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Features...

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TRAINING 20 Dedicated to our built heritage 21 Heritage construction – access to training 22 William Morris Craft Fellows 2011 22 Changes in the planning system 23 New Heritage SAP in roofing launched 24 Ploughcroft’s award-winning ways THE ROOFING AWARDS 2011 25 Winners announced 25 Challenging windmill project

Special Feature...

Restoring Cheshire’s Heritage

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Battling time at Chester Castle

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Roman Amphitheatre gets the works as ancient monument is brought back to life

LIME 36 37 38

Building Limes Forum 2011 Conference Limecrete solutions Three important products for building conservation from the Anglia Lime Company

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FPDC PLASTERERS’ AWARDS 39 FPDC Plasterers’ Awards – call for entries 39 Challenging project earns 2010 award for Hayles and Howe ASBESTOS 43 Asbestos in Buildings

Explore the Walls – The Chester Portico project

Stockpoort Plaza’s restoration

AND GARDENS Caring for our historic parks and gardens Heritage Trees Case study – Covenanter’s Oak Crane use aids performance and safety Environmental responsibility brings major contracts Tree management in churchyards – new technology aids historic sites

PEST CONTROL 34 Wasps – social insects?

Also in this issue...

PARKS 26 27 29 30 31 32

19 33 35 40 40 41 44 44 54

Future is cast for heritage projects Tours resume at one of England’s finest Jacobean houses 2011 Wood Awards shortlist announced St Asaph Cathedral gets the Rosehill makeover Reviving redundant chapels TLX helps expose Grade II virtues New life for historic hall How green is your museum? Far from grey at Astley!

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Church & Heritage Supplies – Classified Section p45

Richard Shepherd – Business Development Manager Tel: 0161 850 1684 Mob: 07913 740380 Email: richard@dmmonline.co.uk All other enquiries: Tel: 0161 850 1680 Fax: 0161 850 0918 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. 1DKK




Restoring Cheshire’s Heritage 

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nglish Heritage is embarking on a project to find out how much of the country’s industrial heritage is at risk of neglect, decay or even demolition and to raise the debate about what needs saving and how. It will reveal the results of its Industrial Heritage at Risk research, including what the public think, in October this year. Henry Owen-John, Regional Director for English Heritage in the North West, said: “Alderley Old Mill, the Lead Shot Tower at Broughton, Quarry Bank Mill at Styal, Macclesfield’s Silk Museums and the Anderton Boat Lift at Northwich are some of Cheshire’s best known and best loved landmarks. Everywhere one looks in this county there are textile mills, canals, railways, warehouses, brick works, breweries and other remains of the Industrial Revolution. ”But much of this heritage is now at risk and the current economic climate isn’t helping. Owners are finding it hard to look after the needs of their buildings as well as their businesses. Developers are cautious about taking on vacant industrial buildings and public bodies and regeneration agencies are less able to support schemes for re-use.” In this issue of Ecclesiastical and Heritage World we take a look at a number of restoration projects within the county – some pre-dating the Industrial Revolution by quite a number of years! – which have proved to be a resounding success. The Chester Renaissance programme of new development and city centre improvements will make Chester a must see European city by 2015. The renaissance will ensure the city is a wonderful place for people to live in, work in, learn in, invest in and visit. It will generate a new pride in Chester, improve performance for business, attract investment and shape the city for the future. Three of the projects are featured in depth, starting with the latest phase of conservation works to Chester Castle by historic building specialists Recclesia Ltd. Explore the Walls, The Chester Portico project, aims to deliver one of the best historic city trails in Europe, and is currently on track to be completed by the end of the year. Finally, Chester’s Roman Amphitheatre, an internationally renowned ancient monument sitting in the heart of the city, has been brought back to life complete with the painting of a stunning 3D mural on its back wall making the whole project come alive. Elsewhere in the county, Stockport’s Plaza, an Art Deco Super Cinema built in 1932, has been restored to its former glory in a project made possible by a £2m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. q


Battling time at

Chester Castle

by JAMIE MOORE, Managing Director Recclesia Ltd

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tationed at the edge of Chester city centre, like a sentry battling time, stands Chester Castle. The history and importance of this location is perhaps no longer noticed by the hundreds of shoppers, tourists and businessmen who pass by its gates every day, but this building has played a pivotal role in the history of our nation. Battles and wars have been won and lost on the surrounding pavements, roads and car parks. Men have fought and died here for Wales, for England, for Rome. The face of Chester has changed radically since then and continues to do so. The prosperous, civilised city that stands before us today is a far cry from the place in which the castle was built. One only has to look fifty yards across the road at the sparkling new glass and steel HQ hotel development to understand this change. Where our ancestors built colossal castles and curtain walls to keep people out, we answered history with gigantic architectural invitations to come on in. The first castle, largely constructed of timber, was built on this site in 1069 by order of William the Conqueror, but it was on top of a Roman fort dating from 79AD overlooking a crossing point in the River Dee below. In the 1200’s, a programme of building in stone began at the castle and the earliest of these buildings, the Agricola’s Tower, houses the chapel of St Mary de Castro where wall paintings from around 1220 were discovered during restoration work in the 1980’s. The rebuilding of the castle complex in stone was accelerated in 1237 by Henry III who commissioned several of the buildings we see standing today, including the Half Moon Tower and the giant masonry defensive walling, some 400m in length, both of which were included in the most recent phase of conservation work by Chester based historic building specialists Recclesia Ltd. Also included in the conservation project was the rectangular building hitched onto the inner face of the Half Moon Tower, a building known as the Frobisher’s Workshops (from ‘Refurbisher’, where the repairs for the armoury were undertaken). Originally, this building was built for quite a different purpose. The 1690’s bore witness to significant monetary problems in England thanks to years of war with France which resulted in the entire coin-based currency being melted down and reissued. In 1696 Edward Halley (of comet fame) established a mint at the castle in an effort to help refill the country’s purse. The mint did not last long, as the 1700’s saw significant change at the castle as the Cheshire Regiment modified the fortifications for canon fire and added what was widely regarded as one of the most secure prisons in the land. The mint building, the only brick-built building still remaining on the site today,

was turned into the armoury workshops and later on in its history it was changed again into the officers’ mess rooms when the square windows were punched through the outer walls of the adjoining Half Moon Tower by the Ministry of Defence. The MOD left the Castle in the 1980’s by which point the buildings were in a fairly muddled state. The military function of the buildings had taken precedent over their care as a historical artefact and English Heritage were left with the task of trying to decipher the significance of each part of the castle complex. The inner courtyard had been filled with a variety of semi-permanent buildings, so the task of stripping these away to reveal some semblance of the original fabric cannot have been easy at all. Since the early 1990’s, English Heritage has commissioned several phases of work to conserve and consolidate the original fabric. The latest of these was Phase VI, a £160,000 plus contract wholly commissioned and financed by English Heritage’s in-house conservation funds. The project encompassed the Half Moon Tower and the Frobisher’s Workshop. Having been involved in several of the previous phases of work at the castle, it has to be said that this was one of the most complex to date. The Half Moon Tower and the Frobisher’s Workshop are the only two buildings remaining that form part of the defensive walling of the castle itself. They are joined to each other quite crudely and built using completely different materials at very different points in time. The Half Moon Tower was built using inconsistent quality of stone and the weathering characteristics change by elevation. The Frobisher’s Workshop is brick-built and failing facing bricks were covered over in the last century with a hard cement based mortar, which only exacerbated the initial problems. Both buildings have suffered quite unapologetic modifications to their original layout and both had suffered the consequences of failing roofs. The objective of Phase VI works was







to repair the external envelope of both buildings, along with internal structural work and timber repairs. The buildings are Grade I listed and Scheduled Ancient Monuments meaning that the work had to be of the highest standard and that the craftsmen and women involved in the project had to understand the conservation thinking behind the approach to even the most minor repair. As well as the safety briefings on site, given by CPS Ltd of Shrewsbury, staff were given a history lesson explaining the background and importance of the castle buildings. Records were also extremely important and archaeologist Blair Poole, of LP Archaeology in Chester, was drafted in to undertake a detailed survey of the buildings from top to bottom. A very carefully designed scaffolding was erected in September 2010, wrapping itself around the Half Moon Tower whilst standing on the steep slope of the outer bailey. The stripping of the slates and lead sheet roof areas was the first item programmed, revealing a fairly substantial problem with the roof timbers which were found to be in a much poorer state than originally anticipated. Worse was the fact that the three large trusses supporting the roofs above both buildings were found to be structurally unsound and rapid propping work was carried out to prevent their catastrophic failure. Lifting of the floors internally also revealed that the enormous eight metre spine beam, which ran the length of the building from the medieval masonry of the defensive walls into the Frobisher’s Workshop, was also quite seriously unsound. Further, many of the roof timbers – rafters, wall plates and purlins – were also in a bad way due to water ingress. All in all, the joiners were faced with a very difficult task of not only retaining as much of the original fabric as possible by splicing new to old, but doing it in a carefully planned sequence so as not to cause the wholesale collapse of the roof structure. As the joinery repairs began up top, the task of carefully removing the cement render from the already delicate 1696 brickwork beneath began. This was a painstaking process taking many weeks, as the faces of the bricks simply fell to pieces as the render was drawn away – a well documented result of cement render being used to ‘solve’ problems with brickwork. The condition of the bricks beneath was such that over four hundred individual bricks had to be replaced. Each irreparable brick was carefully cut out by hand and a new one slotted in until each elevation was sound enough to accept a new render coating. This time, the render was lime based and through-coloured on site using three coats of carefully gauged mixes of natural hydraulic lime and sands. Recclesia’s plasterwork specialist Matthew Bunn was responsible for tending to this element of the work, which was carried out whilst working around fairly cold conditions. This meant cocooning the scaffolding and wrapping up the freshly applied work without restricting air flow. His dedication to the task in tending to the render seven days a week, often until late into the night, meant that the frost was kept at bay and the render allowed to dry at the right rate. Following lengthy discussions with English Heritage structural engineer Stuart Ellis, a design was produced for the insertion of three stainless steel supports to the roof trusses, which were fabricated off site and then expertly installed by Recclesia’s metalwork specialist

The castle buildings prior to works

Mike Batters and his apprentice Ben Austin. The three trusses were supported using large wheelbarrow type supports which transferred the forces exerted by the roof back onto the repaired wall plates above the thirteenth century masonry of the Half Moon Tower. It was a simple principle, but one which worked beautifully from the moment the propping below was removed. The spine beam was given additional support from beneath with the installation of a large steel stanchion. As the timber repairs and structural works were completed, the roof began to go back on and work began on the conservation work to the masonry of the Half Moon Tower. The problems with the masonry were several-fold, exacerbated by the fact that stone of varying quality had been used in the original construction of the castle. It is possible that some of this may have been due to a possible rebuilding of the tower at some point in its distant past, but there is no documentary evidence to support this theory. Recclesia’s masonry conservation specialist Geoff Moore and architect Rob Green, of Arrol and Snell Shrewsbury, carried out a detailed inspection of the masonry and a schedule of repairs required to each stone was drawn up. Recclesia stonemason Gordon Marsh was tasked with the intricate job of the delicate

Left to right: Completed lime render to the Frobisher’s Workshop; The new roof and leadwork with rebuilt parapets and new copings; High level works complete to the Half Moon Tower




Left to right: The lime render under wraps; The Frobisher’s Workshop as the cocoon was stripped; Half Moon Tower roof timbers requiring repair and replacement conservation work to the masonry which required extensive descaling, pinning, indenting, weather-shedding and, in some areas, replacement of ashlar back to its original plane. The masonry conservation exercise was followed by a general scheme of re-pointing using an hydraulic lime mortar. As the works came together and the complex scaffolding was dropped from the outside elevation of the castle, the sad frowning face of the Half Moon Tower on show before works was finally chased away, revealing a building which looked much prouder to be still standing. As the works to the inner elevations drew to a close and the rendered elevations of the Frobisher’s Workshops were unwrapped from their winter cocoon, a strikingly charming building emerged into the spring sunshine. With the building having been so thoroughly covered up for so long, even the team who had been working at the site day in day out were astonished by the immediate transformation that took place during the final few days of the project. Further, the entire complex of buildings inside the castle walls seemed to be lifted at the same time, making more sense of the historic site as a whole. Today, the castle stands in a state of quiet limbo, but embryonic plans are being considered to find a new use for part of the site and it is with well placed and genuine optimism that we, as a Chester based company and as Cestrians, wish this process well. In a city as rich as Chester is in historically significant assets and attractions, the value of



the castle in this respect is perhaps a little diluted, but it is nonetheless an extremely important tangible relic of English and Welsh military and social history. LIke most historic structures the castle will require further conservation work in time, but this latest phase has been a decisive victory in the battle to protect the site as a proud reminder of the rich history Chester enjoys. q • Jamie Moore oversees a team of highly skilled craftsmen and women at Chester-based company Recclesia Ltd, specialising in the conservation and repair of historic buildings with in-house skills including stonemasonry, lime mortars, metalwork and stained and leaded glass. Many thanks to Jeffrey Thomas et. al. of Castles of Wales online - http://www.castlewales.com/ home.html - for the historical information.

