North Office Winter 2018

Fresh into the new year H+R combined a survey of Duff House in Aberdeenshire for Historic Environment Scotland with an inspection of Category ‘A’ listed Ramsay Gardens, a collection of villas adjacent to Edinburgh Castle on their return leg.  Heavy snowfall had caused major disruption as wintry conditions swept across the region and for a moment the surveyors anticipated spending the night stuck on Beattock Summit, Rothound and all.  Fortunately, the hard work of the gritters meant that waking up next to Yan’s doggie breath didn’t become a reality!

The recent scaffolding of Elisabeth Mill in Stockport has seen the return of H+R to commence their detailed investigations of the façade masonry.  Although not listed, the former spinning mill is an important part of the Houldsworth Conservation Area and is to be converted into 152 apartments.  The derelict mill had become notorious for anti-social behaviour with the police called out approximately 120 times within just two months in the summer of 2014

Last year Bradford Cathedral was awarded a grant by The Heritage Lottery Fund to repair and restore 12 First World War memorial bells housed within its 16th Century bell tower.  As scaffold access was necessary Knox McConnell Architects appointed H+R to survey the timber roof, floors and bell frame structures whilst the opportunity was available.  The grant also intends to improve accessibility of the bell tower and train volunteer bell ringers to increase the frequency with which the bells are currently rung

Laing O-Rourke required the services of H+R to advise on the conservation of Hans Tisdall’s, ‘The Alchemist’s Elements’, 1967 mosaic mural panels as demolition of the University of Manchester’s former School of Chemistry building makes way for the campus redevelopment to accommodate a pioneering Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre.  Conservation of the murals poses a number of challenges, not least the fact that the ceramic tesserae forming the mosaics are mounted in bitumen emulsion on cement boards containing asbestos fibres

Continuing a longstanding relationship with National Trust, H+R’s northern team visited, Holy Island to investigate chronic problems with damp plaster in one of the Trust’s buildings.  The investigation revealed the problem was caused by salts rather than by water penetration.  We visited Souter Lighthouse on the North Sea coast near Sunderland and helped at Beningborough Hall.  But perhaps the wildest winter trip south of Scotland was to Bransdale deep in the spectacularly beautiful North York Moors National Park