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Restoration

The last 30 years or so has seen the establishment of the Building Conservation profession, the purpose of which is to preserve and maintain the unique fabric of our architectural heritage and protect it as far as possible from the processes of further decay. The idea of restoring buildings in the manner of the Victorians was challenged in the late 19th century by William Morris and the S.P.A.B. and the principles of conservation they pioneered are now the accepted norm. But stone is still subject to decay and there must come a time when the external envelope of the building has to be renewed in some degree if the structural integrity of the whole is to be preserved. It is at this point that the traditional crafts of the mason and carver are called upon. Apart from the practical skills of carving, restoration work demands an understanding of style and period. In many cases carved detailing can be accurately recreated by carefully interpreting what remains of the original work, or by using less decayed detailing as a guide. There are many occasions however, where all has been lost and the carver must design afresh in a sensitive and sympathetic manner. If we wish to conserve our historic buildings we must also conserve and promote the traditional skills that were used to create them in the first place.

The Beasts of Bloomsbury

In 1871 the four lions and unicorns that originally clung to the base of the highly distinctive stepped spire at St. George’s had to be removed due to their dangerous dereliction. As part of the recent renovation these magnificent beasts were replaced.

Temple Bar Heraldic Sculpture

Temple Bar is an ornamental gateway that originally marked the border between the City of London and Westminster. It was designed by Christopher Wren and built between 1669-72.

Sir John Soane’s Museum, Pasticcio

Sir John Soane’s Museum is a little known gem of architectural history situated in what was once the home of the eponymous architect in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London.

Queen Mother Memorial, The Mall, London

At her death in 2002, the Queen Mother was pre-deceased by her husband George VI by 50 years. The decision was made to create a memorial to her by remodelling and enlarging the pre-existing monument to George VI.

Friar Park, Henley

This small but intricate project determined the course of my career as a stone carver. After training and a few intermittent and small jobs I was ready to start a new career by securing a place on a teacher training course.

Senate House and Old Schools, Cambridge University

The Senate House is the ceremonial centre of the University of Cambridge, where new graduates receive their degrees. Designed by James Gibbs in 1722 it is conceived as a classical temple of the Corinthian order.

Atlantic House, Holborn Viaduct, London

The building of Holborn Viaduct around 1900 was a major London project of the time. The cast iron and granite structure spanned the course of the Fleet River, now entirely underground.

St. Pancras Station – London

The restoration of St. Pancras Station and its incorporation into the new Eurostar Rail Terminal was perhaps the major London infrastructure project of recent times. The iconic brick and stone terminus and Midland Hotel building, designed by George Gilbert Scott in 1866 came perilously close to demolition in the 1970s.

Winchester College – Angel Gabriel

Winchester College was built by William Wykham, the most powerful churchman of the late 15th century. His foundation of the college established a pattern of collegiate planning that influenced the shape of institutional and aristocratic building for centuries.

Ely Cathedral

Ely Cathedral is one of England’s greatest medieval building. Its fabric exhibits the major stylistic changes of the period up to the mid 14th century, starting with the spectacular facade and nave of the Norman period.

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