St Gregory’s Internal Renovation

Friday 15thJune 2018

This week Paul Ruffles (Lighting Design & Technology) who has designed the new lighting system for the Church met with the Electrical Contractor to review the installation and plan the way forward. This important phase of the project will commence shortly and the stripping out of the old cabling has now started.

The plaster repairs are ongoing with Thomas and Jake working their way around the Church – the majority of works to the North and South walls is now complete. Another specialist will start work on the masonry next week.

All the polystyrene and fibre boards from the Nave and Transepts have now been removed which has allowed the scissor bracing to be de-nailed. Work has begun in the Sacristy and the link corridor with the cupboards, shelving, sinks and work platforms removed.

Work will continue throughout next week on the rubbing back of ceiling boards and samples have been forwarded to a paint analyst who will this weekend endeavour to stain-match the timber boards and rafters.

We are currently on schedule with work to date.

Friday 25th May 18

Last Sunday saw Masses resume in St Gregory’s Church and despite the inordinate amount of scaffold (approximately 100 tons in total), hoarding, protective coverings and temporary lighting “all was normal”! – We are grateful for your patience.

Our Architect, Izaak Hudson visited this week and had a good look at the timber where the polystyrene on the aisle ceilings has been removed. The removal process has left quite a bit of residue which will have to be sanded-off and re-decorated (see photos). This is now subject to analysis of the existing paint/varnish to check for lead. In order that we have as close as possible a match to the existing paintwork he has recommended we get some microscopic analysis of the existing paint and have some colour matches produced.

Approximately 70% of the ceiling boards on the upper Nave have now been removed.

Pen Hill is expected to complete the scaffold construction by close of work today (Friday). It is 4 weeks since the first delivery of equipment and we are grateful for their efforts and timely completion. They will return next Tuesday to remove any surplus equipment.

Next week will see the continuation of the high level board activity and the commencement of the removal of defective plaster from the walls. In addition, Paul Ruffles (lighting designer/technician) will conduct a survey in preparation of the forthcoming electrical works. Paul has been involved in the re-lighting of many religious buildings. These have ranged from small parish churches to large central churches – he also carried out the survey and scoping study for the re-lighting of York Minister. To conclude, a more sophisticated temporary lighting system will be installed with smoke alarms fitted to the scaffold.

Friday 18th May 18

Another industrious and progressive week at St Gregory’s church!

Pen Hill have now constructed Lifts 4, 5 and 6 of scaffold and now only have 1 more level to go. Overhead boarding has been secured to the beams in the central nave and on lifts. This coupled with the hoarding on the aisles has eliminated the natural light. In view of this we have installed festoon lighting; this will provide adequate light in the short term. Limited seating has been positioned in the nave with additional pews installed at the west end (albeit not facing the altar).

A general precaution for those attending Mass on Sunday - you will be entering an environment which, throughout the past 4 weeks (and going forward), is a construction site. You are therefore requested to exercise caution when entering and leaving the Church. In the event that you need to evacuate in an emergency, please leave via the signed exits (South Porch, through the corridor to the Sacristy; if worshipping at the rear of the church, through the West Door).

Friday 11th May 18

The construction phase of scaffolding continues with further deliveries of supplies arriving last Wednesday. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd lifts of scaffold have now been erected (there will be a total of 7 lifts in all). This covers the area from the West Porch to the Sanctuary which measures 100ft x 26ft. 146 overhead beams are now located in the central nave with over 3000 fittings (see picture) used. We are hopeful lifts 4 and 5 will be completed next week.

The polystyrene has been removed from the timber roof boards, which appear to be in good condition.

Nicolson & Co (pipe organ builders) have been commissioned to secure and protect the organ; they will visit on Monday the 14th May to undertake this task. Our wonderful organ is a valuable asset of St Gregory’s which will be carefully protected throughout the renovation.

Ply hoarding has been secured to the scaffold which has effectively closed both the North and South aisles to the public – the Nave will, as originally intended, be open for Sunday Services.

Thomas Czech, a senior plasterer for Ellis & Co, will commence repair work to the aisles towards the end of the week. Thomas is heritage skilled, uses historic techniques to repair on a like-for-like basis and has experience of work in Grade I and II buildings.

Friday 4th May 18

The initial delivery of scaffold was delivered to St Gregory’s on Monday and Tuesday. The scaffolding contractor responsible for the construction is Pen Mill from Yeovil in Somerset and this work has now started in earnest.

The weight of the scaffold tubes will be in the region of 72 tons (25 ton delivered to date). In addition to the tubing, it is anticipated that the scaffold furniture will include approximately 1500 boards, 200 sleepers and 20 long steel girders. The workforce will comprise of 4/5 men per day and it is hoped that the construction will be completed within 4 weeks.

Pen Mill have experience in conservation work and have recently worked in the Cathedrals of Wells, Truro and Salisbury as well as numerous churches across the South West.
The protection phase continues will the majority of memorials, statues and canopies now boxed with 18 mm ply sheeting. The windows have been protected with 10 mm clear Perspex. Construction of the low level platforms will have been completed by Monday 7th May; this will enable work to start on the removal of the polystyrene and glue-residue which currently covers the aisle ceiling boards. These boards will eventually be rubbed-down, sanded and re-varnished.

26 April 2018

We are delighted to advise that work commenced on the internal renovation of the Church on Wednesday 18th April by our preferred contractor Ellis & Co. This Company has been restoring and conserving historic buildings and structures across the South West of England and Wales for over a third of a century. They are a large and highly respected family business located in the market town of Shepton Mallet, Somerset. In addition to working on ecclesiastical and public heritage buildings they have their own large workshops for the conservation of crafted building materials.

They only work on graded listed buildings so have significant experience of working historic renovations, repair and restorations – winning the RICS2017 and National Federation of Builders national awards for conservations building last year.

Recent principle contractor work includes repairs to cathedrals in Gloucester, Wells, Worcester, Exeter, Bristol, Chichester and Truro.

You will see in the photographs below that work is well underway on the “protection phase” of the project. The pews have been relocated and the floor covered. The many significant carved memorials, statues and canopies in the church are being boxed-in prior to the scaffold being erected. The sleeper bearers are being positioned to spread the weight of the scaffold which will commence on Monday 30th April. This phase will take for 4 – 6 weeks to complete. Finally, we remain confident that services will revert to the church on Saturday 19th May.