All repairs to the cupola, roof and external walls of the Town Hall have now been completed. As a Grade 1 listed building, the process of undertaking even the smallest repair is considerable. Work has had to be referred to English Heritage for approval, both of the process and final finish. Listed building permission has been sought for every detail, from removal of internal panelling to check the condition of the external walls, to installation of bell sounders for the fire alarm system. This rigorous process ensures not only the quality of the work undertaken but that it is appropriate to the history and heritage of the building.
What’s been done?
The cupola has been repaired and repainted, slates have been replaced and there has been a considerable amount of lead work, both on the clock tower and the roof. Repairs have been made to the flag pole, clock face and weather vane, which has also been re-gilded.
At roof level, the impact of the later addition of the clock tower, which has caused so many structural problems to the building, is clear. The northern roof truss has clearly sagged under the weight of the tower. Although no longer a cause for alarm as the roof has been strengthened, the building did require a specially constructed scaffolding solution, to avoid additional pressure being placed on the main roof.
On the roof, slates have been replaced and new vents for the air conditioning system installed, to support the upgraded heating within the building. Old roof lights have been re-glazed and the new toilets on the first floor will benefit from natural light through sun tubes.
Around the parapet of the building, a complete fall arrest system has been installed, to allow future roof level maintenance without the need for scaffolding.
Brickwork has been repointed using a lime mortar which was laboratory matched to the mortar originally used on the building. This means that although initially brighter, it will weather down to be an exact match. Fortunately the majority of the brickwork was in a good state of repair. Repointing has also stopped water penetration on the stone ledges of the building. All windows in the building have been repaired and repainted.