for an extended vertical or horizontal flue system, which was necessary in this installation to comply with the latest Gas Safe flue termination regulations. The heater has forced air convection for rapid warm up time and is complete with integral thermostatic control. Kamara heaters are available for natural gas or LPG. Furthermore, DRU Kamara heaters are 93% efficient – a major factor to consider for RF Training when the heater is being used every day throughout the winter and frequently at other times of the year.

The heater was installed by Martyn Bentley Heating of Burntwood, Staffs, and Trevor Daniels has expressed his delight in its performance and the high level of comfort that it provides for the students. R • For further information, visit:

The Kamara series OKamara has three models with heat outputs from 7 to 16 kw. They have cool touch casings, so they are safe to use in schools or play centres. With their extended flue options they offer flexibility of location. The heaters have been developed especially for churches, schools and other large space public buildings. They have forced air convection, which can heat up a large church within one hour. The heating is then thermostatically maintained throughout the day. The heaters have an attractive design that blends unobtrusively in almost any location. They have a contemporary appearance and are suitable for church heating as well as office and industrial environments. R

Kamara K16


Metal theft bill heads back to Commons OOn 12 September the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill 2012 completed its committee stage in the House of Commons. It is scheduled for both report stage and third reading on 9 November. Following the second reading of the Bill in July, Janet Gough, director of the Cathedrals and Church Buildings Division of the C of E’s Archbishops’ Council, said: “We thank Richard Ottaway MP and all those making positive contributions to today's debate as the Bill moves forward to its Committee Stage in the autumn. We are confident that the government will find time to take this important Bill forward.” According to the Church of England, the menace of lead theft and the consequential damage is the single biggest problem facing church buildings today, having cost churches more than £27.5m in the past six years. Offences increased by one third between 2010 and 2011 alone. The Bill stipulates tougher applications for obtaining a dealer’s licence, greater powers for police and local authorities to suspend and revoke licences of illegal operators, and a single national register of licensed dealers. Richard Crompton, the Association of Chief Police Officers’ lead on heritage crime, said:

St Laurence’s Church in Slough after its roof valley gutter was stripped of its lead

“The theft of lead, particularly from churches, is a major issue which has upset and affected communities right across the country. This sort of crime strikes at the very heart of communities and damages and destroys our shared heritage.” An initiative to combat the threat was launched by Ecclesiastical Insurance in February. The ’Hands Off Our Church Roofs’

campaign, launched at an inner-city church in Manchester, involves the installation of sophisticated electronic alarm systems in selected ‘at risk’ churches in the 42 C of E dioceses in England, Wales and Scotland. Once triggered by concealed sensors, the alarms activate flashing blue lights and a ‘voice from above’ issues a warning that the alarm has sounded. R

New roof suits both building and its owners OOwners of an 1820's property in Midlothian, Scotland, can breathe more easily thanks to the attentions of lead roofing specialist Bolton Roofing of Edinburgh. The existing zinc roof coverings had failed and needed replacing. A number of alternative roofing systems were suggested for the project, with the original appearance, the life expectancy of the roof and the overall cost all being key factors. Bolton Roofing proposed a traditional ‘wood roll’ design in Code 5 lead to enhance the property’s period appearance. As members of the Lead Contractors’ Association, the company was able to offer the client the LCA 25-year guarantee scheme for the new lead roofing system included in the quotation. The lead conformed to BS EN 12588 and was laid to the Lead Sheet Association specifications. Said director Robin Bolton: “With the guarantee applied there was no doubt to our client that there was no alternative and our recommendation was the far better choice.” Bolton Roofing also installed a number of Ubink ventilators into the pitched section of the roof to improve ventilation, so the roof itself breathes more easily, too. R


