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Stone industry honours its top projects

Projects in Scotland’s Isle of Cumbrae and in Birmingham, Yorkshire, Nottingham, Windsor and London were among the top award winners in the Stone Federation Great Britain’s 2008 national awards. The awards were presented at the beginning of December at a luncheon at Lord’s cricket ground compered by broadcaster Jim Rosenthal and the National Lottery’s ‘voice of the balls’ Alan Dedicoat.


Regeneration of the Old Market Square in Nottingham shared the top award in the landscaping category with improvements to the south churchyard at St Paul’s Cathedral in London.
An award for craftsmanship went to remedial work on medieval Sotheby Cross at All Saints Church in Pocklington near York.
Three projects shared the award in the category for repair and restoration: the restoration of Birmingham Town Hall, the restoration of the fire-damaged and abandoned Millport Garrison House on the Isle of Cumbrae and the restoration of St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle.
The task at the Sotheby Cross at All Saints Church in Pocklington was to create a replica head for a medieval preaching cross at the church, although contractor Matthias Garn was also responsible for re-erecting the entire cross, from concrete plinth upwards.
At 11,500m2 and with a history going back 800 years, the Old Market Square in Nottingham is one of the oldest and largest market squares in the UK. Gustafson Porter won an international competition to redesign the square in 2004, their proposals incorporating the topography of the medieval square, accommodating falls by gradual level changes.
Improvements to the south churchyard at St Paul’s Cathedral were primarily to provide wheelchair access to the cathedral, but the resulting desire to re-enclose this section of the churchyard presented an opportunity. It was for a more meaningful display of the medieval remains of the building that were there before the Great Fire of 1666 and a comprehensive re-evaluation of this important open space.
The restoration project at Millport’s Garrison House on the Isle of Cumbrae followed a fire in 2001. Because of the sensitivity of the building and its Grade B listing, Historic Scotland took a particular interest and helped the team through a series of reviews to agree the boundaries between conservation requirements and heritage values.
A survey of the stonework highlighted areas of stonework that had to be rebuilt using newly quarried stone. Five stone types were identified as a good match and Wattscliffe Lilac was agreed to be the best aesthetic match.
After 10 years of being closed to the public, Birmingham Town Hall is open again following a £34m conservation and restoration programme. The imposing neo-classical Grade One-listed building by architect Joseph Aloysius Hansom was hailed when it opened in 1834 as a “remarkable attempt to apply modern purposes to a style of structure which belonged essentially to Greek temples”.
The re-opening of the Town Hall by the Prince of Wales followed painstaking and extensive restoration by a dedicated team of restoration and conservation professionals from London-based specialists Stonewest Ltd working with project architects Rodney Melville & Partners.
Windsor Castle lays claim to being the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world. It is one of the official residences of the Queen and encapsulates years of British history.
CWO has, to date, carried out three consecutive phases of conservation and restoration at St George's Chapel at the castle, including the Bray Chantry, south aisle and west front. The next phase of the work due to be undertaken is the south choir, scheduled to begin early in 2009.


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