Unit 3, St. Ives Way, Sandycroft, Chester CH5 2QS Tel: +44 (0)1244 906 002 Fax: +44 (0)1244 906 003 Email: admin@recclesia.com w w w. r e c c l e s i a . c o m


Explore the Walls

The Chester Portico project

by David Masters, Lead Consultant, Imagemakers Interpretive Design and Consulting

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here is no better way to appreciate Chester’s wonderful heritage than to walk its magnificent City Walls. This Scheduled Ancient Monument, which is of international importance, is the only complete city wall circuit in Britain and has a rich and eventful 2,000 year history. Legend has it that on 24th of September 1645, King Charles stood on a tower (now bearing his name) and watched his army defeated in the battle of Rowton Moor. The 4km circular route provides glorious views of the city and links to other important heritage sites such as the Roman Amphitheatre, Chester Castle, Riverside Groves and Chester Cathedral. The vision for the Portico Explore the Walls project is to deliver ‘one of the best historic city trails in Europe’. This article demonstrates the comprehensive heritage interpretation process that has been undertaken and gives a taste of the projects that will result. Currently the project is at the detailed design stage and is on track to be completed on time by December this year.

An exemplary approach Explore the Walls is part of a Chester Renaissance programme to make the city a ‘must see’ European destination by 2015. With myself as Lead Consultant, Imagemakers produced a Heritage Interpretation Masterplan for Chester in 2009, providing a strategic framework for telling Chester’s dramatic story across the city. During this project, Portico funding was secured for the City Walls and Towers.

Research and Evaluation In 2010 the Portico City Walls and Towers project began with a detailed research and planning stage, to determine the aims, themes, media and budgets for the interpretation. This work was undertaken in close liaison with the appointed architects, historic building specialists Donald Insall Associates. We profiled visitor groups to identify the target audiences and referenced data from the Competitiveness Study about how visitors use the Walls and Towers. We also identified the physical, intellectual, cultural, attitudinal and sensory barriers that impact the visitor experience, and are mitigating these as far as possible. Provision for a younger audience was also an important consideration. The research involved detailed consultation with key stakeholders, residents, businesses, schools, local government and partner agencies. Input was also gathered from expert heritage and tourism staff. Thorough research and consultation ensures the interpretation will meet the needs of all users and fit seamlessly with other historical sites and

the wider interpretation of Chester. The planning process also elicited a very positive response and a sense of ownership from stakeholders, which has had real benefits as the project becomes implemented. The research provided the information we needed to establish the strategic aims for the interpretation. It also helped us identify the main themes and stories. The aims are to promote the walls as an enjoyable yet flexible route around the city, to encourage visitors to discover more, to create a ‘wow’ factor, to increase civic pride, to help raise the profile of the walls and their economic value and to ensure there are strong linkages with other important sites in Chester. The main interpretive theme centres on Chester as a historic regional stronghold and the role of the Walls and Towers for ‘defence, protection, power and control’, as ‘a living monument’ and as an exciting ‘route to explore’ the city’s heritage offer. The Interpretation Plan also specified emotional, behavioural and learning objectives to be delivered by the interpretation, from making visitors feel amazed to ensuring they can find their way around easily.

Projects to be implemented The Interpretation Plan details a range of interpretation projects that will meet the needs of a wide audience. Map-based orientation panels, produced in hard wearing vitreous enamel, will enable visitors to find their way around. Interpretation panels in enamelled lavastone, a natural material, will tell site specific stories at key locations and include zinc rubbing plates for children. A cutting edge smartphone app, with a strong gaming element, CGI animations and high definition AV sequences, will target those comfortable using new media. A beautifully designed guidebook will also be produced for those who like a more traditional but contemporarily styled way of accessing information. An augmented reality digital binocular viewpoint, the first of its kind in the UK, will take visitors back in time, revealing layers of history when the landscape was dramatically different. Thematic arts installations, conceived by artist Patricia MacKinnon Day, will visually take the roof off a tower, introduce ‘wishes’ into the public realm, provide a reflective resting point and relate to a true story of romance and escape. We will also install a replica Civil War canon on an old gun battery platform, and create immersive audio experiences and medieval backdrops in some of the Towers. A new website is also in development and this will be integral to the promotion of the experience. It will act a digital hub, enabling

Reconstruction illustrations of the medieval Water Tower and Eastgate, commissioned as part of the Portico project

visitors to find out more pre and post visit and link to other Chester heritage and tourism online facilities.

Conclusion By taking a robust, research-based and thoroughly consulted approach to planning the interpretation, the project team have been able to devise a coherent and compelling scheme that has the support of a wide range of partners and stakeholders. We are confident the resulting interpretation will significantly enhance the visitor experience and, together with the architectural interventions, successfully deliver the Portico ambition for Chester. We hope that his impact can then be quantified as clear evidence of the benefits of investing in and using archaeology and the built heritage for economic development. q • Imagemakers Interpretive Design and Consulting: tel 01837 840717; email davidm@imagemakers.uk.com; website www. imagemakers.uk.com




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Roman Amphitheatre gets the works

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orticon Ltd, the Wilmslow based landscaping contractors, have completed another successful heritage project which saw the restoration of the Roman Amphitheatre in Chester. Due to the obvious historical importance of the site they worked closely with the site archaeologist throughout the project, in particular when carrying out excavations and stonework. At all times works were carried out with the upmost care to preserve the history of the site. Now that the works have been completed the public are able to view interpretations of the roman walls, which were lost in recent times, and benefit from new access routes into the heart of the amphitheatre. The project has also enhanced the viewing and seating

facilities around the site. This project received a ‘Commendation’ from the Civic Trust at the ‘New Years Honours List 2011’ for the excellent work undertaken at the Amphitheatre. John Seiler, the Landscape Architect, said he was “very satisfied with the services provided by Horticon” who are pleased to be working with John again on the heritage refurbishment works to Commonhall Street in Chester. q • For details on other projects Horticon have completed please visit their website www.horticon.co.uk or contact them at info@horticon.co.uk.

Ancient monument brought back to life

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hester has the largest Roman amphitheatre in Britain, used for entertainment and military training by the 20th Legion, based at the fortress of ‘Deva’ (Chester). Excavations in 2004-5 revealed two successive stone-built amphitheatres with wooden seating. The first included access to the upper tiers of seats via stairs on the rear wall, as at Pompeii, and had a small shrine next to its north entrance. The second provided seat access via vaulted stairways. The two buildings differed both from each other and from all other British amphitheatres, underlining the importance of Roman Chester. Today, Chester’s Roman amphitheatre is a shadow of its former glory, trapped within the modern urban landscape. It was difficult to picture the ancient ruin as the major city landmark it was more than 1,600 years ago, but this has changed as a result of a successful renovation project. Rita Waters, Chief Executive of Chester Renaissance is delighted with the improvement works. She said: “The Roman Amphitheatre is an internationally renowned ancient monument that sits in the heart of our city. We have been working closely with English Heritage and Cheshire West and Chester Council to ensure that the improvement plans for the amphitheatre truly reflect the heritage of the site and, more importantly, improve the telling of this fantastic story for all who visit the city and its amphitheatre. “The works will enable the amphitheatre to be brought back to life as an open-air venue for concerts and theatrical performances as well as a much improved tourist destination.” The improvements to the site have included improved access arrangements, quality landscaping and re-opening the visitor walkway as well as a stunning 3D mural on its back wall making the whole project come alive. q

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Completing the circle Imagining the Chester Amphitheatre

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t around 100 meters wide and 4 meters high the blank retaining wall of the Chester Roman Amphitheatre was quite a design challenge – and award winning artist Gary Drostle’s largest mural to date. Unfortunately, due to in-situ buildings, only half of Chester’s giant Roman amphitheatre was excavated leaving the arena divided in half by an un-sightly retaining wall. In a major refurbishment of the site Chester Renaissance commissioned Gary to imagine that part of the arena that lies, still buried, beyond the wall. Working in close co-operation

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with Chester archeologists and English Heritage, Gary came up with this trompe l’oeil design that tracks the arena back in time as it draws away to its far side. The portrayal of the arena represents the most up to date archeological evidence and brings the space back to life as a full elliptical arena. q


Plaza Restoration by David Watkins, Project Partner/Architect, Brock Carmichael Architects, Liverpool

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he Plaza is an Art Deco Super Cinema built in 1932 by the Read, Snape and Ward Circuit and is situated in Mersey Square in the centre of Stockport. The 1930’s was the Golden Age of cinema with over 4,800 cinemas recorded as being in existence at that time. Silent movies were giving way to talkies and the Plaza sits on the cusp of that revolution, harking back to its origins in theatre and music hall, but at the same time looking forward with the very latest technology. The Plaza was designed by architect William Thornley and was based closely on the 1930 Drury and Gomersall designed Regal at Altrincham, but compressed in to a much smaller footprint due to the size and constraints of the Stockport site. The completed building was a major constructional achievement. Some 10,000 tons of rock were removed to form the stepped site and almost 1,000 cubic yards of concrete placed for foundations and retaining walls. A massive steel lattice beam, spanning over 75 feet and weighing over 22 tons, was installed to support an adjoining roadway under which the building partially extends. The construction period lasted just eight months and the building opened to great accolade in October 1932 boasting unparalleled richness, splendour and dramatic visual effects. Externally white faience provided the backcloth for over 300 foot of red and green neon tubing. Internally, moulded plasterwork, gold and silver decoration, rich upholstery, a concealed, sophisticated and variable lighting system and an illuminated Compton organ created an awe inspiring and vibrant experience. It provided an escape mechanism from everyday life in the most dramatic fashion. Nothing like the Plaza had been seen in Stockport before and its success was proven by profits in excess of £5,000 in the first year. Modification of the steep lower circle rake took place very early in its history with consequential alteration of the balcony front and the stage, all implemented without disruption to the busy cinema programme. The auditorium was showing signs of wear and tear by the post war years and was refurbished in the early 1950’s. The Plaza continued to satisfy the entertainment needs of Stockport but, in 1965, it was sold to the Mecca Group for conversion to a bingo hall against a background of dwindling audience numbers, fewer good films, stiff competition from newer cinemas and the advance of television. After some resistance to the proposed change of use, the building opened for bingo in 1967.

A programme of remodelling of the exterior and interior of the building was carried out to support the new use, present a fresh and ‘modern’ image and respond to maintenance requirements. Alterations included removal of the roof tiling, verandah, neon lighting and signage

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to the exterior of the building, whilst internally significant modification was carried out to the stalls area, stage, café, foyers, lighting and decoration. The original projection equipment, screen, fixtures and fittings associated with the cinema and theatre use were removed and areas not required for bingo sealed to restrict access and usage. However, the modifications by Mecca generally respected and retained the original fabric of the building. For instance, the additional raised floor area within the stalls was achieved by new construction over the original sloping timber floor. The ‘modernised’ café with flush walls and tiled ceiling was achieved by the addition of new wall linings and a suspended ceiling under the original walls, windows, joinery components and the decorative plaster ceiling. Regular maintenance inspections and essential repairs and decorative works to those internal areas retained in use were ultimately to safeguard the Plaza for future generations to enjoy. Some loss of the original materials and components occurred either as a result of inappropriate repairs or failure of end of life cycle external finishes and replacement with alternative materials. For instance, the original fibrous cement tiled roof was replaced with green mineral felt. Cracked, damaged and displaced faience components were repaired

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with cement mortar or replaced with white ceramic tiles. The verandah, neon lighting and signage were removed and replaced by a lesser and more readily maintainable facade treatment and a low level signage/ poster regime. Out-dated light fittings were replaced with new fittings and the introduction of modern internal finishes invariably damaged decorative plaster and obliterated original decorative paint finishes. As the threat of closure of the building again loomed, the Plaza was identified as the best surviving Super Cinema in the north of England and listed Grade II in 1997. It became one of the last traditional bingo halls to close in August 1998 and, amidst concerns for its survival, the building was purchased in 1999 by the Stockport Plaza Trust (a charitable trust formed to save, protect, re-open and operate the Plaza) using funding provided by Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council. Brock Carmichael Architects were appointed in 1999, to carry out a Condition Survey of the building and evaluate the works required to restore and refurbish the Plaza. Selected works were subsequently carried out to facilitate re-use of the building as a cinema and theatre and satisfy current Statutory Regulations. The building was reopened in 2000 by the Stockport Plaza Trust with a dedicated team of volunteers and a handful of paid staff who subsequently raised funds for additional


repair works and managed activities within the building. The practice was retained for the rolling programme of repair works, feasibility and option appraisal studies, HLF Stage 1 and Stage 2 applications and associated detailed design studies through to the final implementation of the major restoration scheme in 2009. The philosophy for the repair and restoration of the Plaza is heritage based and conservation driven. The principal aims and objectives of the project were precise and focused to accurately restore the Plaza to the external and internal splendour of the original 1932 design whilst responding to the needs of modern audiences and performers without detrimental loss of the original form, detail and character. The Design Team was established and specialist advisors were introduced and co-ordinated at an early stage to provide support in the analysis of historic materials, fixtures and fittings (plaster, fibrous plaster, paint, organ, Holophane lighting) and the provision of base information (hazardous materials, drainage, measured building surveys). A very close working relationship was developed and maintained with the client who brought a wealth of knowledge of the Art Deco era and associated details. The Conservation Plan provided an understanding of the history, development, use, significance, issues and vulnerabilities and consequently allowed development of appropriate conservation policies to advise on restoration, adaptation and regeneration. The condition appraisal of the existing fabric, structure, fixtures and fittings provided information on the original construction and detail to advise how the building ‘fitted’ together. The building was upgraded to Grade II* in 2000 following reassessment of the surviving structure, fabric, components and finishes. Appropriate restoration solutions were developed to retain the original fabric and accurately reinstate damaged or lost detail. Adaptations to the fabric were developed to meet modern and varied demands for identified uses, which were sympathetic to the fabric, form, character and setting of the building and could be justified to statutory authorities, English Heritage, interest and amenity groups, funding organisations and the local community. The most significant challenge was the introduction of new facilities (bars, kitchens, offices, additional escape staircases) and inclusion of new and upgraded services without loss of quality or presentation of the original form and design. Innovative solutions (sniffer pipe detection systems for fire detection, bespoke clamp brackets to steel supports) were developed in tandem with close attention to detail to allow retention or accurate restoration of historic fabric and detail. The principal objective was the integration of new elements without detriment to the original design detail.

