Conserving, protecting and safeguarding

S. Pauls nov15

Our new LED lights illuminating the path to S. Paul’s

November has come and gone in what feels like the blink of an eye! There was a holiday in the midst of this and having also enrolled on a Historic Building Conservation course, this may have also added to the momentum of this month!

A summary of this month’s activity includes a committed approach at safeguarding the fabric of the building and setting a baseline for monitoring works ahead.

The work that has taken place includes a full architectural survey (July 2015) by the appointed church architect HMDW. The report included full details of the interior and exterior of the church building, while highlighting the key priority areas of concern and safeguarding measures to action including: clock tower & spire; bell frame; interior plasterwork and painting. The work has been funded by Tideway as part of the mitigation plan.

Conservation usually means different things to different people and there are many approaches that one can take when conserving buildings. Whether that be restoring a like for like version of the original building, or to alter and make changes based on a case by case approach. Essentially conservation is the management of change.

I will discuss some of these measures that have been taken so far and those that are in review.

Building vibration monitoring –Black box devices will be installed by Goodhand Acoustics for a period of three months to measure and monitor any building movements in order to minimize building vibrations. The device will be installed with alerts for any movement that should exceed the threshold limit.

Plasterwork and painting – Laser scanning has already taken place and which is now common practice in historic buildings. This will establish a detailed dimensional picture, which would be useful if anything arises, as a re-scan could pick up any new deflections in the ceiling. These images will be sent to Hirst Conservators who will then carry out a manual close-up survey with platform over a period of two days, to assess the plasterwork and cracks. This will establish if there is any de-bonding of the plaster from the substrate (something the laser wouldn’t be able to indicate) In the event that this survey highlights the need for further investigation or conservation then this will need to be reviewed.

Structural SurveysMorton Partnership, who carried out a similar survey in 2006, will be required to carry out a number of structural surveys on the church clock tower and spire and bell frame. In the 2006 survey they noted cracking of spire, corrosion of internal metal cramps and erosion/deterioration of the timber bell frame structure. We are hoping that these surveys will be carried out early in the new year.

From current conservation measures, we will soon begin to consider how to move forward with the benchmarking that has been carried out. In the New Year, our aim will be to consult with the parish and community, in order to make an informed decision on the approach we will take and the vision for the new design and development.

Other non-conservation related updates on the project include:

‘Making the case for S. Paul’s Deptford’ – Tideway Presentation

On the 18th November I gave a lunchtime talk entitled Making the case for S. Paul’s Deptford, to team members from Tideway at Dawson House, London. This was a good opportunity to outline the important project at S. Paul’s and set this within the context of the Tideway works. A follow up from this will be to present to another department, with the aim to inform as many people from the team who are connected with or working on the Deptford Church Street site.

Welcoming our new Archival Assistant volunteer!

Aleksandra Kubica has recently started volunteering at S. Paul’s. She is currently a doctoral student at the Department of Culture, Media and Creative Industries at King’s College London, and her project is on cultural memory and mobile museums. She has a background in community projects, research and completed an Archival Fellowship program run by the Centre for Jewish History and Colombia University in New York. We are very happy to welcome her to S. Paul’s and to assist us with our project.



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