Culture Recovery Fund unlocks maintenance

£1.2 million reigniting vital repair work, previously on hold due to Coronavirus

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Landmark is delighted that a raft of vital conservation and repair projects have restarted thanks to a grant from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). Landmark has been awarded £1,228,000 from the Major Works Programme, a key strand of the Heritage Stimulus Fund administered by Historic England and part of the government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund. The funding is designed to secure the future of Britain’s museums, galleries, theatres, independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues with emergency grants and loans. 

Landmark’s nationwide repair and maintenance programme was frozen in March 2020 due to the first national lockdown, with uncertainty about when contracts could be agreed and specialist builders and craftspeople could work onsite. On top of that, the three-month spring closure of Landmarks for holiday bookings dealt a devastating blow to Landmark’s finances and directly impacted Landmark’s maintenance budget, which is funded by holiday bookings. But the transformative grant means that a group of critical projects – each detailed below - will be completed by the end of March 2021.

From Northumberland to Cornwall, specialists are repairing the fabric of Landmark buildings and landscapes, ensuring properties are safe for public access and weathertight. The work is generating employment for contractors and craftspeople across England, thereby fuelling the recovery of the heritage sector and contributing to local economies. Moreover, several sites are hosting students and apprentices, providing vital training opportunities at a time of uncertainty. 

‘Our charity suffered a major financial blow due to the closure of Landmark properties, meaning our plans to carry out crucial repair and conservation work came to an abrupt halt. This funding will have a tremendous impact on our ability to care for precious heritage and generate employment for skilled craftspeople.’

Dr Anna Keay OBE, Landmark’s director - October 2020

Traditional lime at Brinkburn Mill

In March 2020 Andrew Wiles of Wiles Maguire Architects, a conservation-accredited architect in Yorkshire, was working on the consolidation of historic ruins beside Brinkburn Mill but had to stop suddenly with lockdown.

Now thanks to the grant, Alnwick-based Brendon Teasdale of Teasdale Masonry has carried out the specialist work, which involved the use of hot lime mortars. Students from New Durham Collage visited for several training days, covering a range of topics including the difference between Hydraulic and Non-Hydraulic binders, the lime cycle, plus the mixing and preparation of Hot Limes, gauged and non-gauged mortars. During the visits, students were also able to undertake practical hands-on pointing work.


Masonry repair at Woodspring Priory

The Devon-based Orchard Stonemasons have completed a series of masonry repairs at Woodspring, our former Augustinian priory near Weston-super-Mare. With the site a Scheduled Ancient Monument, local archaeologist Vince Russett has been closely working with Landmark’s surveyor for Wales and West Midlands Richard Burton throughout.

Stretches of once-deteriorating cloister and boundary wall have been rebuilt, with new coursing carefully matched to existing. In addition areas of the tower’s balustrade have been repointed, with several bronze cramps reinstated into the stone coping – vital to ensuring the structure remains weatherproof.

Local business working on Lundy

The grant is supporting vital repairs to several of Lundy’s precious buildings. At the Old Light, conservation craftspeople Charlie Smith and Rachel Thompson, from the aptly named Old Light Building Conservation, are continuing repairs to the cantilevered staircase within the tower and replacing all the lower sections of the rusted spindles that have long been damaging the granite steps. Mike and Ben from family-run business Somerset Forge will also be heavily involved with welding in and shaping the new spindle sections.

Rachel and Charlie will also be repointing the weathered gable of the former Lighthouse Keeper's accommodation block with lime mortar and undertaking repointing works around Millcombe House, all to help keep damp from the Atlantic gales at bay.

These vital works were put on hold at the beginning of March 2020, but will now allow safer access to the lighthouse for Lundy visitors and keep the weather out for guests in the popular accommodation.

Rachel and Charlie said, ‘Thank you Culture Recovery Fund! We are so happy that this much-needed work is able to continue. Not only for the sake of this magnificent building but also for the help it will give our fledgeling business to stay afloat, following the devastating impact that the pandemic has had upon the heritage organisations who employ us.'

Local firm resumes work at UNESCO site

At North Street in Cromford, a team from H.A. Briddon of Matlock have restarted a lengthy project to repair the stonework and chimney stacks on the front elevation with lime and new stone, plus replace lead flashings, refurbish original rainwater goods and remove ageing doors and windows. We are using the original draughtsman's drawings of the joinery to recreate the doors and windows using the same timber, techniques and skill of the original craftsmen to reproduce the street scene as it would have been in 1776.

The complex and ongoing project is being led by Shrewsbury-based Peter Napier of Napier and Co, together with Landmark’s Stuart Leavy, regional surveyor for the North West of England. Pictured is mason Ian Williams, and we’re delighted that Briddons also have a carpentry and joinery apprentice plus a masonry apprentice onsite too. 

Continuation of reroofing at Cavendish Hall

Prior to Coronavirus hitting, we had been working on a significant slate re-roofing project at Cavendish Hall, but in spring 2020 the second phase of the project had to be put on hold.

Thanks to the grant, the team have now picked up tools once again, with local conservation architect Philip Orchard and Ipswich-based roofing contractors 3A Roofing Ltd working to ensure the precious Regency building remains protected from the wind and rain.