Externally, the principal white faience facade has been repaired, re-pointed and cleaned. The original doors and windows have been refurbished whilst contemporary and inappropriate joinery elements have been replaced to the original detail, finish and colour. The illuminated verandah, the decorative neon tubing, the PLAZA signage and the poster boxes have been reinstated. The secondary brick facades have been refurbished and the associated joinery components and rainwater goods restored to the original detail. The main pitched roof has been returned to tiled finish, albeit using fibrous cement tiles in lieu of asbestos cement tiles in response to health and safety requirements. Internally, the dilapidated basement area has been nominally extended and modified to provide a new bar area with a suite of fully accessible lavatories. Enhanced heating, ventilation, electrical, fire detection, sound, lighting and emergency lighting systems have been incorporated. The internal detail, decoration, fixtures, fittings, finishes and the Holophane lighting system have been carefully reinstated as original, albeit LED lighting has been incorporated to minimise maintenance and address access and safety issues. A lift has been sensitively incorporated within the restored foyers to provide full access to the stalls area, basement and the restored café at first floor level. The café has been restored to its original magnificence. The end result is an accurately restored exterior and interior to the building with new facilities and services located out of view to ensure accurate interpretation and experience of this unique 1930’s Super Cinema. The restoration of the Super Cinema has been compared to the quality achieved in Art Deco restorations in United States – the ultimate accolade which has provided immense satisfaction to the Stockport Plaza Trust and reflected the dedication and extraordinary effort expended by the full Project Team. q

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Stockport’s Plaza back in the pictures! T

he eye-catching art deco façade of Stockport Plaza may be a monument to a bygone age when the silent movie was king but it’s now making plenty of noises about its future as a Super Cinema and Variety Theatre! Opened in 1932, this distinctive venue in the heart of Stockport has recently undergone a comprehensive £3 million refurbishment funded predominantly through a £2 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund together with £650,000 of Regional Development Agency money. The work has included an immense amount of specialist plastering work carried out by Pudsey-based Ornate Interiors. The Plaza served as a cinema until the mid 1960’s when it was converted into a bingo hall by the Mecca Group before finally closing its doors in 1998. A year later the building was purchased by the Stockport Plaza Trust and saw its listed status upgraded to II* by English Heritage. It’s one of only a handful of cinemas across the UK to have this status. Jim Dodd, contract manager for Ornate Interiors, explained: “This has been a long and challenging project that started in the spring of 2009. It involved work on numerous, difficult to reach high ceilings and walls, including the main auditorium. We had

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to be creative as to how we matched to existing plasterwork and reproduced six distinctive Artex style patterns. “Much of the plasterwork was in a very poor state, having been patched up at various stages throughout its history, with plastering on many of the stairways and ceilings having completely disappeared with the brickwork showing. “We took samples of the existing plasterwork and it was revealed as a lime and gypsum solution originating in Belgium. The brief meant we had to recreate as close to the original mix as possible and we opted for two coats of haired lime plaster followed by a finish coat of 50% Knauf 50% lime plaster. Prior to the application on site, test patterns were carried out in our workshops on numerous sample finish coats with this solution achieving the most appropriate results. “The existing ceilings were stripped back to the original timber and reinstated with traditional Larch lath and three coats of haired lime plaster including the specialist lime plaster pattern which matched the original design. “The damaged and rotten areas of the fibrous plaster mouldings were taken off and sections and squeezes of the original mouldings were taken in order to reproduce the exact required profile and pattern. These were then cast in our Leeds workshop. “The new sections were then transported to site and fixed in the required location to provide a seamless finish,” added Jim. The existing walls were also stripped back in a similar fashion to the ceilings to reveal the original background, and were then reinstated with three coats of haired lime plaster. In the auditorium and front of house area, as well as the staircases at the side of the building, many ceiling and wall areas were reinstated in a similar fashion. In addition two niche heads within the front of house were modelled in clay from drawings and then a silicone rubber mould was manufactured from the model. Casts were then manufactured from the mould and the two heads installed on site. Another area of the building in need of attention was the rear of the Cafe wall which required the reproduction of 3 fibrous plaster niches. Jim went on: “A big issue was that there were no longer original features left to copy for the niches. The project architects


were able to produce architectural drawings of the original niches from historic photographs, we then produced a full size drawing of the niche shaft and manufactured a mould from this. “The head and base details were modelled in clay from drawings and a silicone rubber mould was then manufactured from the model. Casts were manufactured from the moulds and the three elements of the niche installed on site into purpose made recesses formed within the walls,” he added. Founded in 1989, Ornate Interiors Ltd work on many of the UK’s most recognised stately homes, listed buildings, hotels, churches, homes and theatres. They currently employ 18 staff. After nine months of work, the beautifully restored Plaza auditorium, with its gold and silver decorative plaster, opened its doors in December 2009, with the pantomime Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs taking to the stage. A true fairy tale ending indeed for Jim and the team from Ornate Interiors! q • For more details visit www.ornateinteriors.co.uk and www. stockportplaza.co.uk

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G F Holding bring Plaza back to its former glory

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n their appointment as main contractor for the Stockport Plaza restoration contract, Geoffrey E Holding, chairman of G F Holding said “I am delighted to be working with the Stockport Plaza Trust on the refurbishment of their Grade II* listed Plaza Super Cinema. The GF in our name was George Fredrick Holding, my grandfather, who founded the business in 1908 and, unlike almost all other companies of our size in this industry, we remain family owned to this day. “In December 2008, we received a call from Gary Trinder of the Stockport Plaza Trust to enquire if we were the same company that placed an advertisement in the brochure to celebrate the opening of the Stockport Plaza in October 1932. The advert was for G F Holding Decorators who were based in Brooks Bar, Manchester. I was surprised, but extremely proud, to say that it was indeed the same company which at the time was run by my father, Frank Leslie Holding. Various meetings and discussions took place following that conversation which concluded with our company being invited to tender for the upcoming restoration works to the historic cinema, and ultimately appointed to be main contractor following a successful tender bid. “Whilst I enjoyed keeping a watchful eye on the project development, the real focus, along with our professional construction team, was through Simon Holding, my son. Together with my group of directors, Simon recognises that any business that has run successfully for over 100 years will only stay at the top through a constant process of innovation, client focus and market understanding. “To précis a recent quote from a former managing director of Odeon Cinemas – ‘given their 100 year history, there can be no other firm in the UK, with the collective knowledge of cinema and theatre buildings as Holdings’. With the company having worked on over 25 listed cinemas, in addition to The Opera House and Palace Theatre in Manchester, the

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IndigO2 live music venue at the O2 Dome and the Odeon Leicester Square as well as numerous new cinema projects throughout the UK, I would like to concur with his comments. “It was a pleasure to bring the Plaza Super Cinema and Variety Theatre in Stockport back to its former glory, working closely with the Stockport Plaza Trust and a very experienced design and conservation team lead by Brock Carmichael Architects.” Gary Trinder commented that he and his fellow directors were delighted that GF Holding had been selected to undertake the £3m contract over a ten month period to fully restore significant elements of the historic Plaza. Work commenced in March 2009 on the 76 year old building to restore the façade, entrance foyers and rear stalls areas, together with the reinstallation of the 100 foot long veranda and construction of a basement level lounge bar facility to improve the customer experience. At first floor level, the café-restaurant which was ‘covered over’ with a 60’s makeover was completely restored to reveal its original decorative splendour and luxury furnishings. To improve facilities at the stage end of the building, a new electrical supply was installed together with a replica of the original three colour ‘Holophane’ lighting system in the auditorium. The restoration works were made possible by a £2m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, augmented by a £650,000 grant from the North West Development Agency and £300,000 from Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council. The balance of the funding came from Stockport Plaza Trust, a Charitable Trust substantially run by volunteers with the sole aim of preserving and operating the Plaza for the benefit of local and national audiences. The Plaza Super Cinema and Variety Theatre is recognised as one of the best remaining buildings from the golden age of cinema, and now the works are complete it is the first building of its type in the UK still in use for its original design purpose – entertainment. q


Future is cast for heritage projects Ecclesiastical & Heritage World talks to Halifax-based Hargreaves Foundry, which has been manufacturing cast iron since 1881 and now casts for celebrated sculptor Anthony Gormley, about how traditional foundry skills are preserving some of Britain’s finest buildings for generations to come.

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here are just a handful of traditional foundries left in the UK – but those that remain are playing a vital role in the restoration and preservation of Britain’s finest period architecture. The surviving foundries possess the knowledge, skill and product range which can turn even the most difficult-looking job into one of the most straightforward elements of restoration. Designs that may seem hard to find are actually part of the off-the-shelf range. One of the oldest foundries has been found to date back 15 years earlier than previously thought. Terry Hinchliffe, father of Hargreaves Foundry’s MD Michael Hinchliffe is a keen local historian. He was looking through the census of 1881 when he discovered that Ebenezer Hargreaves, the company’s founder, was trading with six employees in that year. The original Hargreaves foundry might be even older but at least proof exists that the business is a grand old 130 years today! Truly representative of Yorkshire’s manufacturing culture of entrepreneurialism, Hargreaves is best known as a manufacturer of cast iron drainage products. It has one of the largest stockholdings of these products in UK and the capacity to produce the widest range of gutters and pipes on a scale that would make other companies baulk! For example, on a £40k project for Chatham Naval Dock, the length of each gutter weighed in at a colossal 1.5 tonnes! Without stretching a point, the company can be likened to a fashion designer! Its core strength is in Hargreaves’ ability to manufacture and stock ‘prêt-à-porter’ goods off the shelf while retaining pattern making and foundry skills to tailor-make ‘bespoke designer’ items to satisfy the heritage sector and high-end market requirements. A recent contract at the University of East London, in the district that The University of East London required master craftsmanship

is home to the 2012 Olympics, demanded just that. To complement the standard range of Premier rainwater goods being installed, the project also needed master craftsmanship to recreate intricately patterned earbands that were required to hold in place 200 metres of 100mm x 75mm rectangular pipes. Hargreaves Foundry also supplied more than 380 gutter lengths and 110 rainwater pipes in the style of one of Yorkshire’s most-loved heritage buildings from its off-the-peg range. The immense Piece Hall in Halifax, built in 1779 as a place for hand weavers to sell their cloth, is now a shopping centre, entertainment venue and popular tourist spot. At 6,500 sq m, the impressive Grade I listed building, had moulded gutters which had to be painted a specific sand colour and Calderdale MBC was able to replace the failing rainwater goods from Hargreaves’s The impressive Piece Hall in Halifax standard product ranges. – just one of Hargreaves Foundry’s Clive Gambrell, Hargreaves extensive projects Foundry sales manager, explained: “The task of repairing and replacing historic cast iron windows, pipes, guttering and other products can require skills as much akin to a master detective as a master craftsman. “The loss, erosion and damage over scores of years can turn ornate cast iron into irregular pieces of a heavyweight jigsaw puzzle. When no original patterns and no record of the original dimensions survive, there is rarely a straightforward formula for 21st century replicas.” Sister company, Hargreaves Lock Gates (HLG) won one of the largest contracts ever awarded, worth £600,000, based on its capacity to craft 22 pairs of lock gates, bearing metalwork produced in the foundry, along the Thames and Severn canal. When complete, the reconstruction will reconnect the Thames and Severn rivers for the first time in 70 years. Unique to UK architecture, cast-iron production has changed very little over the last century. One hundred per cent recyclable and with a lifeexpectancy of at least a century, cast iron offers great green credentials, particularly when compared with many modern alternatives. Hargreaves believe that they are the only foundry that can deal in both volume and bespoke applications on such a large scale and all UK production is from recycled or scrap iron and steel. q • For more information ring 01422 330607 or visit www. hargreavesfoundry.co.uk

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Dedicated to our built heritage Heritage Craft Alliance Ltd is an accredited training and assessment provider, who are dedicated to our built heritage.

