Queen’s House and Bell Tower
Skilful restoration work on two of the most significant buildings at the Tower of London has been recognised with a RICS (London) award nomination in the ‘Building Conservation’ category.
Queen’s House and Bell Tower required extensive repairs to the roofs and stone works as well as a careful cleaning of surfaces and some interior consolidation. Sally Strachey Historic Conservation worked on all the stone and brick elements on the project. Contracts Manager Jake Motley said:
“The project required a range of work from our team of highly skilled conservators and masons. The structure required re-roofing to prevent water ingress which had resulted in ongoing decay and instability to the historic stonework. There was an element of structural repair, cleaning and lime based conservation repair incorporating extensive repointing
“The work ranged from stone masonry, facing coping stones to carrying out stone indents where stones had failed, been eroded or damaged. There was also repointing, making the building weather tight and protecting the fragile surfaces.’
“There was some preserving of the Reigate stone that is a historical stone you can no longer get. The stone was actually in quite a bad condition so we did something called HCT treatment which is a consolidant that has shown some encouraging results so far in treating Reigate stone. Internally, a programme of repairs was carried out to the historic plaster with new areas of lime plaster applied where required.
The Queen’s House is a half-timbered structure that was built during the reign of King Henry VIII. Compared to the rest of the Tower of London it stands out for its different style. Immediately adjoining Queen’s House is the Bell Tower. Built in the late 12th century, the Bell Tower takes its name from the small wooden turret situated on top of the tower which contains a bell. The bell was previously used to inform prisoners they needed to return to their quarters but is now used to warn visitors the Tower is about to close.
Given the high profile nature of the overall Tower of London site, the project was a prestigious one that required a great deal of time and attention. In total it ran for just over a year with multiple sub-contractors working at any one time. Jake continued:
“The site was quite challenging because it is open to the public. Obviously there was a lot of security so the logistics of getting things in and out was difficult. Also, because we were not the only team working on the project there had to be an element of coordination and communication to make sure everything ran smoothly.
“The client was very happy and we are actually back there at the moment working on a smaller tower. They were very pleased with the high quality level of the workmanship. It’s always nice to be recognised for the work you do and the project as a whole was a very good experience.”
Reflecting on the RICS nomination, Sally Strachey Historic Business Generation Manager, Lucy Durnan added:
“The RICS nomination is very pleasing. The fact that the work we’ve undertaken has been recognised is good for the team who worked on the project as well as the company as a whole.”
With over 35 years of experience, Sally Strachey Historic Conservation are award-winning, ICON-accredited specialists in the conservation of historic buildings, archaeology, monuments and sculpture.