Works on the Grade II* listed Manchester landmark, London Road Fire Station, continue to make progress.
Allied London Development Management and its project team are progressing with essential repair works to sympathetically restore and re-invigorate the structure’s impressive architecture.
Repair works are now complete to the first roof level temple located on the London Road wing of the building, and to the hose drying tower located on top of the Fairfield Street wing of the building. In the last period, four bespoke curved metal balustrades to the hose drying tower viewing deck were carefully refurbished by metalwork restoration contractor, Calibre Metalworks.
Repair work specifications, schedules, drawings and supporting statements have been developed and submitted to Manchester City Council which detail the full extent of works to be carried out by each specialist work trade package. Additionally, a series of high-quality sample repair works have been reviewed on-site and agreed with Manchester City Council, the project team, and the relevant contractors to benchmark quality standards.
Cleaning works to the building’s façade have been successfully completed to all currently accessible areas. The original surface glaze to the terracotta blocks has been heavily engrained with pollutants over the years, but chemical cleaning methods were considered too aggressive, with a risk of leaving harmful residues, and therefore were rejected. Instead, a programme of hot water low pressure cleaning has been implemented via a specialist building cleaning subcontractor, which has successfully removed surface dirt without causing harm to the surface glaze of the façade terracotta.
Works to the London Road section of the building have advanced over the last period, with essential fabric repair works on schedule for completion in March. Replacement terracotta units are being manufactured off-site by specialists, Darwen Terracotta. The complex and phased manufacturing process ensures that the units are created with the utmost care to enable the building to be restored as sympathetically and authentically as possible.
Managed by North West contractors, Swindells Roofing, the roof covering works for the London Road main roof section are essentially complete, and work will now focus on the mansard roof area. Roof leadwork pieces continue to be crafted within the on-site lead workshop established within the original building workshop, located off the courtyard.
Restoration works to the existing windows are progressing as planned. Sash windows to the London Road and Whitworth Street elevations have been refitted where possible prior to the removal of scaffold ties that are temporarily attached through the external elevations to avoid damage being caused by fixing directly to the terracotta façade. Wherever existing glazing panes are missing, damaged, or have previously been replaced with non-original obscure glass, these are being carefully replaced with heritage glass. Original window ironmongery items have been sensitively cleaned on-site and are being fitted back to the respective windows as part of the window refurbishment works.
Works are generally being sequenced in an anti-clockwise fashion around the building starting from the London Road section and are currently moving on to sections of Whitworth Street.
The professional design team for phase two of the works are developing the detailed design of the refurbishment scheme. This follows the submission of a revised planning application in December 2019.
Details of all work being carried out can be found at www.londonroadfirestation.com and progress will be documented on the London Road social channels (@LondonRoadMCR).
4 December 2019:
The historic Grade II* listed Manchester London Road Fire Station building is currently undergoing extensive detailed sympathetic and sensitive restoration works. For the first time, details of the works have been released.
Managed by Allied London Development Management (Allied London DM) the London Road website will now be reactivated to record the stage by stage restoration.
London Road – the landmark’s project name – was first acquired in 2015 by Allied London Fire Station OPCO Ltd, a company led by Michael Ingall. It was awarded planning consent in 2017 for a mixture of uses including hotel, workspace and hospitality. The current works are part of a staged process to bring this important building back to life.
Allied London DM has appointed several North West based specialist trade contractors. Repair works are now in full flow on site following the finalisation of a long and very detailed collation of historical data and detailed survey information and approval for a sequenced repair strategy.
Sympathetic cleaning of the buildings iconic façade is now almost complete – including to the Hose Drying Tower – via the use of a sensitive façade cleaning system to prevent harm being caused to the surface glaze of the terracotta.
Chimney stack repairs to the London Road section roof are also complete, and bespoke replacement terracotta units continue to be manufactured off site by leading industry experts, Darwen Terracotta.
Existing rainwater goods are currently being disassembled from the external elevations to facilitate the necessary repair and replacement works. Calibre Metalworks have formed bespoke patterns to cast replica rainwater pipe brackets, complete with original matching fleur-de-lis details.
In recent months, windows and external doors repair and replacement works have advanced ahead of schedule, with multiple teams of joiners based on site daily.
Roof covering works on the London Road main and mansard roof sections comprise installing new timber battens and a breather membrane, then re-slating with existing roof slates where possible, mixed with replacement reclaimed slates only where tiles are broken or missing.
Specialist timber and masonry repairs and treatment works are being undertaken internally to eradicate areas of rot and decay to the building.
Allied London DM has engaged Quadriga Contracts Ltd as Construction Manager for the essential fabric repair works phase. Quadriga is a specialist heritage contractor with over 27 years’ experience in historic building repair and restoration.
Simon O’ Reilly, Quadriga Project Manager commented: “Quadriga is delighted to be working with Allied London DM once again, taking on the role of Construction Manager for the phase 1 works to Manchester’s iconic London Road Fire Station. Quadriga has appointed local specialist contractors to complete the essential fabric repair works to the building. These specialist contractors employ craftsmen with years of experience on heritage projects and listed buildings.”
Allied London DM Managing Director, Grant Jarvie, commented: “The restoration of London Road Fire Station is an important milestone in the conservation of Manchester’s history. We are pleased with the progress so far and are working hard to get this project right. We are working alongside Watts Group and Stephen Levrant Heritage Architecture to monitor the progress of the repair works. The next phase of works will involve the construction and re-adaption elements, and we are already in early discussions with suitably qualified and experienced construction partners to work with us to commence the conversion works in 2020.”
Allied London DM’s ability to restore the building came from several months of detailed analysis and survey work, recording every defect and necessary repair. This was agreed with the heritage authorities; hence the building being surrounded by scaffold for so long.
Allied London secured planning and listed building consent for the building in 2017.