The restoration of n The Church of St Andrew in Blunsdon St Andrew is a fine example of an English historic church which has been sensitively restored to its former state, using old and new materials and combining modern construction methods with traditional craftsmanship. The Grade II* parish church is a small structure, built in the Early English style, consisting of a chancel, nave and south aisle, with a bell turret at the west end containing two bells. Medieval in origin, the existing north nave wall, its windows, the north doorway and the arcade between the nave and the south aisle all date back to the 13th century. In 1864-8, the architect William Butterfield carried out a major restoration of the church, during which the chancel, south aisle and porch were re-built, the interior of the church reordered and an entirely new roof constructed. Significant features include the stained glass windows on the northeast side, by Kempe, which date from 1896, and those in the south side of the south aisle, by Douglas Strachan dating from 1947. However, over a period of time, the condition of the church roof had gradually deteriorated, due to slipped tiles and the general failure and rusting of nails allowing rainwater damage to the timber rafters and some of the interior.

St Andrew’s

Back of church with all new Tudor roof tiles


sensitivity and to the correct requirements for the building. In December 2007, the church successfully secured funding by a ‘Repair Grant for Places of Worship in England’ administered jointly by English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund, to undertake restoration work. This consisted of repair work to the roof and rainwater disposal goods as well as repairs to the high level stone work of the clock and bell turret. Additional grants were obtained from The National Churches Trust, Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme, Wiltshire Historic Churches Trust, Wolfson Foundation, Garfield Western Foundation, Joffe Charitable Trust, Blunsdon Parish Council, All Churches Trust and Haydon Wick Parish Council. Donations were also made by the congregation of St Andrew’s Church. The main challenge was then how to undertake the scale of works required, balancing important historic and aesthetic considerations with the need to operate within very tight budget constraints.


The building structure

The challenge Richard Pedlar Architects worked closely with the client, the quantity surveyor and CDM coordinator Hugh Whatley & Co, and specialist consultants to undertake the necessary investigative work and put together a detailed building condition report, assessing the findings of various historic, timber and ecology reports. A detailed scope of works, specification and drawings were produced to ensure the conservation work could be undertaken with




Once competitive tenders had been obtained and a schedule of works agreed, the preliminary contracts works commenced in September 2009. Initial bat surveys, conducted by Wessex Ecological Consultancy ecologists, confirmed that there were no current bat roosts present and so contractor, Steele Davis (Swindon) Ltd, proceeded with the erection of a temporary roof covering to protect the building fabric during repair work. Repairs were undertaken with the minimum of intervention. However the uncovering of

rotten roof timber rafters and battens made it necessary to insert a new wall plate and attach extension pieces to the end of existing rafters. Lead soakers were also hidden under the lime mortar to prevent further failure of abutments, whilst retaining the historic aesthetic of the roof.

Hand made plain roof tiles The choice of replacement roof tiles was critical to maintaining the aesthetic integrity of the building. In this matter, Richard Pedlar Architects collaborated closely with Kent based manufacturer, Tudor Roof Tile Co. Ltd to produce over 10,000 new hand made clay peg roof tiles plus eaves and gable tiles. They were specially made for the project using natural fired clay, with no sand or colouring on the face, to 283mm x 147mm to match the size, thickness, camber and colour of the originals. The careful stripping and relaying of the tiles was carried out by specialist subcontractors Monarch Roofing, who ensured that as many as possible of the existing tiles could be salvaged, cleaned and re-used. Mindful of the need to preserve the character and detailing of Butterfield’s original roof, and for practicalities of further replacement in future years, it was agreed that the old reclaimed tiles would not be mixed in with the modern hand made replacements. Instead, the north facing front elevation, which can be seen from the road on approach to the church, was re-roofed using solely the reclaimed tiles from the site, whilst the south facing rear elevation, which is largely hidden from the road, and generally has to withstand harsher weather conditions, was roofed entirely with Tudor’s new hand made peg tiles.

Church, Blunsdon Although currently brighter than the existing Victorian tiles, the new plain tiles are an excellent match, which will fade and weather in appearance over time to become almost indistinguishable from the originals. By adopting such a pragmatic approach, all the parties concerned were able to achieve by far the most aesthetically pleasing and cost effective result, without compromising the historical integrity of the building.

