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Important restoration work continues at historic cemetery buildings

4:29 pm, Tuesday, 9th January 2024 - 2 months ago

General

ALMOST 15 years since the project was first considered, restoration work on historic buildings at the entrance to Scartho’s 135-year-old cemetery is well under way.

The site comprises a large set of cast iron gates, two chapels, a gatekeeper’s lodge, a waiting room, and an additional storage building, which was added to the site in the 1950s.

A major piece of work, organising and planning changes to the buildings has required very careful consideration, particularly given the skills and workmanship needed for the intricacies of the restoration.  Specialist contractors have been brought in for the duration, from reputable national firm UK Restoration Services, who continue to pour their knowledge and experience into the project.

There was also a need for suitable materials to be used, which would be sympathetic to the period and compatible with the original build.

Gavin Duffy, senior architectural technologist with North East Lincolnshire Council’s partner Equans, said: “We are approximately 95% of the way through this phase of work, which has been predominantly focussed on the restoration of the structure and fabric of the buildings.

“The chapels and former Victorian waiting rooms, which were last used in the 1990s, have seen a significant schedule of works, including roofing works, stone masonry, re-pointing, restoration of stained-glass windows, plastering and joinery, the restoration of the original tiled floors, windows and doors.”

Previous work on the buildings was undertaken around the latter part of the 20th Century, and attitudes towards historic buildings have since changed.  The emphasis is now on saving structures of the past for future generations, which means great attention to detail and materials appropriate for the time.  Subsequently, all building work has benefited from environmentally friendly materials, such as sheep wool for the insulation, and hemp for the plaster.

Gavin continued: “This phase of work has seen an emphasis on making the buildings watertight, dealing with external fabric issues, ensuring rainwater is functional, and checking for any other deterioration in the buildings.

“Externally, all works on the lodge have been completed, included roofing, the replacement of windows, and brickwork has been repointed.  Rainwater goods have been replaced using traditional cast iron and timber work has been restored to the original state.  We have also replaced timber finials.

“All internal works have been completed, including a new oak staircase, all the walls and ceilings have been plastered, there is a new cornice on the ceiling, new timber work, dado rails, picture rails, the original internal doors have been reinstated, and the original cast iron fireplaces re-instated.

“Two of the original windows, the only two remaining, acted as a template for the rest of the windows.  We put these back into the restored lodge, including their glazing panels, and were also able to use the glazing panels to match the new windows.”

As work continued into 2024, the earlier part of the New Year will see final touches to the glazing of the feature window in the lobby, and the reinstatement of the original main entrance doors, which have been to UK Restoration Service’s joinery workshop for complete refurbishment due to historic fire damage.

Before the team moves onto the next phase of work at the site, areas treated with traditional lime and plaster methods will require a number of months to dry out and acclimatise.

Cllr Stewart Swinburn, portfolio holder for Environment and Transport at North East Lincolnshire Council, finished: “These are really important buildings and they will be a key asset for the local community going forward.

“They have a fascinating history, with waiting rooms for mourners attending the funerals, the lodge, where burials were registered, and the metal bar for tethering the horses from the funeral cortege.  This remains to the side of the beautiful chapel buildings.

“The restoration team is doing a fantastic job, and we look forward to following progress as it continues into 2024.”

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