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 gas lamps

Original Fire Buckets

ORIGINAL FIRE BUCKETS

Original Fire Hose

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
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The Restoration Project of the Memorial Hall's fleche Begins in 2006

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

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The original fleche

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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

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Moving into position

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Inspection of the fleche and assessment of the deterioration begins

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

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Lead work damaged

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Rotten wood

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Rotten wood

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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

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Weather vane leaning badly

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Restorative metal work required

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Restorative work required

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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

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Could soon be affected by decay

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Following nine months of fund raising, work  started on the restoration in mid July 2006 with the erection of scaffolding.

Scaffolding erected

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Scaffolding surrounds the fleche

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Project Management

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.

Looking good!

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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

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fleche-restoration-timelineThe 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

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As good as new

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The lead cladding was replaced by Syd Webster, a specialist lead worker.

New lead cladding

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New lead cladding

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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

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Admiring the work

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POSTSCRIPT

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

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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

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The new pennant and pointer

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The work was done, and the finished fleche revealed in all its glory on Monday 13th November 2006.

View of the new fleche from street level

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A closer view

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Fully restored weather vane

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That's all folks!

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The finished fleche and restored weather vane completed Monday 13th November 2006