#buildingconservation

Project Spotlight – Hanley Park, Stoke-on-Trent

Hanley Park, Stoke-on-Trent.

Hanley Park is often described as a fine example of a late Victorian municipal park. The park, which is Grade II officially opened in 1897 and was developed over a period of five years occupying about 63 acres of land.  The park was developed under the supervision of the landscape architect Thomas Hayton Mawson of Windermere, who’s design makes use of terracotta to highlight key park features. The project to restore the park was granted funding by the heritage lottery fund.

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The Hammersley Fountain was first installed in the city park 120 years ago originally with water-spouting dragons which once proudly surrounded the terracotta feature but were removed at some unknown point in time. Aura restored the fountain bringing it back to life by replacing and repairing the terracotta structure and with the assistance of an art sculpture, the dragons were recreated as originally designed. The fountain has now been switched back on for the first time in living memory! The fountain drew a lot of public and media attention therefore Aura along with Stoke Council held an official fountain switch on day in August 2017.

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Aura’s contract also included restoration to other areas of the 63 acre park. Prior to the masonry work Aura carried out DOFF cleaning to all existing brick, stone and terracotta. Then carried out brickwork repair and brick replacement, along with stone repairs , replacements and stone indents to the parks boundary walls and piers. Aura raked out existing mortar and repointed these areas along with removal of all vegetation and roots. Terracotta piers were dismantled and rebuilt with newly produced blocks as originally designed.

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All the parks gates and railings were also restored during the contract by our in-house metalwork department ‘Aura Monumental’. The iron gates and railings were removed to the workshop where they were stripped of the existing paint, repaired where required and then redecorated. Paint sequence analysis was undertaken to identify the paint colours to replicate the original design. The gates were in very poor condition and required a number of specialist works including fusion gas welding. A number of unsuitable repairs had previously been carried out which needed to be removed.

The parks CREST shown above was also removed from site and paintwork restored before fixing back onto the gates.

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The park remained open to the public for the duration of the work therefore Aura ensured that their work caused the least amount of disruption. Aura worked in localised areas meaning that only certain small sections were unavailable to the public at one time.

Stoke’s City Councillor Anthony Munday stated on local news “We have a total of 5.6million being spent on this fantastic park to bring it back to it’s former glory, today we have hit a major stage -the switch on of the magnificent Hammersley Fountain…This park is a jewel in the crown for Stoke on Trent.”

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