Project Spotlight – Birkenhead Priory

The remains of Birkenhead Priory are recorded as a Grade I listed building and it is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.  It is the oldest standing building in Merseyside.

The Priory was founded in about 1150 by Hamon de Masci, 3rd Baron of Dunham Massey. Image credit – https://www.bidolito.co.uk/preview-st-jude-the-obscure-wirral-new-music-collective/

Back in June 2014, Aura Conservation Ltd secured the Restoration and Essential Repairs package as Principal Contractor. Once scaffold access had been established, a close inspection of all elevations were carried out by Aura Conservation management, working closely with Ainsley Gommon Architects.

Initially, small trail areas were carried out to establish a philosophy behind the essential restoration works and to provide finished work samples used as a benchmark throughout the project. Wall capping’s had become very vulnerable over time, allowing deep root vegetation to grow which was causing disturbance to the high level stonework; making it unstable. All stonework was very carefully recorded on drawings, ensuring anything removed from its original place was returned to the exact same location. The unstable areas of high level stonework had to be carefully dismantled, which also allowed removal of deep root vegetation, along with vegetation treatment carried out on all elevations.


All elevations were heavily soiled with moss and algae growth which was removed by use of the Therma-Tech Steam System.  Previous repair works on the Priory meant that masonry had been pointed in a very hard cement mortar, which had resulted in the moisture entering the masonry at high level: causing vegetation growth as moisture could not escape through the joints, therefore had found a way out of porous sandstone walls, resulting loose and friable stone surfaces. The cement mortar was carefully removed with all loose and friable surfaces to the spalled stonework and brought forward back to a sound surface. All joints were repointed using a lime based mortar.


Some of the stonework window and door openings had ferrous fixings, which were causing fractures within the stonework.  Once the ferrous fixings had been carefully removed, new profiled stone was indented matching the surrounding stones line and profile. Surrounding railings and gates were overhauled and redecorated and new tarmac was provided to the vehicle access from the front of the Priory to the Church of St Mary.

The staircase to the East of end of the North Range was replaced with a new solid oak staircase and a boundary wall to the North Range was taken down and rebuilt, incorporating new sandstone copings and metal railings. Works to collapsed drains and works to providing display areas of fallen stonework were carried out under an archaeologist watching brief.


Due to a vast amount of interest from the local community in our activity, we held a handful of workshops. This enabled us to share our specialist knowledge and allowed the community to join a construction forum.

Aura also received project winner for RICS Awards 2017 for the work carried out here.


Whats on?

January 2019
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

Thank you to Building Conservation for sharing these key dates with us.

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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