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stablished in 2009 the company has grown and expanded its client base to include such businesses as British Waterways, The National Trust, The Princes Foundation for the Built Environment, The Heritage Building Bursary Scheme, local authorities and the NHS. They have assessed over 200 heritage skills level 3 qualifications across a range of disciplines and are continuing to expand their network across the UK. Their main business is the training and assessment for the adult heritage skills workforce. They understand that it is critical to the wellbeing of the sector to improve the status of our heritage workforce through accreditation and also to ensure that the traditional skills are understood and maintained. The long term survival of our historic buildings is in the hands of a shrinking number of expert craftsmen and conservators. The availability of these skills is statistically decreasing year on year due to retirement of traditional craftspeople. There has been a skills gap developing over a 25 year period from the 1970s which has led to a major deficit in the heritage skills workforce.

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Meeting the needs of the heritage craft sector Much of the company’s recent work has been re-dressing the balance of training which has led to the side-lining of traditional skills and materials. They have achieved this in many instances by adding to contemporary craft training qualifications and by up-skilling craftsmen with heritage skills training and education workshops. This work can be bespoke or delivered to meet accredited standards and qualifications. Whichever approach is taken, they set out to achieve the very best results from the most appropriate interventions. This strategy has proved to be very successful for learners of all ages.

CSCS cards Many of the craftsmen and contractors they work with require the heritage CSCS card in order to be able to contract with owners of historic properties. The demand for this endorsement of skills is on the increase where contractors, property owners, English Heritage and others are becoming more

stringent with their contractor engagement strategies. Through assessment for heritage skills level 3 diplomas and conservation supervision and management qualifications, Heritage Craft Alliance are able to prepare craftsmen and managers to apply for the card. Once you have the appropriate qualification and have sat your health and safety on line GOLA test, your application for a heritage CSCS card is accepted.

Working with schools The company believes that it has to address the needs of our younger aspiring craftspeople and with this in mind they work with schools, meeting some of their needs in relation to history, design and technology and vocational interventions – all highlighted in the National Curriculum. This is becoming an increasingly popular activity, where they deliver hands on educational days for schools and colleges. The students never fail to show great interest and all seem to have fun learning in this way. q


Heritage construction – access to training by GLENN YOUNG, Director, Heritage Craft Alliance Ltd

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n March 2009, a Memorandum of Understanding on Maintaining Standards and Best Practice in the Built Heritage Sector in England was agreed by the all-party parliamentary arts and heritage group, along with English Heritage C Skills and NHTG. This memorandum highlights the need to establish qualifications and certification for people working in the heritage construction sector. To all intents and purposes, this means anyone who carries out maintenance, repair, restoration or conservation work on any building completed prior to 1919. The National Heritage Training Group (NHTG), a signatory to the memorandum, have undertaken comprehensive studies on the sector. Their findings, although now based on 3 year old evidence, suggest that only a small proportion (c18%) of people working on historic buildings are qualified, or indeed have appropriate skill or experience, within the sector. To put this into perspective, some 109,000 people were known to be working in the sector during 2008. This means that over 80,000 of these have little or no qualifications to do the work. Nor do they have knowledge of the nature of historic building techniques or materials. One can easily see that this situation is bound to have a negative effect on the wellbeing and sustainability of our precious built heritage. To those involved at the critical juncture between need and availability, the difficulty of recruiting suitably trained and qualified contractors is one of the most difficult of tasks. The mere fact that we do not know to what extent a contractor can interpret, and/or safely intervene on, an historic building shows clearly the need for certification. Another critical issue is the lack of substantial and knowledgeable supervision. This is a critical element for any project but especially if we cannot have confidence in the workforce. Generally, but not exclusively, many works on historic properties are let to the lowest tender. This is market forces at work and we cannot deny the impact this has. However, it is clear that diligent and skilled supervision of the works could and would prevent some of the disasters experienced across the sector. Such problems as the use of cement on historic masonry, or bolted on truss repairs for example. It is true that a clerk of works or conservation surveyor costs money, but so do remedial works when, in some instances, the damage is irretrievable.

So what can we do? I am sure that any craftsperson would want to be seen as professional, skilled and knowledgeable, but objective credibility can only be achieved through the recognition of achievement against an established standard. Notwithstanding the previous access to ‘Grandfather Rights’, now extinct, we have such standards available to practicing craftspeople and supervisors in the form of NVQs and the CSCS card system and this is underwritten by C Skills. The NVQ qualifications are competence based and reflect the competence and skill levels which already exist. Therefore we are looking towards the c18% of contractors working in the sector who have the skills and knowledge to do the work. This also offers the credibility of a CSCS card for the proven craftsperson. Our conservation supervisors who support them can follow a similar route to certification. This does not, however, address the needs of the remainder of the workforce engaged in heritage work. These contractors and craftspeople need training and/or up skilling to ensure their knowledge and understanding of the work is appropriate and fit for purpose. This requires there to be opportunity to train and gain qualifications towards certified status. The NHTG and its regional centres, such as the NHTA Yorkshire and the Humber, have established the need, but have not yet built delivery capacity to serve the sector. There are some short training interventions available across the country via full, cost or part funded programmes, but not in the quantity or range suitable to give access to all who need it. Also there are some brave attempts being made to develop an approach to apprenticeship like programmes. However these can only be established on the back of funding streams such as HLF Skills for The Future and others. The impact is limited to a few lucky individuals who manage to secure such placements. There is no accepted framework for apprenticeships in heritage skills at present. We lack both a technical certificate and the will to fund the programme. That means that young people cannot enter the sector at large, nor choose a career as a heritage craftsperson at 14 or 16 years old. This, in turn, means that we are creating another skills gap in the heritage craft sector for the future. It would seem reasonable that we engage with the current craft sector to establish some

mainstream training and support programmes nationwide. This would give our craftspeople the opportunity to learn, up skill and gain knowledge of conservation and restoration. Without this intervention, there will be very few opportunities for younger craftspeople to be trained adequately with an employer. Indeed, young people entering the sector have no promise of a qualification, nor a career path, and have small hope of substantial and appropriate instruction from their employer.

Background and message Recently, in an article for The Independent, John Edwards of English Heritage stated that, from a known number of practitioners in the heritage sector currently working on historic properties, his estimation was that only 30% are ‘properly qualified skilled craftspeople’ We should take that as from the horse’s mouth and act accordingly. Excerpt from The independent 25/3/2011. In 2010, and earlier in 2001, Nigel Crowe of British Waterways has been observing the state of the heritage workforce and offering advice on how to remedy the retirement time bomb and the current shortage of skills in the sector. (Context 71 Sept 2001) (Context 117 Nov 2010) One method he suggests is to enhance the training of the some 16,000 volunteers who work on the waterways. This seems eminently sensible, in establishing criteria for the skills of volunteers we could offer some confidence that, under supervision, some of the more basic conservation work can be in safe hands. In order to make this work it follows that supervisors need to be trained and qualified in order to support the volunteers. This is being done through NVQ level 3 conservation supervision qualifications. This work is currently part funded by the ‘Train 2 Gain’ programme, without which this would represent an acute financial burden on British Waterways. However this approach shows how an organisation can rally to generate successful interventions, in order to up skill their workforce and influence the sector more broadly in a positive way. Although a lack of funding for training haunts the sector, we should seek out ways, either independently or as organisations and groups, to develop training interventions which address the fundamental craft areas which we rely on to maintain our built heritage. We need training and education for:

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masonry, brickwork, lime mortars, pointing, rendering, carpentry and roofing. All of these areas are underrepresented in the skilled craft areas of our sector. We cannot blame anyone specifically for the situation, as this is a legacy of poor investment in the education of our young people over the past 30 years. However we can decide to do something about it. Heritage Craft Alliance are launching their heritage craft training centre in Yorkshire this summer. The centre is dedicated to the delivery of craft skills for the heritage sector. Courses will range from up skilling for existing craftspeople, to training and assessment of formal accredited qualifications and will be backed up by partnerships across the country. Access to training and education must be made available, especially if we are to enforce one of the main aims of the memorandum of understanding, which are (1) to encourage all heritage funding agencies from 2010 to insist on appropriately carded contractors and craftspeople to carry out all work on grant aided heritage projects and (2) to promote the need to appoint knowledgeable qualified and experienced sector professionals and contractors/craftspeople for all aspects of pre 1919 building projects. If we are to enforce this, we must offer access to the qualifications and the CSCS card. This can only be achieved by offering accessible, affordable training and education to all those who need it. q

William Morris Craft Fellows 2011

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hree stonemasons and a plasterer have been chosen as SPAB’s 2011 William Morris Craft Fellows. Since 1987 The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings has organised a unique training scheme, The William Morris Craft Fellowship, to foster a new generation of outstanding craftsmen and women with the knowledge and L-R, Kenny McCaffrey, Paul Agar, Emlyn Harris and expertise to pass on the skills that are Thomas Soare. essential when working with historic fabric. The 2011 Fellows, stonemasons, Emlyn Harris, 25, Thomas Soare, 29 and Kenny McCaffrey, 40 have joined plasterer Paul Agar, 22 for a prestigious six-month programme of visits taking them to projects and workshops in all parts of the country. In the months ahead they will learn about traditional building techniques from skilled craftsmen and women who have already established careers in the field. The aim is for the new crop of Fellows to gain broad, hands-on experience and knowledge to enable them to bring a strong awareness of craft diversity to their future professional roles. The Fellowship will also equip them with the skills necessary to lead and manage historic building contracts, while deepening their understanding of the importance of gentle repair. Nationally, heritage bodies are concerned that there are simply not enough people training to continue Britain’s distinctive buildings crafts and each year SPAB’s Fellowship becomes more relevant. Three or four Fellowships are awarded each year depending on available funding with craftsmen and women from any trade employed in the repair of historic buildings entitled to apply. Many former fellows have risen to positions of responsibility where they are able to impart their knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm to other craft workers. The SPAB William Morris Craft Fellowship is helping to raise the standard of building conservation skills and the skills of the craftsmen and women involved. q

Changes in the planning system by HENRY RUSSELL OBE MA(Cantab) DipBldgCons FRICS FSA IHBC Tutor in Building Conservation, The College of Estate Management

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wo current government initiatives will make major changes to the English planning system. They are the Localism Bill, which is currently going through Parliament, and the condensing of all planning guidance into a single document called the National Planning Policy Framework. The Localism Bill is part of a wider government strategy to devolve power to the lowest levels. Changes to the planning system will be the introduction of neighbourhood development plans and orders and community right to build orders. Community forums (in urban areas) and parish councils (in rural areas) will be able to draft their own plans and orders, which will grant planning permission for certain types of development. They will not have a completely free hand because these orders will have to comply with the local development plan and will have to be assessed by an independent examiner against a list of requirements, one of which is the protection of listed buildings and conservation areas. The National Planning Policy Framework will simplify government planning guidance. The government invited four practitioners to prepare a draft, which was published in May 2011. It runs to 55 pages, the heritage chapter of which runs to three pages. This draft needs further work to encapsulate the fundamental parts of the current guidance, Planning Policy Statement 5, and it is proposed that the supplementary planning guide will be revised. q

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New Heritage SAP in roofing launched

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everal years of discussion between CSkills and South Coast Roof Training Limited, who deliver a wide range of training courses specifically for roofing, regarding a new Heritage NVQ has led to the establishment of a new Heritage Skills Specialist Apprenticeship Programme. The pilot course of the Heritage Skills NVQ Level 3 Specialist Apprenticeship Programme (SAP) has just been completed at South Coast Roof Training’s centre at Littlehampton, West Sussex and was the first course of its kind to be run in this country. The Heritage Skills NVQ Level 3 SAP programme is endorsed by English Heritage. There were five experienced candidates who came from various parts of the country including Kent, Hampshire, West Sussex and Devon, along with pilot course tutor Richard Jordan, from Derbyshire, and they all brought knowledge of different materials and techniques, thus learning both from the course and each other. The course covers aspects of clay peg tiling, random diminishing course slating, stone slates (e.g. swept and laced valleys, curved roof details, eyebrows, decorative elements) and the use of lime mortar and torching techniques. The candidates also learn how to record a roof so it can be put back in its original format. Included in the course are field trips to

The tutor and candidates on the Heriatge SAP course the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum in West Sussex, Keymer Tile Factory, Trevillett Slate Quarry in Cornwall, Goldhill Stone Quarry in Gloucestershire as well as local historic towns and buildings. The second Heritage SAP commenced in June and comprises 30 days at the training centre in Littlehampton, followed by some on-site visits before final qualification. A further course will commence towards the end of the year. South Coast Roof Training Ltd wishes to thank the following manufacturers and suppliers for their support with the Heritage Level 3 SAP programme: Keymer Tiles Ltd, John Brash & Co Ltd, Sandtoft Roof Tiles Ltd, Singleton Birch Ltd, Burlington Slates Ltd, Goldhill Quarry, Mike Wye & Associates Ltd and W L West & Sons Ltd.

