Project Spotlight – 7 St Anns Square, Manchester

In yesterdays blog, we touched on a project within Manchester City Centre which we have recently completed.

Located within the Royal Exchange, we secured the contract at 7 St Anns Square (also known as Lululemon – Sports Fashion clothing to the locals) in the second half of 2018.

Lululemon – shopfront in Manchester City Centre.

The end goal of our client Esprit Group Ltd was to revive all the traditional plaster and features, which had been hiding for years underneath a temporary fitted, suspended ceiling. Unfortunately, this temporary ceiling did end up leaving some rather permanent damage to the beautifully decorated 100 year old plaster.

Ornamental Plaster Repair work:

  • A suspended ceiling was hiding the existing ornate ceiling.
  • Once the suspended ceiling was removed, this then exposed the original ornate plaster ceiling.
  • Damage occurred to the original ornate ceiling due to the method of fixing of the suspended ceiling, along with running services through mouldings etc.
  • We were called in to repair the damage to the ornate plasterwork and restore and conserve with minimum intervention and an honest repair ethos.
before 6
Missing dentil course and damaged plaster.
before 4
Remnants of the temporary ceiling which was hiding all the beautiful traditional plaster, removed by us.
Panel repairs were required here.
before 3
Damaged plaster on cornice which required some attention.

The traditional plaster and features are clearly very deserving to be on show, as opposed to the temporary ceiling which covered it prior to our arrival.

To help bring these traditional features back to life we used our in-house specialist craftsmen, who used traditional lime methods to complete the repair works and bring this décor back to life.

Method of Repair:

Lost and damaged sections of the ornamental plasterwork were repaired by taking in-situ squeeze moulds, which were taken from the existing work. This allows for the exact matching section to be moulded and re-fixed alongside the original.


  • Cut back existing damaged plaster to good (minimum intervention).
  • Spray on a releasing agent.
  • Apply a latex squeeze to the area to be formed.
  • Remove the latex squeeze.
  • Cast the moulds using casting plaster in the latex squeeze (Dentil blocks/enrichment’s etc).
  • Remove the set casting plaster from the squeeze.
  • Fit and fix the new moulds/enrichment’s to the existing background.
  • Small tools were used to enhance and repair further.
  • Painted and decorated.

Fact: A dentil (from Latin dens – a tooth) is a small block used as a repeating ornament in the bedmould of a cornice. Dentils are found in classical Greek and Roman architecture, and also in later styles as seen here at 7 St Anns Square.

prep dentil course
Dentil course repairs works being prepared.


panel repairs
Panel prior to decoration with plaster repairs completed.


minor dentil course
Minor dentil course repairs.
soffit and dentil course
Soffit and dentil course repairs.
detail of classical architecture
Lovely detail of classical architecture showing all the ornate details.
fluted plaster
Fluted plaster repairs.
soffit repairs
Completed repairs to the soffit.

Delivering exactly what was asked, we have honoured the buildings traditional architecture and decoration – revealing a touch of history in the process. An excellent project to have been a part of because the ornate plaster has been brought back to life. Sharing thanks with everyone involved.

Whats on?

January 2019
25 Lime Based Mortars and Traditional Materials for Repair of Civil Engineering Structures
Merryhill Training Centre, Fife
25-26 Project Management and Urban Design
Birmingham City University
28-31 Specifying Conservation Works
West Dean College, West Sussex
29-30 Rubble Wall Building
Merryhill Training Centre, Fife
February 2019
1 Timber Frame Repairs
Cressing Temple Barns, Essex
1-3 Chapel Royal in England: Arechitecture, Music and Worship
Rewley House, Oxford
2 Day Rendering with Lime
Merryhill Training Centre, Fife
4-7 Conservation and Repair of Architectural and Structural Metalwork
West Dean College, West Sussex
5-6 Making and Using Traditional Mortars – C1 Contractor Level 1
Merryhill Training Centre, Fife
5 Housekeeping and Dust
West Dean College, West Sussex
5 Exploring the History, Art and Conservation of Leighton House
Kensington, London
6-7 Understanding Building Conservation
CIOB, London
8-9 Understanding British Buildings
Birmingham City University
9 Sash and Case Window Repairs
Merryhill Training Centre, Fife
12 Historic Cements and Concrete
The Engine Shed, Forthside Way, Stirling
15-16 Disaster Management and Heritage
Birmingham City University
18-22 Intensive Training Assessment and Accreditation in Construction Masonry
Merryhill Training Centre, Fife
18 Conservation of Timberwork
The Engine Shed, Forthside Way, Stirling
19-20 Understanding Building Conservation
21 Conserving, Repairing and Maintaining Traditional Windows
Balmoral Castle, Aberdeenshire
22 Lime Pointing Training Day
Bodmin, Cornwall
25 Secret Spaces: Medieval Sacristies, Vestries, Treasure Rooms and their Contents
Society of Antiquaries apartments, Burlington House, London

Speading thanks to Building Conservation, who have provided us with these key dates not to be missed this January and February.

The services we provide for you at

aura conservation


Roof Tiling, Steeplejacks and Lightning Protection, Roof Drainage, Lead Protection, Roof Features.


Stone, Brick, Cast Stone, Terracotta, Sculpture, Statuary, Bronze Statuary.


Painting & Decorating, Plasterwork, Tiling, Timber Flooring.

Services & Treatment

Protection and Remedial Treatment, Paint Finishes, Mortars & Renders, Pointing, Paint Removal, Masonry Cleaning, Structural Repairs, Epoxy Resin Repairs.

Metal, Wood & Glass

Fine Joinery, Wood Carving, Windows and Doors, Secondary Glazing, Metalwork.

Incorporated in 2006, Aura Conservation have existed for over twelve successful years. We have a sound and experienced management team. We can assist you in any of your conservation needs and have a body of long standing and experienced tradesmen we can call on with specialist knowledge of the conservation world. Along with prudent financial management, we have a sound financial foundation that will see us prosper in the coming years.

You can contact us at:

Dunham House, 181 Wellington Road North, Stockport, Cheshire, SK4 2PB.

Tel: 0161 442 9850 / Fax: 0161 432 8478

Email  enquiries@auraltd.co.uk
Web    www.auraltd.co.uk



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