Careful craftsmanship All aspects of this restoration received the same careful consideration and attention to detail, from the fine specialist lead work formed around the bell cable casings, to the stone repairs of the bell tower. Internally, lime plastering and lime washing were undertaken where water ingress had caused damage to walls, and an exceptionally careful timber repair was undertaken to the water damaged post of the west end south aisle truss bearing onto the corbel. All the repairs were undertaken using traditional hand crafted materials and techniques wherever appropriate, practical and economically viable. Stonework repairs made to the parapet and verges and sections, by experienced stone conservators, using like-for-like replacement limestone blocks, matched the original in size, shape and bonding pattern and used nonferrous dowels. Mortar pointing repairs to the coping stones of the roof abutments, where the existing mortar was missing, loose or defective, were made using new lime mortar prepared to match the original in colour and texture. All the externally completed stone repairs were designed to resemble weathered stone as closely as possible, whilst ensuring that water would run-off to prevent the further collection of debris and to protect the remaining stone. Inside the church, some of the original water damaged plaster work had to be painstaking re-plastered with coats of lime putty mixed with horse/goat hair to an approved mix to match the existing plaster, before completing the final limewashing of the new plasterwork.

A close collaboration

The Church of St Andrew has been meticulously restored to its former state, thanks to the close collaboration of the professional and building teams, ensuring that the sensitive conservation of this delightful small parish church was completed on time, within budget and to the satisfaction of the client and local community. q

Inspection of rafters and battens prior to re-roofing (top); Front elevation re-roofed using solely reclaimed tiles from site (above left); Matching of Tudor roof tile samples with original tiles (above right)

• Tudor roof tiles are available from leading roofing and builders merchants. For more information, call 01797 320202. Email: or log onto www.


Raising the roof! Consultant timber technologist and historic woodwork specialist Jim Coulson, of TFT Woodexperts, looks back on 35 years of investigations into old roofs – many of which have been in ecclesiastical buildings – and composes a ‘Hymn of Praise’ to the timber roof! n I’ve been inside a lot of cathedrals, churches and chapels in my time – not because I’m especially religious, but because there was usually something going on with the roof that needed looking at. And there’s an amazing variety of ages, styles and conditions of ecclesiastical roofs out there in the UK! In more than 35 years of investigating roofs – and many other things made from timber – I have learned to have a great respect for wood, a material we rather tend to take for granted, since mankind has been intimately involved with it for thousands of years. In spite of frequently being neglected, wetted, burnt, overloaded and generally abused in some way, wood has a tremendous capacity for doing more than you expect, and for simply ‘being there’ for much longer than you have a right to expect of it. In this little article, I would like to sing my own ‘Hymn of Praise’ to the not-so-humble timber roof.

Wetting It takes a long time to deteriorate largesection, historic timbers in roofs through water leakage. They will, however, eventually need some love and care, if left too long, and sometimes even a timber technologist can do nothing except recommend their replacement – with suitable advice as to how to minimise or avoid such a problem in future. But even rot, which alarms a lot of the people who have responsibility for the maintenance and repair of historic structures, is frequently not as bad, or as potentially devastating, as it looks to the untrained eye. Rather than call in the remedial treatment boys for a ‘free quote’ (which almost always ends up with recommendations for chemical treatments and/or cutting out and replacing a lot of timbers), I think it is much better to ask an independent wood specialist to undertake a Condition Survey and then write a specification for what is actually needed. In my experience this is frequently much less than the ‘free’ surveys come up with.

Burning Wood doesn’t burn! Well alright, it does burn, as a fuel, when it’s caught up as part of a fully developed fire. But it does not easily ignite, nor does it burn very quickly, or lose its strength when exposed to fire. I have investigated a number of high-profile fires (York Minster being


the most famous example in recent decades) and always find that the large timber roof elements are only slightly charred, with every prospect of re-use and, where appropriate, re-instatement. The usual cause of a timber roof collapse in a serious fire is the failure of the metalwork – wrought iron straps, bolts, etc – not the wood!