An eye brow

Curved roof details

Random slating and swept valley CPD programmes are being developed to offer a ‘hands-on’ experience working with roofing materials used on the Heritage course. The company can also offer elements of the Heritage course for roofers wishing to learn and practise new skills. South Coast Roof Training Lead welding Limited are also accredited for: • Level 2 Diploma in Roof Slating and Tiling • NVQ Level 2 and Level 3 in • Roof Slating and Tiling • NVQ Level 3 Heritage Skills Roof Slating and Tiling • NVQ Level 2 Metal Roofer • NVQ Level 2 in Applied Waterproof Membranes • The above programmes are for experienced workers and are carried • out through on-site assessment by experienced assessors. • Lead Sheet Association Basic Welding and Basic Bossing courses The centre is accredited as a Health & Safety Test Centre and also offers a comprehensive range of Health & Safety courses. Solar courses are being put together to cover the installation of collectors/panels in the roof and the company hope to be working with a specialist trainer at the centre shortly. The training centre is also available for company training days enabling manufacturers/suppliers to give their staff a practical ‘hands on’ day using a variety of roofing products laid to roof rigs at the centre. q South Coast Roof Training Ltd wishes to acknowledge the support and generosity of the following manufacturers and suppliers: Marley Eternit Ltd, Cupa Slates, Redland Tiles Ltd, Calder Lead, D. Cover & Sons Ltd, SIG Group, Klober Ltd, Velux Group and Ariel Plastics.

• For further information please call 0845 678 0065, email scrtlimited@tiscali. co.uk or visit www.southcoastrooftraining.co.uk

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Ploughcroft’s awardwinning ways N

ot only has it scooped the National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC) award for Exceptional Contribution to Training in Solar, but Yorkshire based Ploughcroft Training has also opened two new training centres in Manchester and Stoke. Managing director, Chris Hopkins said of the company’s award win: “We are pleased that our hard work and dedication to quality renewable training and installation is being recognised by such a prestigious organisation as the NFRC.” NFRC chief executive, Ray Horwood said of Chris Hopkins “There is one character – and I mean character – that has pushed training in many forms making it varied, open and accessible to all. “He supported all the NFRC solar training courses, he has worked with us and the Green Roof Organisation to develop training in the green roof sector and he has provided strong support in photovoltaic training by providing the rigs and materials to ensure this training has got off the ground. “Additionally, he has supported and helped lead the Yorkshire Roof Training Group as it strives forward. He offers so-called taster days in all the roofing sectors to ensure that there is an acceptable standard of roofing in the domestic market. However, perhaps most important to us is the fact that he is the first to put his hand up to support any initiative from the trade associations.” Ploughcroft marketing manager, Babak Daemi, added: “This award

Left to right: Former GMTV presenter Penny Smith, Chris Hopkins (Managing Director, Ploughcroft), Mike Bialyj (Director of Advisory Services at ConstructionSkills who sponsor the award) and Piet Jacobs (The President of the International Federation for the Roofing Trade) cements our position in the industry as leaders of solar renewable energy training and quality installation. We are working tirelessly to build a reputable brand in the renewable energy industry and believe these awards highlight this.” The aim of these centres is to help Ploughcroft cope with growing demand as well as to expand their reach across the UK. The Stoke centre is operating in association with the BGC Group. Daemi explained: “Working closely with The BCG Group has been fantastic for Ploughcroft Training. The company is professional and has an up-to-date training centre. This, coupled with our high standard of training and ability to draw upon the experience of our national solar roofing service, keeps Ploughcroft Training ahead of the pack.” Ploughcroft is celebrating the opening of the new centres with a 20 per cent discount for all online renewable energy training course bookings. “We intend to open two more renewable energy training centres in the next few months, one of which will be in the south of England, opening us up to an entirely new geographical market,” said Daemi. Hopkins added: “We want to help the renewable energy industry achieve its goals of reaching the 2020 targets. For this to happen we need more skilled installers throughout the UK. All Ploughcroft’s courses provide real life experience and can be used to help installers achieve MCS accreditation.” • For further information call 0800 034 4100 or visit w: www. ploughcrofttraining.co.uk

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Winners announced...

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he roofing industry came together in May to celebrate and recognise outstanding industry achievements. The awards this year saw NFRC collaborate with the Liquid Roofing and Waterproofing Association (LRWA), the Flat Roofing Alliance (FRA), the Roofing Tile Alliance (RTA), the Lead Contractors Association (LCA), The Green Roof Centre and Groundwork Sheffield and the Single Ply Roofing Association (SPRA). The awards recognise and reward outstanding roofing projects in all the major disciplines and this year’s winners were: Industrial Roofing & Cladding Roof Sheeting KGM Roofing for Pudsey Bus Station, Leeds Vertical Cladding Longworth for Garston Health Centre, Liverpool Flat Roofing Reinforced Bituminous Membrane Central Roofing & Building Services working with IKO Plc for Leicester Royal Infirmary Single Ply Advanced Roofing Ltd working with Renolit for Scunthorpe Leisure Academy Liquid Applied Waterproofing Central Roofing & Building Services working with Liquid Plastics for BAE Portsmouth Pitched Roofing Roof Slating Greenough & Sons Roofing Contractors Ltd for Windmill conversion/ restoration Roof Tiling Clarke Roofing Southern Ltd for Sussex Cottage, East Sussex Specialist Roofing Fully Supported Metal O’Brien Roofing & Leadwork Ltd for Chideock Manor Church

Heritage Roofing Karl Terry Roofing Contractors Ltd for Laddingford House, Kent Sustainable Green Roofs Blackdown Greenroofs working with Lakesmere Ltd for West Ham Bus Garage, London Sustainable Roofs Wensley Roofing Ltd working with John Brash for Hamsterley Mill, Tyne & Wear Also presented with an accolade were the highest scoring companies from the Safety in Roofing Awards who were: Slating and Tiling Clarke Roofing Southern Ltd Flat Roofing Gray & Jarrett Ltd

Industrial Roofing and Cladding Border Steelwork Structures Ltd The NFRC Health & Safety Champion 2010 Award went to Kevin Morgan, site supervisor for Longworth, who passes his valuable experience and knowledge on to others as part of his tool box talks. The Exceptional Contribution to Training Award was won by a rather pleased Chris Hopkins of Ploughcroft. Chris pushes training in all forms making it varied, open and accessible to all, and is the first to put his hand up to support any industry initiative. Special congratulations went to Immediate Past President Mike Long who received a Pin of Honour. The honour was given to Mike for his extended level of commitment to the roofing industry, all of it unpaid, in taking the industry forward. q

Challenging project

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ommenting on their award for a new Ffestiniog slate roof as part of the renovation and extension of an 18th century windmill in Anglesey, Tom Greenough of Greenough & Sons said: “A particular challenge was blending the low-pitched convex roof slope through a concave sweep into a higher pitched roof – and with a limited choice of slate sizes. Each slate was hand-tapered on each vertical side and fixed directly to the sarking.” The project featured extensive lead work which included a signature Welsh Dragon motif. q

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Caring for our historic parks and gardens

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ppreciation and knowledge of this country’s historic parks and gardens has in the past lagged behind that of the historic buildings with which they are often associated. However, care for them is just as important as, if left untended, they can deteriorate far more quickly than our ancient buildings themselves. The English are, and always have been, a nation of gardeners. This love of working the soil and sculpting the landscape has resulted in the many diverse historic parks and gardens surviving today. These range from town gardens and public parks to the great country estates. English Heritage manages a number of historic parks and gardens, many of which are open to the public, with gardens being the fourth most popular tourist venues after houses, churches and castles. Trees are a vitally important component in most of the sites with some having been under continous tree cover since the 17th century. Management of these sites considers the trees, shelterbelts and woodlands as an important part of site management planning. Succession planting is established where appropriate to ensure continuity of tree cover for the future. English Heritage aims to maintain the tree resource for the future under sensitive management with regard to amenity and economy, whilst ensuring the conservation of built and buried heritage. q

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Heritage Trees

by Paul Hanson, Chairman of The Scottish Arboricultural Association

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lder, mature, native and exotic trees often have the potential to be described as ‘Veteran’ or ‘Heritage’. Veteran describes those trees of extraordinary age for their species whilst Heritage alludes to some human, cultural connection e.g. folklore, religious or commemorative. In many cases Veteran and Heritage value may well be found in the same tree. Urban, sub-urban and rural development and land management practices have created the invaluable tree reserves we enjoy today and, whilst we should hope to continue to enjoy today’s veteran and heritage trees for many years to come, we must not ignore their basic requirements. Often as a consequence of the conflict with human demands – water, sunlight, oxygen and nutrients are becoming increasingly unavailable to trees. Natural disasters, such as drought, storms and pest plagues also all play a part in the normal lifecycle of trees. However, where these are coupled with human factors – pollution, development pressures, vandalism and ill-advised pruning – what chance is there for a tree reaching a ripe old age? Old, historic man-made structures are very often accompanied, and

indeed complemented, by veteran trees. Indeed, how very different some of our best known country homes and estates would look without them. Caulk Abbey, Windsor Castle and Great Park, Brodick Castle or Chatsworth House would certainly be much poorer visually without their trees and in many cases historic ‘designed’ landscapes have a deliberate, frequently unacknowledged, tree content. The ability of trees to span many generations often leads to complacency in their management and an assumption of permanence due to their longevity. Whilst the need for expertise and financial support in the conservation and maintenance of the fabric of heritage buildings is readily understood, unfortunately similar needs in relation to trees, which are frequently older than adjacent structures, are often overlooked. It is thought that 80% of Europe’s ancient trees reside in the UK, most within 20 miles of a town or village, with many of the oldest being associated with places of worship. Indeed, Europe’s oldest tree (perhaps), the ‘Fortingall Yew‘ in Perthshire, may be in excess of 4,000 years old. How does that equate with the perception of ‘old’ in terms of man-made structures? The sustainable management of this

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Case Study

Covenanter’s Oak Dalzell Estate, North Lanarkshire

invaluable natural resource requires planning to ensure appropriate and adequate legal protection and this must be supported through education and municipal funding. We must encourage cyclical maintenance programs and provision for replacement in order to set in place the foundations for tomorrow’s heritage trees and landscapes. Old trees have never been more ‘popular’ than they are today and we have seen the formation of increasing numbers of well intentioned, local and national ‘old tree’ groups and societies over the last ten years. The number of high quality publications, illustrating wondrous national and international old trees, is nothing short of astounding, given the level of general public interest only ten years ago. Clearly, veteran and heritage trees are on the public green agenda and the ‘feel good’ factor continues to grow. Surprisingly, one anomaly in the growth of old tree appreciation is the absence of a corresponding development amongst our nation’s professional facilities managers. Heritage and historic landscape managers, property and conservation managers, and the organisations in which they work, have been very slow to realise the importance of the veteran and ancient trees in their care and the responsibility they have for them. They have been slower still to embrace the techniques and expertise available, through which such trees can be properly conserved. The practical management options for individual specimen and small groups of trees may differ considerably from those employed in traditional amenity, woodland or commercial forest settings. The growing public awareness and increasing professional involvement in the management of ‘old’ trees has led to significant changes and new developments in the techniques engaged to ensure the continued wellbeing of both the trees themselves and the associated flora and fauna. Having revisited historical management principles and practices, and combined them with the best of modern technology, we are now in a position to deliberately conserve these unique trees and their associated habitats. q

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n August 2008, after heavy rain, a large wound was torn in the main stem as one of three major scaffold limbs collapsed. In addition to this large wound the tree had an open crack from ground level to circa 2m running across the whole diameter of the main stem and predisposing the remaining scaffold limbs to separate above the root collar in adverse weather. In the autumn, Perth based Aboretum Internationale Ltd installed an emergency bracing system to stabilise the remaining stems, until a more permanent solution could be designed. The final compromise consists of a pair of steel cable braces with nylon slings around the scaffold limbs. The bracing system is in turn reinforced by two steel props, each installed to support the pair of scaffold limbs arising from both halves of the split stem. The steel propping is fixed with bolts into concrete pads at ground level. Simply to allow nature to take its course would have resulted in the early demise of the tree removing an important cultural heritage and, perhaps more importantly, an increasingly rare and endangered natural habitat. q

