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Ecclesistical & Heritage World No.91

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Roofing specialists help keep Durham’s jewel in good order

0n7120Durham Cathedral has a rich and varied history. Founded as a monastic cathedral at the beginning of the 12th century, it was built as both a place of worship and the home of a Benedictine community. Over the past century it has served a multi-use purpose and is a church of the Anglican Communion as well as being a shrine to St Cuthbert, the seat of the Bishop of Durham and a place of pilgrimage and spirituality.

A much-loved and cherished landmark in the North East of England, it also won the Reader’s Choice for Britain’s Best Building in a poll conducted by The Guardian, detailing its importance and recognition among the local community and wider public.

Additionally, Durham Cathedral has a firm dedication to conservation and is one of only a few cathedrals in Europe to preserve the original unity and integrity of its original design. As such, it is the only cathedral in England to retain almost all of its Norman craftsmanship – and that is something those with an affiliation to the cathedral are particularly keen to maintain.

As a result, they have made a commitment to undertake any restoration work required to the most superior standard and as much in line with the Romanesque design and Norman construction as possible. Last year alone over £1.2m was spent on maintenance, repair and conservation work on the cathedral and its associated buildings, all of which was raised through fundraising efforts, donated by visitors or given as grants from Historic England.

Recently-completed projects include repairs to a boundary wall, a chair lift being constructed within the Monks’ Dormitory, a new sound system being installed and lighting improvements being undertaken. Further work also included repairs to the Refectory, Great Kitchen and Library roofs and, when that was needed, the professionals at Leicester-based JTC Roofing were called upon for their expertise in cathedral roof renovations.

It was an honour for the team at JTC, and under the guidance of Christopher Downs, the architect in charge of the project, they undertook a range of roofing repairs, renovations and maintenance work, ensuring everything was kept in line with tradition.

That meant using sand-cast lead – as that was imperative in making sure the work was done in accordance with the rest of the Norman craftsmanship. The lead ranged from Code 6 to Code 8. The main work being undertaken involved using hollow roll technology and the team utilised hidden copper clips as the method of fixing – which were fitted using stainless steel annular ring shank nails.

A chalk slurry was applied to the underside of the lead in order to neutralise any acids leaching from the timbers – oak as used for the timbers being a prime source of tannic acids, which can leak out and corrode the underside of the lead and form deadly oxidation crystals.

Durham Cathedral is a perfect example of how the experts at JTC Roofing can, in conjunction with a team of architects and other field specialists, perform first-class historic roof restorations – particularly applying their care, attention and sensitivity to traditional design and craftsmanship. The highly-trained and experienced team at JTC worked incredibly hard to ensure the restoration and repairs they carried out were in keeping with the rest of the building and it is thanks to their efforts that the results were as exceptional as the building itself.

As specialists in all aspects of lead roofing, including cathedral renovations and historical repairs, JTC Roofing provide superior standard services at affordable prices. Their wide range of skills means they can cater to a host of individual requirements and can tailor their roofing service to suit specific needs. So, whether you are undertaking roofing renovations to a period property or simply need minor repairs to the roof of your home, there is nobody better company to call than JTC.

For further information visit www.jtcroofing.co.uk