Woodford Memorial Hall - Building Maintenance And Fabric
Building work on Woodford Memorial Hall commenced in 1902. Mr J Kingwell-Cole was the architect and the second cousin of John Reynolds Roberts.
It still retains original features that were installed at that time.
Original Gas Lamps
Original Fire Buckets
Original Fire Hose
Restoration of The Memorial Hall Fleche
The spire atop the hall was suffering from the ravages of time and a project to restore it to its former glory was undertaken
This time line shows the project to restore the spire or fleche on top of the memorial hall to its former glory
The next pictures, from the W.L.F.
Wastell archive shows the hall and fleche around 1906, soon after it was completed.
The Memorial Hall in 1906
The original fleche
One hundred years on
Time had taken its toll and renovation work was clearly required. The trustees hired a cherry picker and commissioned a full survey.
The cherry picker arrives
Moving into position
It was clear much of the exterior woodwork was either rotten or missing and the lead work covering was in need of urgent attention
Wood work missing
Lead work damaged
The weather vane was badly rusted and leaning a bit. It seemed sound for the moment but clearly wasn’t going to last too long before it became dangerous. It had also lost its north point.
North point missing
Weather vane leaning badly
Restorative metal work required
Restorative work required
The good news was the structure inside had been well designed and remained sound, though it was clear it would not be long before the decay reached that as well.
Sound support structure
Could soon be affected by decay
Following nine months of fund raising, work started on the restoration in mid July 2006 with the erection of scaffolding.
Scaffolding surrounds the fleche
The Trustees were lucky to have Ian Noble among their number, an architect with extensive experience of period restoration work, who acted as honorary architect for the project. Main contractor was local man Nick Conner, born in a house within sight of the fleche.
Wood work restoration by local joinery
Most of the exposed external woodwork was removed and replaced to a very high standard in Douglas fir, using the original pattern. It was fabricated and installed by The Joinery Workshop, Station Passage, off George Lane, South Woodford.
The new wood work
The woodwork was primed and painted with three coats of high spec paint, in a colour we believe to be close to the original.
Primed and painted
As good as new
The lead cladding was replaced by Syd Webster, a specialist lead worker.
New lead cladding
New lead cladding
With some difficulty, a skilled metalworking firm, Black Forge Art, was located to clean and preserve what could be saved of the original weathervane, and to replace the rest.
Restored weather vane
Admiring the work
The weather vane was fixed on Thursday 14th October 2006, essentially completing the work. The scaffolding was due to be struck the following week. That night, vandals climbed up the scaffolding and stole the pointer from the weather vane; it was never found. The (uninsurable) loss was around £750.
Pointer is stolen
It was important to replace the pointer as exactly as possible. From photos and from measuring the original arrowhead, too corroded to reuse but which Black Forge Art had luckily kept, a new pennant and pointer was created.
Plans for new pennant and pointer
The new pennant and pointer
The work was done, and the finished fleche revealed in all its glory on Monday 13th November 2006.