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Crane use aids

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tockport based Myers Tree Care were recently awarded a contract by Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council to fell a monster of a tree in Alexandra Park within the borough. The council had condemned the mature Beech as it had a severe root infection and Myers began by creating a method statement identifying the best felling techniques for removal, with public safety being of paramount importance. The condemned tree was located at the edge of Alexandra Park and was very close to a bordering property and a busy road. After studying the site conditions carefully, and with a tight timeframe to complete the work, it was decided to use a mobile crane to assist in the precise removal of this large tree. If tree surgeons had undertaken this sectional felling operation using the conventional methods for removing a tree of this size the time to carry

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performance and safety out the work would have been at least two days and involved prolonged disruption to the local area and residents. When using a crane much larger sections can be removed and placed on the ground without the need for lowering devices, ropes or the sheer effort to convert, drag and process the arisings. Each section to be lifted can vary in weight from a few pounds to upwards of four tons, depending on the crane’s lifting capabilities and reach. On the day of the work the tree care team arrived and placed the wood chipper and vehicles on one of the park’s pathways. The crane arrived at 8.30 am and when the operator was happy with his position he promptly set his out-riggers and Myers’ tree care operatives secured the work area. By this point the tree surgeon climber had accessed the tree, attached his climbing line and selected his first section to be cut. The climber had radio contact at all times with a dedicated member of the team, who liaised with the crane operator to confirm the weight that could be lifted on each cycle. The last section to be removed weighed just under 4 tons and was within

8” of a listed wall on one side and iron railings on the other. With this in mind a ‘square lift’ was employed as any sideways movement would have destroyed either the wall or railings. All the larger timber sections were placed on the highway for loading on to a crane wagon and then transported to nearby Woodbank Park for conversion into benches at a later date. The remaining timber within the park was then lifted out and placed on the road for collection and removal. All the woodchip arisings were tipped in the council yard within the park for use later in the year. From start to finish the whole job took just 6 hours with just four operatives (plus the crane operator) proving that the use of cranes really does improve safety and performance and slashes the time that it would normally take to complete the same operation using conventional sectional felling methods. q

Environmental responsibility brings major contracts

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wansea based tree care specialists Arborum Ltd use all the latest techniques and equipment to carry out high quality tree work for their clients, large and small. The company specialises in all aspects of domestic and commercial tree surgery operating along the M4 corridor, West Wales, the valley communities and all surrounding areas. They offer a wide range of services to both the public and private sector and have gained a reputation both for the high standard of their work and for taking their environmental responsibilities seriously. As such, they have been rewarded with some prestigious work from local authorities, conservation sites, housing associations, the RSPB, Forestry Commission, NHS, and The National Trust. q

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Tree management in churchyards – new technology aids historic sites

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rees are a traditional feature of churchyards, listed and other historical buildings. They are to be valued for their aesthetic and environmental advantages, providing a good wildlife habitat especially where ornamental or native trees and shrubs have been planted. Our older, well established trees bring meaning and character, enhancing

any property and so it is always advisable to have them regulary inspected. New technology, in the shape of a Resistograph F400, enables companies such as Somerset based Arboricare Ltd to measure the extent of decay within a suspect tree allowing an assessment on its structural integrity to be made. Some more modern uses of churchyards can inadvertently cause damage to established trees. For example, sighting a parking area too close to trees can damage roots near the surface of the ground, as can spillage from a fuel heating tank. Conversely, ill-advised tree planting can give rise to damage from roots spreading below a church tombstone, church yard path or a nearby structure. The Grade I Listed St Margarets Church at Spaxton, Nr Bridgwater, Somerset is an example of where Arboricare have carried out pruning works. By carefully removing specific branches they were able to enhance the views to and from the church and allow visitors to walk around unhindered by low branches. The company also carried out pruning works to a yew tree to enhance its appearance. Yew trees are often found in church yards and are associated with religious sites. Due to their experience and expertise Arboricare are often asked to carry out works around sensitive historic buildings such as churches, manors and estate buildings. q • Please feel free to call and discuss any tree requirements. Contact Colin Inder AA Tech Cert., Tech Arbor A on 01823 462972 or email enquiries@ arboricare.co.uk

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Tours resume at one of England’s finest Jacobean houses

The impressive Apethorpe Hall in Northamptonshire

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alk in the footsteps of kings and queens as English Heritage once again reveals the unique architectural splendour of arguably Britain’s most famous restoration project, Apethorpe Hall in Northamptonshire. After nearly a year under wraps, visitors will get a chance to join one of the tours to see the latest stage in the ongoing restoration of Apethorpe Hall. One of the finest Jacobean houses in the country, Apethorpe Hall is steeped in history and its owners have played host to Queen Elizabeth I, King James I and King Charles I. Apethorpe Hall was begun in the late 15th century and has outstanding architectural features from exquisite plasterwork to rich oak panelling. Situated in Apethorpe near Oundle in a picturesque corner of Northamptonshire, Apethorpe Hall is one of the best surviving examples of a grand country house. Following many years of neglect and decay, Grade I listed Apethorpe Hall had fallen into a state of significant disrepair and was in danger of being lost forever. In 2004, as the protector of England’s unique legacy of historic buildings, English Heritage stepped in and saved it. Since then, English Heritage has completed a major £4 million repair of the key parts of the building. During the guided tours, the public will get the opportunity to view the latest phase of this major restoration project. The plasterwork in the State Apartments, oak panelling in the Long Gallery and ornate fireplaces have all been carefully restored by traditional craftspeople. A large section of the timber framed roof has been painstakingly repaired and re-roofed using thousands of local stone slates. In total around 150,000

man-hours of skilled labour has been used over the last few years on repair and conservation work. Nick Hill, who has project-managed the conservation work at the Hall for English Heritage said: “Apethorpe Hall is a truly fascinating building, and the team at English Heritage have made some significant discoveries about the place since we’ve been responsible for it. Visitors to the Hall will be able to see the secret passageway we uncovered as a result of our restoration work, which links King James’s state apartment to the room that was used by his favourite courtier, the Duke of Buckingham, George Villiers. “This summer is a great time to come and visit Apethorpe because we have a new phase of conservation work underway. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to see the progress made in restoring of one of the country’s most famous historic buildings.” q

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– social insects? They must be one of the most anti-social insects known to man! by Andy Beddoes, ABComplete Pest Control

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he life cycle of the four main stinging species of social wasp found in the UK revolves around the Queen – the only member of the colony that lays eggs. The Queen will winter in a frost free location such as a hollow tree, a loft space or a garden shed and in early spring, when the weather is suitable, she will emerge and try to find a suitable location to begin building a nest for this year’s colony. The Queen chews soft or rotting wood into a pulp and this is taken back to the nest, where it is mixed with saliva and used to make the structure of the of the first 10 to 15 brood cells and the outer casing of the nest. When this

The size of a newly formed wasp nest in comparison to a fifty pence piece

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is complete an egg is laid in each individual cell and, once they have hatched, the Queen will collect insects and sugar based food to feed to the fast growing larvae. After approximately 14 days the larvae seal the entrance to the cell and begin the process of metamorphosis, changing from a maggot type larvae into what we recognise as a wasp. When the first brood have pupated and finally hatched into adults they assume the duties of collecting wood pulp, increasing the size of the nest and feeding the newly hatched larvae. The Queen now remains in the nest with the sole task of laying more eggs. Early on in the life of a wasp nest the majority of the food brought back by the infertile female workers will be insects of high protein content and, as the summer progresses, more high carbohydrate foods such as the sugars from ripe fruit and berries will slowly become the main stay of the diet fed to the larvae. This fermenting carbohydrate diet is the cause of what are often called ‘dopey wasps’ found in houses and gardens in autumn. In the late autumn these high carbohydrates encourage the production of larger cells in the nest to produce virgin Queens and drones which will pupate and hatch just prior to the onset of winter. These new Queens will mate with more than one of the drones and move away to find a suitable frost free site to spend the winter and the whole cycle starts again. Any nests found should be treated as opposed to being left just because ‘they are causing no problems at the moment’ – don’t forget the emerging Queens may start a nest next year in a location where they will be causing problems. One hundred plus new Queens maybe produced from a good sized nest! Wasps carry venom that they use to over power insect prey and to protect themselves and their nest. This venom is contained in a sac that has evolved from a redundant egg laying tube in the infertile female workers and ends in a sting, which is similar to a hypodermic needle, contained in the lower sections of the abdomen of the worker wasps. When a wasp is about to sting it curls its abdomen to expose the stinger, a second curl squeezes the venom down the sting and into the victim via the hole made by the hollow stinger. The sting has no barb, allowing it to be withdrawn and used again, unlike the stinging bee species in the UK. Bees have barbed stings and will die after stinging because the venom sac is pulled from the abdomen when the bee flies away. Each wasp sting reduces the amount of venom delivered, however this is not such a blessing, as when a wasp has delivered


the venom via the stinger it releases an alarm pheromone which all other wasps in the area will respond to causing them to join in the attack on the victim! A wasp sting will sometimes cause severe swelling ending with large yellow blisters appearing and the need for antibiotics and antihistamine tablets from a doctor.

2011 Wood Awards shortlist announced

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A blistered hand – the result of a wasp sting

Control Taking into consideration that there is a strong possibility that you maybe stung numerous times and that just one sting can bring on the effects of anaphylactic shock, which can be life threatening if medical help is not immediately sought, I would strongly recommend that a professional pest control company is contacted to treat any nests you may find. The £50-£60 charge is a small price to pay in comparison to having to carry an adrenaline pen around with you for the rest of your life – or worse death. If you must undertake the control yourself then Bendiocarb powder should be your choice. Many of the ‘amateur use’ products sold for wasp control are based on Permetherin, but this actually excites insects to death and the last thing you need are wasps that are intent on stinging you excited even more by a chemical! A professional pest control company will treat a nest at any time of the day but, if you do go for it yourself, try for late evening just prior to darkness as this way most of the wasps will be in the nest and not flying around you as you approach. Always work down wind of the nest and be sure not to wear any aftershave or have any strong smells on your clothes as these will give away your location to the, by now very agitated, wasps. Areas where wasps are a nuisance but the nest cannot be found can be made less of a problem by hanging wasp pots up wind of the location. Commercial wasp pots are available with a lure based on fermented fruit juice which encourages the wasps into the traps where they become exhausted and drown. If the pots are regularly emptied and refreshed the numbers of worker wasps that die will be greater than the numbers of new adults hatching, thus creating a situation where insufficient food is reaching the nest and causing the colony to collapse. We always use at least four wasp pots in these situations. Badgers will dig out a nest during the night to get at and eat the larvae. Any wasps that are not taken or killed by the badgers will not be particularly happy in the morning and the area should be avoided, unless you are wearing suitable protective clothing, for at least a few days. There are no other predators that cause any serious inroads into a wasp population. Wasps do offer a small amount of insect control including aphids but, all things considered, they are not that beneficial to man. You should consider control of wasp nests at all times – but be very careful if you treat them yourself. q

he Wood Awards judges have selected an exceptional shortlist from a record 348 category entries for this year’s competition. The 30 strong shortlist features unique private houses and stunning small projects, outstanding restorations, splendid public buildings and bespoke furniture ranging from the traditional to the cutting edge, all of which are strong candidates for The Wood Awards’ main categories – Commercial and Public Access, Private & Best Small Project, Structural, Conservation/Restoration and Furniture and the coveted Gold Award. Michael Morrison of Purcell Miller Tritton Architects and Chairman of the Judges said, “The shortlisting has been an exciting and complex process this year. The sheer number of projects entered is fantastic, but what really enthused us this year was that this quantity came with excellent quality. The Wood Awards shortlist really is a short list, and there was a lot of heated argument on the way to agreeing our chosen 30 projects. The number of high quality entries we see increases each year but the 2011 Wood Awards competition has seen a significant step-up in not only the number of entries, but also with an impressive standard across the board.” Over the last nine years, the Wood Awards has established itself as Britain’s premier architecture and furniture competition celebrating excellence in design and craftsmanship using wood. The continuing aim of The Wood Awards is to recognise, encourage and promote outstanding design, craftsmanship and installation in wood; an aim which, with increasing demands and requirements for sustainability and environmental responsibility, is more important than ever. David Venables, European Director of the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) and a long term sponsor of the Wood Awards said: “The Wood Awards plays a crucial role in promoting the quality of British design in the world’s most sustainable building material” The judges will visit the shortlist over the Summer, and the winners will be announced at Timber Expo, a dynamic new event designed held at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry on the 27th and 28th September 2011, which will offer the widest and most comprehensive display of applications for timber within the built environment, and provide a timber showcase for construction and sustainable building design. q • For more information on the 2011 Shortlist and the Wood Awards, visit www.woodawards.com

