Cliveden Conservation, an expert in the conservation of statuary, masonry, mosaics, monuments, plasterwork and decorative arts, is back on site consildating the ruins of Reading Abbey.
Over the past five years Cliveden Conservation has been working closely with Reading Borough Council to safeguard the future of the ruins. The work has included consolidating the existing masonry walls with lime mortar, restoring fallen flint, and rebuilding some of the sections of walls.
Cliveden Conservation is now back carrying out a new phase of works to consolidate a wall of what was once the South Dormitory.
A small team of conservators will continue with hot lime mortar repairs and maintenance using the same informed methodology as they have used at the Abbey before.
Over the coming weeks they will carefully de-frass the masonry and mortar to remove loose and friable areas. The wall will then be assessed to see which areas need light touch conservation, rebuilding or mortar repairs.
Hot lime mortar is being used as the most sympathetic and effective method of replicating the historic mortars and to make the ruins safe.
Extensive analyses of the ancient mortars and trials of different new mixtures have been carried out to ensure new work matches the existing mortar not ust for looks but also for performance.
Over the years various mixes have been assessed to be both appropriate and effective in consolidating the ruined walls and managing moisture and movement.
Loose masonry and flint will be re-bedded.
Lewis Proudfoot, Managing Director of Cliveden Conservation, says: “Following a period of uncertainty for all of us, we are delighted to be back working with Reading Borough Council on the consolidation of the ruins.
“Our team of conservators is able to work safely following the latest government guidelines. This is one of several projects that we are pleased to be starting in these difficult circumstances. I hope the rest of our industry are getting back on their feet too.”
Cllr Karen Rowland, Reading’s Lead Member for Culture, Heritage & Recreation, said: “In the Abbey Quarter Reading boasts a site of national significance. The conservation work this spring is part of our on-going commitment to maintaining the ruins for future generations to appreciate.
“With a Masters in Historic Conservation myself, I am delighted that Cliveden Conservation has worked so diligently to ensure the correct lime and aggregate mix for our treasured heritage site.
“Because of their careful work, the Abbey Ruins will be around for many future generations to enjoy. I’m also really pleased the conservation team is now able to restart this important work following the restrictions.”