Schedule Ancient Monument repair at Crownhill Fort

Le Page Architects, based in Plymouth, have resumed work to repair fabric of the Royal Artillery Store at Crownhill Fort. Prior to Coronavirus, Phase 1 of the works had created a structurally sound watertight shell. Now Phase 2 is reinstating surface water drainage, renewing the floor, removing unsympathetic paint from the internal historic walls and inspecting the steel beams supporting the roof. 

The grant is also enabling Crownhill Fort manager Ed Donohue to fix water ingress at the gatehouse and kick-start a project with Orchard Stonemasons to repoint walls at the entrance, all allowing safe access to the Victorian fort to continue. 

Halting rainwater damage at Methwold

Kings Lynn based D&E Builders will soon be installing new cast-iron gutters and downpipes at Methwold Old Vicarage, reinstating ironwork pictured in newly discovered photographs from the 1970s. The work will prevent internal water ingress damage at the delightful, Grade-I listed vicarage. 

Essential reroofing at Sackville House

Family-run Clarke Roofing, established in 1949 in Eastbourne, have finally started a major project to reroof the 16th-century, timber-framed Sackville House on East Grinstead’s high street. Scaffolding has been in place since autumn 2019 and work was ready to start in March 2020, so we are particularly delighted that - thanks to the grant - this project is underway once more.

Clarke’s are stripping off the existing Horsham stone and plain tile roofs, which were rapidly decaying due to age and weathering, and examining the roof timbers and overall framework of the building. They’ll be undertaking conservation carpentry repair work to the rafters and reroofing using a mix of original Horsham stone, a sandstone particular to the south-east of England and a finite resource, and Keymer red clay tiles.

The complex project is being guided by architect Nicola Westbury, structural engineer Justin McAteer of Hockley and Dawson, Huw Lloyd of Environmental Buildings Solutions Ltd and Landmark’s surveyor for the south/south-east Olivia Mayell.

Delabole slate reroofing

At Lower Porthmeor near Zennor, a transformative project has begun to structurally stabilise, repair and reroof the three linked barns in Delabole slate. We have removed failing cement sheet roofing and are undertaking masonry repairs, installing new timber rafters and purlins in the traditional style, plus reroofing with a traditional Cornish scantle slate covering, wet-laid using lime mortar and local Delabole slates.

Given the complexity of the work and coastal location, a team of local specialists are involved including Looe-based quantity surveyor Tim Deakin from Peegleys, structural engineer Kathy Gee from James Lockyer Associates in Liskeard and Landmark’s surveyor for the south-west Mark Cox. Principle contractor Paul Carter, of Paul Carter Construction and Renovation Services Ltd, has expert knowledge of the distinct West Penwith vernacular architecture and is himself based in Zennor. 

Pictured are Paul (left) and Cathy (right) deep in conversation.

Repointing the Martello Tower

The Martello Tower is the northernmost, largest and only quatrefoil of a string of defensive towers built along England’s east coast in case of invasion by Napoleon. Situated on Aldeburgh’s pebbled beach, the structure faces increasingly extreme weather.

Thanks to the grant, the award-winning, family-run for three generations F.A Valiant & Son Ltd are undertaking localised repointing to the brickwork moat walls and renewing about half of the coping in lime. Given the beach location, particularly complex scaffolding is required. Conservation architect Philip Orchard is overseeing, which will ensure the tower remains weathertight for Landmarkers.



Brickwork repair at Warden Abbey

In March 2020 our tender process was halted suddenly at Warden Abbey, the last surviving fragment of a once-great Cistercian abbey and where we were planning key repairs to the historic brickwork.

Now thanks to the grant Mathias Restoration, specialists in brick and flint work and family-run for several generations, will soon be undertaking the extensive repairs. The team will be replacing somewhere in the region of 300-500 of the worst-worn bricks, undertaking work to the unique barley twist chimney, and completing substantial repointing across all four elevations. Conservation architect Philip Orchard, together with Landmark’s surveyor for the East of England Stephen Donelan, are overseeing this delicate work.

Pictured left are Philip (right) and Lynn Mathias of Mathias Restoration (left) inspecting the chimney. 

Stabilising the curtain wall at Stogursey Castle

Orchard Stonemasons will soon start work on the Grade II*-listed curtain wall at Stogursey Castle in Somerset.

This project – which was due to take place in 2020 - is the latest phase in our long-term stabilisation work to the extremely friable local lias stone, traditional preventative maintenance to slow down the decay process.


Repairing precious fabric at Shute Gatehouse

In spring 2020, work was about to start on much-needed external masonry repairs at Shute Gatehouse in Devon.

Local firm Orchard Stonemasons, based nearby and led by Mike Orchard, have now started work to repoint stretches of the main structure, turret rooms and connecting walls in traditional lime mortar. This preventative maintenance work will ensure the structure remains weather tight.

Roofing work at Calverley Old Hall

At Grade I-listed Calverley Old Hall in West Yorkshire, family-run Bridgett Conservation from Doncaster have been replacing leaking rainwater goods and repairing some of the roofs. Both pieces of work were overdue repairs, vital to ensure no weather-related damage occurs to the structure.