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Restoring Greenwich's Historic Landmark

Greenwich Magazine get's a sneak preview at the refurbishment work

By Kristian Brunt-Seymour

As restoration work on St Alfege Church reaches it's conclusion, Greenwich Magazine went behind the scenes for a sneak preview at what's been done to restore this historic landmark (see here for further article on St Alfege Church history). The church, situated opposite Greenwich Market is to be unveiled in all it's glory in early Spring:

The £320,000 restoration work focused on the upper and lower levels of the East Portico and the north side of the church, the two sides facing the town centre.

Donations from residents and businesses in Greenwich both within and outside the Parish of St Alfege included a donation of £25k from Richard Upton on behalf of the Cathedral Group, a grant of £50k from the Paul Getty Trust, a legacy of £20k from renowned local artist Anne Christopherson, and £120k from the Viridor landfill charity. There were also an abundance of skills, contacts and good will from members of the Greenwich Society.

Work started in August 2014 with the aim of conserving and protecting the stonework for the long-term so that it lasted well into the 22nd century.

Using traditional techniques supported by modern materials, work consisted of three phases of cleaning – DOFF steam cleaning to wash away any dirt on the stone walls, Hodge Clemco cleaning, and removal of excess paint on the stonewalls.

There was also masonry work including indent repairs to the block work, restoring the ferrous cramps, the decorative carvings on top of the pediment roof and the render to the inner parts of the eastern side of the building.

Many of the wrought iron ferris coups had rusted and snapped over time so these were replaced with steel ones. 150 to 200 of the stone blocks were also replaced with the internal areas of the stonework lime washed to provide a consistent colour to the stone and offer some protection to the weather. Pigeon deterrents were also installed and upgraded.

“It’s more than improving the look, it’s about repairing and maintaining the building for future use”, explained church member Andrew Blundy, “This is a huge milestone in the ongoing restoration of the building but the conservation of a Grade I listed building in a world heritage site."

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