Culture Recovery Fund unlocks maintenance
£1.2 million of nationwide work employs 130 craftspeople
In autumn 2020 we were delighted to receive £1.2million from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund to reignite our maintenance programme.
Thanks to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the Culture Recovery Fund was designed to secure the future of Britain’s museums, galleries, theatres, independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues with emergency grants and loans. Awarded via the Major Works Programme, a key strand of the Heritage Stimulus Fund administered by Historic England, our transformative grant unlocked vital projects previously put on hold because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
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 spring closure of Landmarks for holiday bookings dealt a devastating blow to our finances and directly impacted Landmark’s maintenance budget, which is funded by holiday bookings. But our Culture Recovery Fund grant meant that a group of 15 critical projects at 17 Landmarks across England could go ahead.
We're delighted that the projects have directly provided employment and training for more than 130 craftspeople, including many multi-generation family run businesses local to our buildings. Masons, carpenters, architects, engineers and many more skilled specialists have been involved, fuelling the recovery of the heritage sector and contributing to local economies on a national scale. Several sites have hosted students and apprentices, providing vital 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
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 picked up tools once again. Local conservation architect Philip Orchard and Ipswich-based roofing contractors 3A Roofing Ltd have now completed the milestone project, ensuring the precious Regency building remains protected from the wind and rain.
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, award-winning, family-run for three generations F.A Valiant & Son Ltd have undertaken localised repointing to the brickwork moat walls. Valiant have also renewed about half of the coping in lime. Conservation architect Philip Orchard oversaw the project which, given the beach location, required a particularly complex scaffold. The work will ensure the tower remains weathertight for new generations of 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, have completed the extensive repairs. The team have replaced somewhere in the region of 400 of the worst-worn bricks, plus undertaken work to the unique barley twist chimney and completed substantial repointing across all four elevations.
Conservation architect Philip Orchard, together with Landmark’s surveyor for the East of England Stephen Donelan, oversaw the delicate work. Pictured are Philip (right) and Lynn Mathias of Mathias Restoration (left) inspecting the chimney, prior to its repair.
Schedule Ancient Monument repair at Crownhill Fort
Thanks to the grant, Crownhill Fort manager Ed Donohue has been able to fix water ingress at Crownhill Fort's gatehouse, plus complete a project with Orchard Stonemasons to repoint walls at the entrance, all allowing safe access to the Victorian fort to continue.
In addition, Le Page Architects, based in Plymouth, resumed work to repair fabric of the Royal Artillery Store. Prior to Coronavirus, Phase 1 of these works had created a structurally sound watertight shell. Thanks to the grant, Phase 2 has reinstated surface water drainage, renewed the floor, removed unsympathetic paint from the internal historic walls and we've inspected the steel beams supporting the roof.
Delabole slate reroofing
At Lower Porthmeor near Zennor, a transformative project to structurally stabilise, repair and reroof the three linked barns in Delabole slate is nearing completion. We have removed failing cement sheet roofing and undertaken masonry repairs, installing new timber rafters and purlins in the traditional style. We're 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 highly local specialists are involved including Looe-based quantity surveyor Tim Deakin from Peegleys, structural engineer Kathy Gee from James Lockyer Associates in Liskeard, archaeologist Eric Berry from Redruth, Truro-based Cornwall Environmental Consultants 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 Treen. Paul's team include Tony Farmer, Mark Drew and Dale Jackson, all local.
Pictured are Paul (left) and Kathy (right) deep in conversation.
Stabilising the curtain wall at Stogursey Castle
Orchard Stonemasons have completed 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.
Local businesses on Lundy
The grant supported 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, have completed repairs to the cantilevered staircase within the tower, including 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 were heavily involved with welding in and shaping the new spindle sections.
Rachel and Charlie have also repointed the weathered gable of the former Lighthouse Keeper's accommodation block with lime mortar and undertaken repointing works around Millcombe House, all to help keep damp from the Atlantic gales at bay.
These vital works 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.'
Masonry repair at Woodspring Priory
The Devon-based Orchard Stonemasons have completed a series of masonry repairs at Woodspring Priory, 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.
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.
Local firm at UNESCO site
At North Street in Cromford, a team from H.A. Briddon of Matlock are completing 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 have used 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 project has been 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 lead mason Ian Williams, and we’re delighted that Briddons have had carpentry and joinery plus masonry apprentices onsite too.
Halting rainwater damage at Methwold
Kings Lynn based D&E Builders have installed 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, are underway with 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 has resumed once more.
Clarke’s have stripped off the existing Horsham stone and plain tile roofs, which were rapidly decaying due to age and weathering, and have examined 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.
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 completed 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.