Overloading In past centuries, builders and architects didn’t ‘do’ calculations – if something stood up and stayed up, it was more by good luck than good design. Many of the historic structures we admire today are simply the ‘survivors’, that didn’t collapse after 10, 50 or 100 years! Some of the older buildings that we can still see today are often afflicted by ‘creep’. This is a phenomenon whereby timbers which have held a heavy load for centuries are gradually sagging under that weight – but without breaking. Sometimes reinforcement is the solution, but often a Timber Survey and proper in-situ structural grading, to assist the modern timber engineering calculations, will show what needs to be done – if anything – to keep that structure standing up for a few more centuries.

Roof styles and wood species Timber has been used for roofs for millennia and the religious buildings which (mostly) feature wooden roofs have slowly followed the changes in design and construction over the centuries. Oak was common in the middle ages and is found right up to the end of the 18th Century in ‘pegged’ trusses with ‘tusked’ purlins. After that, large-section softwoods were much more the norm, with the advent of new-fangled wrought-iron strapping to hold the

members together. And in later Victorian times – which saw a great number of new churches, and especially chapels, being erected – the roof truss reached new heights (pardon the pun!) of engineering sophistication. Many of the newlyarrived timbers from the Dominion of Canada – such as Douglas Fir – were used in place of large-section Scandinavian pine, which was becoming harder to obtain at a good price. So, whenever I get up into the roof of an old church, chapel or cathedral, I never know quite what I’m going to find. The one thing I do know is that the wood will be doing a much better job than the original builders had any right to expect – and it will be coping quite well with all of the abuse that the centuries have heaped upon it. It just needs a bit of expert help – preferably from a consultant timber technologist and a timber grader – to make it last a few more centuries, into the next millennium. q • Jim Coulson is a Fellow of the Institute of Wood Science, a Fellow of the Faculty of Building and a Past President of the Institute of Wood Science. He sits on the board of the Wood Technology Society (a division of the Institute of Materials Minerals & Mining). He is also is a member of the UK Timber Grading Committee and a member of the National Executive of ICOMOS-UK (the International Council on Monuments and Sites). He is the author of a new book published by Wiley-Blackwell in 2012: ‘Wood in Construction: how to avoid costly mistakes’.

Surprising discoveries during exhumations of a post medieval London cemetery Church buildings are often found to be sites of hidden historical and archaeological interest writes Mark Toop, who has made a number of unusual and significant discoveries in his role as Exhumations Director at Rowland Brothers Funeral Directors. Here he reminisces over such instances during a lifelong career.

n Mark Toop has worked alongside architects and archaeologists throughout his professional life. Arguably, one of the most important discoveries in which he was involved, was that of the grave of evangelist Rev Charles Wesley and his family. In 2004, Mark had been approached by developers about plans for an underground indoor sports facility at St Marylebone Church of England School in central London. Building projects sometimes reveal extraordinary finds, but with plans to develop a school playground, the architects could not have imagined the wealth of social history which lay hidden beneath it. The playground occupied the site of an ancient burial ground belonging to the Church of St Marylebone, and the building which replaced it in the 18th century. In the 18th century, the Parish of St Marylebone was one of the wealthiest in London and, by 1742, the congregation had outgrown the parish church. So, a much grander version was built on the Marylebone Road in 1817. Fast forward to the 1930’s, and the graveyard of the 18th century church was levelled to create a playground for St Marylebone Church of England Girls School. Then, in 2004, plans to build an underground sports hall resulted in excavation of a sample area of the burial ground and the church. The work became one of the largest and most comprehensive studies of a post medieval London cemetery. Mark takes up the story: “As in many excavation sites, this one was in a busy area. We were close to a high street and a school. Our priority, as always, was the dignity and privacy of the deceased. The entire area was screened off, and covered by a temporary scaffolding roof. Before we began our work, we arranged a suitable religious service which was conducted at the site. The area was then covered with an alpha numeric grid, so we could record the location of the burials. Working alongside the archaeologists, the burials were excavated and exhumed individually. In sites of this age, the wooden coffins have rotted away but lead coffins often remain intact. Personal details inscribed on the coffin breastplates were recorded, and any other coffin furniture was retained. The social history uncovered at the site was extraordinary. One of the graves was identified as that of Rev Charles Wesley and his family – his wife Sarah, their son Charles and Sarah’s sister Rebecca. They were re-interred in the church, but all the other burials took place in the City of London Cemetery”. A fascinating selection of personal items was recovered from the Marylebone site, including buttons, jewellery, an umbrella and even 19th century dentures carved from ivory. The Museum of London catalogued and published all these finds, linking the details of the deceased with local records, exploring burial practices at the time

