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Blog: Preservation & Rejuvenation SECBE Awards 2019 finalist - Clock Tower, Waltham Forest

31 May 2019

submitted by NPS Group

The Clock Tower, Waltham Forest Town Hall - submitted by NPS Group

The Clock Tower is part of the Grade II listed Waltham Forest Town Hall situated in the heart of Walthamstow. Extensive repair work and renovation were required in order to get the Clock Tower back up to standard and conserve the original build fabric. The works were internal and external but the majority of time was spent on the interior. The structural work was vital in order to keep the Clock Tower functioning as no repairs had taken place for about 30 years. Works took place to the lighting, decoration, interior staircases and ladders, power supply, roof, lantern, decorative railing and copper flashing.  

The Clock Tower is an iconic local monument and NPS Group's project to ensure its preservation was vital for this building. There were several challenges due to the complex nature of this project:

  • Location and access provided initial difficulties as the team were not able to use scaffolding due to issues with the roof structure. 
  • The roof deck had been weakened by water over the years so it could not be trusted to take weight which is why an abseiling team was employed to complete the works.
  • A narrow staircase also caused access issues so a small scaffold was used with a hoist in order to get materials and team members to the roof to carry out the work.  
  • There were concerns regarding water ingress in the ventilation plant room under the Clock Tower. This required the roof to be recovered and additional repairs to the decorative railing. 
  • There was extensive flaking lead paint on the Clock Tower that required chemical stripping and cleaning before anyone could access the area.

A large number of improvements were made to the integrity and appearance of the Clock Tower. These included repairs to future proof the copper flashing and external redecoration to the octagonal lantern that houses the clock mechanism. There was also corrosion to the lantern that needed to be repaired with new brackets. A new power supply was installed for the clock. This upgrade includes measures to ensure that there is added security in the event of a power outage.

The project required the team to think outside of the box and use innovative methods to restore this important piece of heritage. This is quite an unusual project, incorporating many different methods to ensure that the tower is maintained and will be reliable for many years to come.

Key takeaways from this project that can be shared with the industry revolve around its unusual features. It was a fragmented project within a sensitive environment, a bespoke structure with its own characteristics and particularly challenging from an access and safety point of view.


Highlights:

  • This project was vital to ensure the longevity of the historic Clock Tower for future generations.
  • A number of challenges had to be overcome during this project but through teamwork amongst all parties, and thinking outside of the box, the project reached a successful conclusion.
  • The project was not just for the renovation and repair of certain aspects of the Clock Tower but also to preserve the integrity of many characteristics.

For more details:

Visit NPS Group

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