• For further information visit www.abcomplete.co.uk

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Building Limes Forum 2011 Conference

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he 2011 Building Limes Forum Conference and Gathering will be held from Friday 23 to Sunday 25 September 2011 in and around the industrial heritage of Ironbridge in Shropshire. The theme for the Friday is ‘Breathable’ Buildings and Sustainability and will cover how moisture-permeable buildings operate in practice, legislation and regulations they need to comply with, theory and research. These are now recognised as being the key characteristics which differentiate traditional from ‘modern’, impermeable construction types. Understanding how they behave is critical to the benign upgrading of existing old buildings, but their benefits are now being increasingly recognised for new buildings as well. The conference will look at the practical effects of new legislation and British/European standards, and of recent research in the field. It will conclude with views and a discussion as to how the matter may change our industry in the future, including both practical and business risks and opportunities. Speakers will include Ian Brocklebank of The University of Plymouth, Cliff Blundell, Dr Tim Padfield, Neil May of

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Natural Building Technologies, Dr Robyn Pender of English Heritage, Dr Caroline Rye of The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings and Ian Pritchett of Lime Technology Ltd. Saturday will include case studies on St Pancras Station and the The Iron Bridge. In the afternoon there will be a guided tour of Llanymynech, a massive disused lime works, with much of the infrastructure still visible, including a largely complete Hoffman kiln. On Sunday morning there will be a discussion on subjects raised by delegates including Lime Specifications for Extreme Conditions by Stafford Holmes, and in the afternoon there is the option of a trip to Wroxeter, a Roman site or a tour of Ironbridge, a World Heritage Site. q

The Building Limes Forum (BLF) is a charitable organisation founded in 1992 to promote the development of expertise and understanding in the use of lime in building. The BLF aims to achieve this by: • exchanging, collating and disseminating information through publications, meetings and conferences • encouraging practical research and development through field studies, trials, monitoring and analysis • encouraging development of appropriate industrial and craft skills and techniques • educating building professionals, builders, conservators, craftsmen and women and property owners in the appropriate use of lime in building through demonstrations, publications and courses • developing contacts with institutions and individuals outside the forum and in other countries who have relevant experience or knowledge • Membership of the Building Limes Forum is open to all, for further information visit www. buildinglimesforum.org.uk


Limecrete solutions by LOUISA YALLOP of The Limecrete Company Ltd

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imecrete floors combine traditional wisdom with modern technology. Limecrete breathes with traditional building materials, respecting the original fabric of the building, and is used without a damp proof membrane. The insulation layer prevents moisture ingress while allowing damp to escape and also enables the building to be heated effectively for the comfort and health of the modern users. We recommend the system designed and tested by Ty-Mawr Lime which uses recycled foamed glass as the insulating and anti-capillary layer. This has the added benefit of being a recycled product rather than a quarried material, further improving the ecological credentials of limecrete. Lightweight crushed pumice is used as the aggregate for an even better insulation value, which is especially important in saving energy and money when underfloor heating is installed. We have never experienced a single problem with this system in its utilisation over the past four years. To ensure consistent quality, we batch on site with our specially customised mixer which measures the lime (NHL5), aggregate and water by volume rather than weight. We don't include mild steel re-enforcing due to the concern that it will corrode in a breathable floor. Stainless steel could be an option but an expensive one. At Merton Hall College, Cambridge the main contractors Morgan Ashurst were looking for greater strength, more quickly. Our response was to install a fibre applicator to the mixer. Our test cube results indicate that the glass fibres add Screed rails at St Thomas of Canterbury Church, Goring 30% more strength without

Placing the limecrete slab at St Thomas of Canterbury Church, Goring compromising the breathability and for an extra cost of only a few pounds per cubic meter. The slab can be lightly trafficked within a very short time. The strength of limecrete can also be affected by temperatures during the curing process. To successfully place limecrete in the winter months required another adaptation to our mixer. By heating the water before adding it to the mixture, we can lay warm limecrete, giving it a head start. Limecrete is a flexible material to work with. Many problems turn out to have simple solutions. At High Down House the main contractor, St Blaise, needed a method of feeding electrical and mechanical services under the floor. In collaboration with the architects we designed and cast ductwork into the slab, simplifying the final floor finishes. We have encountered such large areas that we can’t lay the entire floor in one day, such as at Easton Neston where we placed a single 325m2 area for Bennie Historic Conservation. The solution is to cast a stop end dove tail joint. The following day the recess joint provides a key for the next pour, eliminating the need for steel dowel bars thus simplifying the job and reducing cost. When mixing on site, with other trades also working, space can be an issue, as it was at Peper Harow Church. To free up working area around the church, Valley Builders arranged for us to be able to store materials and batch the limecrete and screed in a nearby field, delivering to the placing team using a tele-handler. The contractors and architects involved us at every stage from design to logistics. This sort of close cooperation ensures the job runs smoothly for all concerned. It is such a pleasure and an honour for our crew to work in beautiful, irreplaceable buildings and have a hand in conserving them for future generations. One especially nice perk for us is that when working at special, unique sites, you often meet people who share the same passion and vision for sustainable building and restoration! q

Pouring TradicalÂŽ HemcreteÂŽ at Social Housing Development, Norfolk

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Three important products for building conservation from the Anglia Lime Company BESPOKE READYMIX MORTAR Caring for our built heritage is not a responsibility that Anglia Lime take lightly and preparing a mortar for conservation or new-build is treated with the same attention to detail that a good chef would apply to preparing a dish. A good mortar, just like a good meal, needs the best available ingredients and, fortunately for Anglia Lime, there are generally only two. A mortar consists of binder and aggregate and it is therefore essential to ensure that both components are of the highest standard possible to achieve the best potential mechanical performance. Anglia Lime only blend mortars made with lime putty matured for no less than 6 months or naturally hydraulic lime produced by St. Astier, who have been producing continuously since 1851. The other component is, of course, the aggregate and in East Anglia they are blessed with some of the best sands for use with lime in the country.

A poor quality sand may mean a financial saving, but this is a false economy when measured against the longevity of the work being carried out. All the company’s sands are first tested to ensure that the gradings are suitable for blending with a lime binder, the void ratio is then determined in order to achieve the correct binder ratio. Using the St. Astier range of binders, they are able to offer a large choice of potential mortars that are suitable for any job, from re-pointing historic church masonry to new build extensions. For new-build they are able to provide full technical data backup, including 28 day measurements for compressive and flexural strength as well as moduli of elasticity. They can also provide results for mortar shrinkage, vapour permeability and capillarity. It cannot be overstated how critical the quality of the mortar is to the overall longevity and durability of the project.

HAIRED CHALK PLASTER – THE ONLY SPECIFICATION OVER A TIMBER FRAME OR CEILING It became apparent to Anglia Lime about 14 years ago that the standard specification for a lime plaster – putty & sand usually at 1:3, hair in varying quantities, 2 or 3 coat – was not the mix used in

East Anglia on timber framed buildings and is basically a Georgian and Victorian plaster specification. Tradesmen 200 years ago and beyond knew exactly how to mix sand and lime. They used it to lay the plinth and build the chimney stack, but Haired Chalk being applied 20mm importantly they did not use it thick in one coat to plaster over a timber frame. The samples of medieval plaster that are still commonly found in East Anglia are white in colour and can be rolled up like a carpet. At the time Scottish Lime carried out full analysis of the material. The results were fascinating, it was still a 1:3 mix but the aggregate is crushed chalk, the hair content was exclusively bovine and at ratios up 20 kg per cubic metre. The resulting mix is lightweight and extremely flexible, exactly what is required over a background structure that is prone to potentially large movement. Haired Chalk is therefore the obvious choice for ceilings, especially over timber lath. As a mix it can be applied in one coat up to 20mm thick, it can be polished if required or pargetted/patterned. Once up and set, no amount of flex in the supporting timbers will trouble it.

DISTEMPERS – SOFT AND BOUND This year Anglia Lime are proud to launch a range of traditional internal paints for building conservation. A traditional soft distemper, titanium free and with a touch of size, it is perfect for fine cornicing, moulded plaster and ceilings. The lack of binder in the paint enables the complete removal by sponge and water when re-decorating, thereby avoiding the build up of paint layers and obliteration of fine detail. A bound distemper gives a traditional breathable internal paint, able to cope with medium traffic and very easy to apply.

• All of the above are available in practically any colour, please call 01787 373974 for details.

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FPDC Plasterers’ Awards – call for entries

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he FPDC Plasterers’ Awards, the most revered industry competition, is widely recognised for rewarding the highest standards of skill and excellence in plastering, drylining and associated trades. Winning an award establishes your company as a major player in the sector, however even making the shortlist provides you with a competitive edge. The awards are eagerly anticipated by

FPDC members and non members alike as a chance to showcase their hard work and achievements during the previous 12 months. Entries for the awards have now opened, the deadline for submission is 15th July, so don’t miss your chance to showcase what you have been working on in the last year. Visit www.fpdc.org for more information and to download a booking form. q

Challenging project earns 2010 award for Hayles and Howe

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nternational ornamental plastering company Hayles and Howe were delighted to have won the 2010 Award for Internal Plastering for works carried out at All Saints Church, Manchester. It was presented to MD David Harrison at a celebratory luncheon in the Plaisterers’ Hall in February this year. The Bristol based company were represented at the luncheon by Matt Bourne, Matt Cook, John Fowler, managing director David Harrison, Jenny Harrison, Luke Harvey, Nick Roden and Martyn Watchurst. This was a challenging project in a Grade 1 listed Victorian Church as, while the plasterwork was broadly intact, the wooden structure behind was suffering extensively from dry rot. Plaster sections had to be removed to allow access to the structure and were replaced by the company’s talented site team. The company would like to thank everyone who made the project such a success. q

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St Asaph Cathedral gets the Rosehill makeover C

heshire based Rosehill Furniture Group jumped at the chance to furnish St Asaph Cathedral in Denbighshire, North Wales. Saint Asaph Cathedral is the Mother Church of the Diocese of St Asaph, one of the six dioceses of the Church in Wales. It has been an important ecclesiastical centre for centuries and provides a vital link with Welsh literature and culture – the cathedral is home to the William Morgan Bible and houses the North Wales International Music Festival each year. The present building was begun in the thirteenth century and is reputed to be the smallest ancient cathedral in Great Britain. It has been destroyed by fire twice and has a fascinating and often violent history. Prior to installing the furniture, Rosehill staff visited the cathedral with sample chairs and helped to decide on quantity, layout and the style of chair that would best suit their needs. 230 Churchill Deluxe stacking chairs were eventually chosen and Rosehill were delighted with the final outcome as were the cathedral staff who commented “The chairs look superb, the colour is warm and inviting and we love the curved effect. They he Historic Chapels Trust (HCT) was are comfortable as well as attractive plus the established in 1993 to take into versatility and sturdiness is appreciated.” ownership redundant chapels and Christopher Bennett, a disabled member other places of worship in England which of the congregation, was also impressed are of outstanding architectural importance saying, “I like the new chairs in the and historic interest. The object is to secure cathedral because they can be moved, and their preservation, repair and maintenance I don’t have to sit in the gangway in my for public benefit, including contents, burial wheelchair.” grounds and ancillary buildings. Buildings of Rosehill have indeed received a number all denominations and faiths can be taken of comments from members of other into care with the exception of Anglican churches after they visited St Asaph and feel churches, which are eligible for vesting in the its a great advertisement for their chairs. Churches Conservation Trust of the Church of For those who cannot make it to St Asaph, England. HCT’s remit embraces: Rosehill’s showroom in Wilmslow, Cheshire is open to anyone who would like to visit, • Nonconformist chapels and their staff would be more than pleased • Roman Catholic churches to see you. If you would like to visit, please • Synagogues give them a call on 0161 485 1717. q • Buildings of other faiths

Reviving redundant chapels

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• For more information on Rosehill visit www.rosehill.co.uk

HCT buildings are outstanding, graded I or II* on the statutory lists. HCT is also helping to foster greater understanding of its buildings through research, the production of publications and publicity about its activities.

How does HCT work? Once HCT has acquired a building an architect is appointed to survey its condition and supervise any necessary repairs and

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upgrading. Chapels are open to visitors and available for a range of suitable events. HCT encourages the continuance of services of worship on an occasional basis. Alternative uses may also be agreed where appropriate as long as these do not involve unsympathetic alterations. HCT establishes local events committees for each chapel and actively seeks suitable community uses for its buildings, provided the purposes are compatible with the chapel’s former religious character. The Historic Chapels Trust obtains roughly 1/3 of its funding from English Heritage (including 70% annual support towards office overheads and chapel maintenance); 1/3 from the Heritage Lottery Fund and 1/3 from grant-giving trusts, Subscribing Friends, donations, the Landfill Tax Scheme and other sources. Over £8½ million has been raised by HCT for its objectives but they urgently need more Friends and sponsors. q • For further information contact Dr Jennifer M Freeman t: 020 7481 0533, e: chapels@ hct.org.uk, or visit www.hct.org.uk and see some of their wonderful chapels.