and drawing remarkable conclusions about the local community and mortality rates. Mark points out that, from a historical point of view, the excavation of an ancient burial site is both humbling and fascinating. From a commercial point of view, the unexpected discovery of a grave can cause lengthy and expensive delays, while licenses are obtained for the exhumation, notices are placed in newspapers, archaeologists are consulted and plans are made for reburial, usually at the developer’s expense. Often, developers know that they are working in an area where they may find a grave - for example, near a school, church, hospital or even on an ancient battlefield. Well known parts of London where Mark has worked include the Barbican, Commercial Road, Stonecutter Street and St Andrews Crypt in Holborn. He has also worked with the World Health Organisation overseas, researching the deaths of men who died in the Spanish flu epidemic in 1918. However, Mark is most often appointed by architects or archaeologists who respect how his experience in the building trade helps to identify structural issues on site, while his experience in funeral direction guarantees respect for funeral traditions. q • If you would like to find out more about the relationship between exhumation and land development, please email Mark at Rowland Brothers –


They really are

a cut above

Carved pediment to chimney piece at the Maughan Library, London (Houghtons of York)

We continue our series of articles about the Master Carvers Association with a look at the work carried out by some of its members. OWith a select membership of just over 40, the Master Carvers Association is the oldestestablished wood and stone carving organisation in the country. Perhaps as noteworthy as the select nature of the membership is the variety of situations in which they crop up. Wherever there is a national event or celebration, there is probably a piece of carving there to honour it – and that piece is almost always made by a member of the Master Carvers Association, from the installation of 20th-century martyrs above the west door of Westminster Abbey to the 50p coins commemorating London 2012, the top carvers in the country are there. Andrew Tanser was responsible for carving the statue of Maximilian Kolbe as part of the celebrated ‘modern martyrs’ series of statues, while the Royal Mint website carries a video of Timothy Lees describing his design for the coin representing canoeing in the London 2012 series. Carving is one of the oldest art forms and today is carried out extensively by hobbyists and students. This aspect is also nurtured by members of the Master Carvers Association with their teaching and demonstrations. Perhaps the bestknown is Chris Pye, who has taught in this country and in North America. He is the founder of the website, which carries


films of Chris demonstrating and teaching, both alone and with ‘student’ carver Rob Cosner of Canada. The association has also assembled teams of carvers to undertake large or prestigious jobs where a number of skilled carvers are required. One such team worked on the fine restoration of the Carlton House Trophies at Windsor Castle, which had been damaged in the fire. The team not only had to patch and re-gild carvings that had been damaged, but in some cases completely recreate missing trophies from photographs.

Owing to the changing nature of modern carving, the association recently brought in the new class of associate membership. According to its honorary secretary Paul Ferguson, it was “…to enable competent professional carvers who would be unsuccessful in meeting the criteria for full membership – perhaps in knowledge of classical styles or a tuning of technique – to be included within the association.” R • To find out more about applying for membership, click on the ‘Membership’ link on the association’s website, at www.mastercarvers. • A selection of members can also be found in the classified section at the back of this magazine under the MCA logo.

Carved oak panels to entrance door of private chapel (Houghtons of York)
















































































Ecclesiastical & Heritage World Autumn 2012  

Ecclesiastical & Heritage World Autumn 2012 magazine

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