HOLDING back the ravages of the North East weather to preserve one of the region’s best-loved buildings proved a challenge for Team Force Restoration which it rose to superbly.
Lindisfarne Priory is at the mercy of an extremely harsh environment with winds off the North Sea relentlessly whipping salty air at the stone. The cycle of freezing and thawing in winter also has a devastating effect.
In addition, pointing work carried out in the 1920s to protect the structure has actually accelerated the rate of decay by holding moisture in the stonework whereas traditional lime-based mortars allow the stones to ‘breathe’.
The project was the second phase of a larger piece of work to increase the lifespan of the priory through consolidation and repair, preserving the monument for future generations to enjoy.
It entailed removing the 1920s pointing, consolidating the fabric using traditional lime mortars to enhance the stonework’s ability to breathe and shed water.
Unusually, a power tool was used to remove the old pointing because the material was so hard. This had to be done with extra special care so as not to damage the surrounding stone work and was an extremely delicate operation.
To ensure that all its operatives and trainees were up to speed with the techniques required in repairing such a historically sensitive building, Team Force held a one-day masterclass with the help of the client and the Heritage Skills Initiative.
Fine judgement was required in deciding when to replace eroded stone units, bearing in mind that the first rule of conservation is ‘as little intervention as possible’.
The replacement stone needs to be subtle and sympathetic to the structure of the building, so correct tooling is essential. This again requires fine judgement and craftsmanship of a high order.
Repairs to stones and joints, and protecting the lime mortar binding completed a project that will help to preserve the priory for years to come.
SPONSOR: National Construction Academy
WINNER: Lindisfarne Priory
CONTRACTOR: Team Force Restoration
CLIENT: English Heritage