TLX helps expose Grade II virtues T

LX Gold has helped maintain the original design of a now Grade II listed building, which started life in Isambard Brunel’s drawing office and is set to become residential and commercial space later this year. More than 500 sq metres of TLX Gold, the all-in-one multi-foil and breather membrane manufactured by Web Dynamics, has been specified for the project. The renovation will see Wombwell Homes, specialists in the conservation and renovation of Brownfield sites, transform the railway workshops and locomotive sheds in Lostwithiel, Cornwall, into an NHS dental practice and office suites with one and two bedroom flats above. The product, which has recently achieved ETA (European Technical Approval), has been installed on the external side of the roof under slates to allow all the timbers in the roof to be exposed in the bedrooms. The use of TLX Gold, supplied by Encon of Plymouth, has ensured that there is no alteration to the existing roof line – a restriction on the conversion of the listed building. At just 33mm thick, TLX Gold is sympathetic to the nature of a project and enables renovation work to be completed with minimal disruption. Many alternatives on the market require modifications to the inside or outside profile of the roof which isn’t always an option. TLX Gold also controls water vapour and air movement and will allow a building to ‘breathe’ – delivering a comfortable and energy efficient environment. The product, which is available in a 1.2m width and 10m length, has been designed to reflect heat back into a building to conserve maximum energy and has proved popular for traditionally hard to insulate buildings. Craig Thomson, Construction Manager at Wombwell Homes said: “We needed to improve the thermal performance of the buildings which originally opened in 1859, but also needed a product that was appropriate to the needs of our installation. Raising the roofline wasn’t a consideration due to the tight building and conservation regulations we needed to meet for a listed building. “I had read about the use of TLX Gold in a similar project at the Crossness Pumping Station in London and it seemed to fit our requirements as the project faced very similar restrictions. We carried out the installation in January once the original roof covering had been stripped away. It was really easy to install and reduced the amount of insulation thickness we needed to achieve the required U-values.”

TLX Gold has been recognised for its unique design and suitability for projects across the building sector. Now specified for use in many listed buildings and private house refurbishment projects, the product is also suitable for use within the social housing and public building sectors and is recognised and accepted by local authorities, builders and specifiers. Manufactured in the UK the TLX range of multi-foil insulation has achieved LABC Registered System status, is fast and simple to install and Web Dynamics’ technical team will provide advice on which insulation construction to use. The company is happy to provide U-value and condensation risk calculations and answer queries concerning specification or installation of any of the TLX range. q • For further information visit www.webdynamics.co.uk or call 01204 674730.

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Asbestos in Buildings R

ecently the Health and Safety Executive launched their ‘Hidden Killer’ campaign to highlight the danger of exposure to asbestos fibre, particularly to maintenance and other tradesmen when working in buildings. This high profile campaign graphically indicated that around 20 tradesmen per week die as a result of exposure to asbestos and that tradesmen are still being exposed to these risks, even today, mainly due to the fact that they are unaware of the presence of asbestos in their workplace.

At around 4,000 deaths per year, asbestos is still the country’s biggest industrial killer. Any building constructed or refurbished between 1890 and 1999 could contain asbestos in one or more of its many forms and uses. From the 1930’s asbestos was hailed as the ‘wonder building material’ and in terms of its use, reached its height in the UK in the mid 1970’s. Asbestos was used for many applications including fire protection, thermal insulation, anti-condensation and acoustic coatings, wall boarding, boxing, panelling and roofing to name but a few. In churches it has been used as pipe and boiler insulation, boxing and casings to organ blowers, permanent shuttering over pipe trenches, behind radiators, under radiator shelves, in rain water goods and as sprayed coatings to the underside of roofs. The Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR) 2006 places an explicit duty on those responsible for buildings (The Dutyholder) to manage the risk from asbestos in their property, not only for their own employees and visitors but anyone who may come into contact with it including, of course, any tradesmen who may be working in it. A major requirement of CAR 2006, and subsequently any asbestos management plan, is to inform anyone who may come into contact with it, of the presence of asbestos containing materials within the property and to give those people adequate training in how to recognise asbestos containing materials and manage the risk of exposure. The starting point of any management plan is to find out if the building contains asbestos materials by an asbestos survey. A survey will provide an asbestos register, record its location, extent and type and assess the risk of exposure on the long term health of anyone who may come into contact with it. This will generally mean that, as a minimum, a ‘management’ asbestos survey will be required in order to comply with the regulations and if any work is planned within the premises a more in-depth ‘refurbishment/demolition’ survey may be necessary. To avoid confusion, these survey types are fully detailed in HSE Guidance HSG 264 which describes the scope and content of the survey types, how they should be

undertaken and the competency requirements of UKAS Accreditation for those undertaking them. Training is the next important criteria, as unless the survey information is imparted to those likely to be exposed it has very little value. Similarly, tradesmen need to be aware of any asbestos materials they may encounter to prevent unintentional disturbance leading to exposure, not only to themselves but to anyone else in the vicinity. Companies you choose to undertake asbestos surveys should be accredited by UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) to ISO/IEC 17020 to undertake inspections and to ISO/IEC 17025 to undertake bulk sample identification and testing. This accreditation ensures that you will get the best possible survey in accordance with HSG 264. Training requirements are also regulated and described in Regulation 12 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006. Asbestos training organisations are accredited by UKATA the United Kingdom Asbestos Training Association. q • For more information on asbestos management, surveys or training contact Tersus Consultancy Limited on 0121 244 1828, via their website www.tersusgroup.co.uk or by e-mail to info@tersusgroup.co.uk

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New life for historic hall

T

he first step to repair and restore one of Bolton’s architectural gems has begun. Specialist historic building developer Linford: Developing Heritage has ambitious plans to turn Little Bolton Town Hall, a Grade II listed Georgian building on St George’s Street, into a high quality restaurant. The developers are proposing to carry out extensive restoration and protection work to the historic hall and workers have moved in to peel away modern additions that have been made over the years to help reveal the building’s original structure, and uncover any hidden secrets.

Once this first phase is complete, Manchester-based architects Buttress Fuller Alsop Williams will be able to finalise their designs for the scheme. The restoration project is a boost to the council-led revitalisation of the Little Bolton area which aims to enhance the distinctive architectural, historic and cultural character of the district. Bolton Council’s Executive Member for Development and Regeneration, Councillor Ismail Ibrahim, said: “This is a tremendously exciting development and one which, when it comes to fruition, will have a massive impact on that part of the town.” q

How green is your museum?

G

reener Museums’ Sustainability Leadership Programme, which last year helped 23 participating institutions to save £250,000 and thousands of tons of carbon, is to run again this year, it has been announced. Last year’s programme began by conducting the largest assessment of museum carbon footprints ever undertaken in the UK. As a result, electricity consumption was singled out as the main source of carbon amongst museums, contributing over 60% of their emissions and costing the participants a combined total of £1.9 million per year. Through a mixture of live and online workshops, the programme helps delegates to take on sustainability challenges by measuring their institutions’ impact on the environment and working to reduce that impact through new technology, awareness-building and education. Commenting on last year’s programme, in which he participated, Ron McGregor of the Manchester Museum said: “Involvement in the Greener Museums Programme gives your organization a detailed and comprehensive toolkit for assessing your current environmental impact and developing a practical strategy to cut carbon use and reduce costs.” Rachel Madan, Executive Director of Greener Museums, said “This is a fantastic opportunity for museums both to save money and become more sustainable. I encourage all institutions to participate.” The programme will be accepting applications until 15 August 2011. q

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ACCESS EQUIPMENT

ARCHIVE STORAGE BOXES

ANTIQUE FURNITURE RESTORATION

ASBESTOS

ARCHAEOLOGY

AUDIO VISUAL

BELLS

ARCHITECTURAL METALWORK

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BESPOKE JOINERY

BRICK REPAIR TOOLS

BUILDING CONSERVATION SERVICES

BUILDING SERVICES

CANDLES

BIRD PROOFING

CHURCH HEATING

CLERICAL CLOTHING

BLACKSMITHS

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CLOCKS

DISABLED ACCESS CONSERVATION

DRAINAGE

CONSERVATION BUILDERS

ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING

EXHUMATION SERVICES

CONSERVATION ENGINEERS FENCING

DAMP PROOFING FURNITURE

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GLAZING

GUILD OF MASTERCRAFTSMEN

JAPANESE KNOTWEED

LANDSCAPING

LEADWORK

LIGHTNING PROTECTION

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LOOP SYSTEMS

MORTAR SUPPLIES

LIME

MOSAICS

ORGANS

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PLASTERERS

ORGAN PIPES

PAINT REMOVAL

RESTORATION

PERIOD PROPERTY CONSERVATION

PEST CONTROL

ROOFING

PHOTOGRAPHY

PHOTO PLAQUES

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SOUND SYSTEMS

STAINED GLASS

SASH WINDOWS

STONE

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STOVES

TESTING AND CONSULTANCY

TRAINING

TREE SURGERY & CONSULTANCY

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WEB DESIGN

WORSHIP

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Far from grey at Astley! H

istory really does loom large amid the ruins of Astley Castle in deepest Warwickshire but there’s currently a new chapter being written for a Landmark Trust building that dates back over 800 years. Once home to Lady Jane Grey, the nine day Queen who was executed by Queen Mary I in 1554, Astley Castle is currently undergoing an extensive £1.3 million refurbishment phase under the auspices of architects Witherford Watson Mann together with York and Manchester based building and restoration contractors William Anelay Ltd. This is phase two of the project which initially saw the structure consolidated and stabilised. Work started on the current phase of works in September 2010. Completion is set for September 2011 with the building available for holidays from early 2012.  Leased by the Landmark Trust from the Arbury Estate, Astley Castle is on the UK’s Buildings at Risk Register but will soon start a new lease of life as a holiday home with the Landmark Trust. The moated castle, with many of its remains dating back to the 12th Century and signs of occupation dating back to Saxon times, is known as being ‘owned by three Queens of England’. In the mid 15th Century it was home to Elizabeth Woodville who went on to marry

The brickwork bond at Astley

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David Marsh, project manager at Astley Castle Edward IV and bore him the ill-fated young Princes who ended their lives controversially in the Tower of London. Her daughter, also called Elizabeth (of York), went on to become the wife of Henry VII and mother of Henry VIII. Restoration projects are rarely as demanding as this one with inch, indeed millimetre, perfection very much the name of the game and a combination of new build skills and conservation expertise contributing to the creation of what is expected to be a truly stunning holiday venue. The house will accommodate up to eight people and will comply with all DDA regulations including a lift, another first for such a Landmark Trust property. From the 1930’s until the late 70’s the castle served as a hotel as well as a home for convalescing servicemen during World War Two. A fire in 1978 gutted the building and it has remained forlorn and out of use ever since. William Anelay project manager, David Marsh is well aware of the history and the complexity of giving this intriguing place a new lease of life: “I’ve worked on many historic and incredible projects with William Anelay but this really is the most challenging and interesting one yet. “There are so many different facets to this project that make it unique. The whole of the new build will be enclosed within the existing ruins. In order for the new walls to meet the ruins at the correct roof level, all of the setting out has been established from the top rather than from ground level. “There’s also the brickwork bond, or pattern, devised by the architect specifically for this project which has never been used before and involves 30,000 40mm bricks imported from Denmark,” added David. David went on “Everything is so exact with this job and being just a millimetre out could

affect everything. The architect’s plans are extremely detailed to the extent that every single brick is shown on the drawings. “At every point where new ground was broken we had to call in the archaeologists. This is because the below ground site and the curtain walls are registered as a scheduled ancient monument.    “From a structural point of view over 270 Cintec anchors are being inserted into the existing remains to make safe the aspects and help to stabilise the building,” added David. Alastair Dick-Cleland of the Landmark Trust commented: “This project really stands out even when compared to the many other complex restorations that the Landmark Trust has undertaken over the last 45 years. Whereas we would normally do a traditional restoration, here we are inserting modern accommodation within the ruined walls. This is a first for the Landmark Trust and is a practical solution to saving what was a very ruinous structure. Without this intervention, Astley Castle would surely have been lost forever. “The completed building will provide a truly amazing experience for any visitor and one that we are very excited about,” he added. The haunting image of Lady Jane Grey, rumoured to peer out of one of the castle’s Tudor style windows, could well feature a smile as she sees her former residence develop, once again, into a home fit for a Queen! q • Established in 1747, William Anelay Ltd is one of the UK’s oldest construction companies and currently operates out of bases in York and Manchester with over 100 employees. For further information, please contact Sharon McCutcheon on Tel: 01904 420009, Email: info@williamanelay.co.uk or visit www. williamanelay.co.uk


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Ecclesiastical and Heritage World