Restoration work at Eshton Hall in North Yorkshire, which was carried out throughout last year, has been shortlisted for the RICS Awards 2018 for the Yorkshire and Humber region, in the Building Conservation Category.
The Grade II * Llisted Eshton Hall has existed in its grounds on the outskirts of Gargrave in Craven for hundreds of years – possibly as far back as the 1200s. The main hall was burnt to the ground in late 1500s, with a new main building and impressive tower being built in the early 1600s.
As it stands today, Eshton Hall was rebuilt in 1825-6, on the footprint of the old hall, from designs by the architect George Webster. It served as a stately home for many years and as a school during World War Two, going on to become an independent school in 1949.
From 1966 until its closure in 2002 it was a nursing home. It was bought by a development company around 2003; planning permission was granted and a conversion carried out to form 13 apartments and five cottages. In autumn 2016, Aura Conservation were appointed as principal contractors by the Eshton Hall Management Company to undertake a large restoration and conservation project. The project architects and contract administrators were Crosby Granger Architects, based in Kendal.
In brief, the project included:
• Complete overhaul of the main hall roof
• patch repair of the northern range
• Fire rating and establishing fire compartmentation of loft spaces
• Below-ground surface drainage system
• Repointing and stone repairs
• Structural repairs to the timber trusses and associated timbers
• Insulation of ceilings in the loft areas
• Rooftop surface water drainage systems by RWP
During the complete overhaul of the main hall roof the entire hall had to be encapsulated in a temporary roof covering. The complex scaffold was carried out by Manor Scaffolding Ltd. That enabled Aura to carry out the full replacement of the slate roof and lead covering on the main hall and the creation of a central Code 8 lead flat roof around the central atrium.
The slates from the main hall were replaced with new Burlington slates from Burlington Stone in Cumbria and the salvaged slates were used to repair the range.
The rainwater system and goods were also replaced to increase the outflow capacity, discharging into new downpipes via reconfigured lead gutters, and new below-ground drainage was installed where necessary.
Bespoke joinery repairs were carried out to the timber lanterns, window frames and sills. Internal timber panelling was replaced where necessary due to water damage, replicated to match the existing.
Additionally, within the roof structure, splice repairs were carried out to the joist ends, rafters were replaced and a new timber framework created to form the new lead roof.
A number of key challenges were overcome on the project:
It was a highly complex roof structure requiring traditional repairs. Aura ensured that they appointed their most experienced and heritage- skilled workforce to the project, who remained on site for the entire duration. All are specialist traditional craftsmen.
There was a requirement for traditional materials, including lead, slate, stone and NHL lime mortars. As Aura specialise in heritage work they already have very strong pre-existing relationships with traditional material suppliers and with quarries, ensuring a strong commitment to the project from the onset.
Overall, the project was a huge success: the conservation principles of sympathetic repair and minimal intervention were adopted throughout the programme to deliver a beautifully restored building.
As regional winner, the project goes forward to the RICS Awards 2018 Grand Final, to be held in London on the 2nd November.