Nave Roof and High Level Restoration 2006-7

One of the features that earned our Church its Grade 1 listing is the unusual construction of the nave roof. It is made of large panels of Welsh slate forming a double skin set on a cast iron frame. This almost unique type of construction has attracted the attention of the architectural community for many years. But, as interesting as it has been, it has signally failed to do what it was meant to, namely keep the rain out.

The second feature (from which the church takes its nick-name) is the extensive use of cast iron, both structural and decorative, in its design. A particular problem at high level was the fact that rainwater falling on the nave roof was drained via the iron castings that formed the top of the arches supporting the roof. The result of all this was a thoroughly damp interior that did nothing to preserve the structure of the Church building. The effect of continual exposure to moisture of cast iron is, of course, corrosion; and the high level (clerestory) windows were found to be suffering badly.

A restoration project costing a little under half a million pounds, most of which was provided by English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund, was begun in 2006 and took six months to complete. The nave was totally shrouded by a scaffolding construction that was itself almost worthy of a Grade 1 listing. This gave all-weather access to the roof, and there was an equally impressive installation inside the building to provide access to the clerestory windows.

All the clerestory windows were sand-blasted to remove the rust, and six of the lancets, which were beyond repair, were re-cast. Then all were completely re-glazed. The outer skin of roof slates was removed, and a watertight roof was installed in the void between the two skins; then the outer layer of slates was replaced. New gutters and external downpipes were added keeping rain water away from the structural cast iron. 

  

See some pictures in our Gallery - Roof Project 2007