Hall Conservation are delighted to be heading a major project to repair, enhance and preserve Warrington’s historic golden gates for future generations.
The Golden Gates restoration project will see the Grade II* listed gates restored to their former glory.
The previous refurbishment – carried out in 1978/9 – has lasted for nearly 40 years. However the urban location and proximity to a marine climate, means the gates are now showing signs of deterioration with surveys identifying issues including corrosion and cracking of the iron work, loss of decorative detail, defects to supporting brickwork, peeling paint and gilding.
Warrington Borough Council began work with international engineering, design and consultancy company, Ramboll, to identify the right conservators to carry out such a specialist piece of restoration.
Following a competitive tender process, Warrington Borough Council selected us and now, following Executive Board approval in March, and consultation with the Victorian Society and Historic England, we have begun the works.
The gates will be carefully dismantled and the footings to the gate posts exposed, with an archaeologist employed under a watching and advising brief. We will then:
- Inspect the remaining cast iron components and agree the scope of repairs
- Clean off existing paint by hand and remove all debris
- Laser scan typical components
- Carry out on-site repairs
- Backfill excavations
When dismantled, the gates will be transported to our workshop, where they will be fully inspected, in conjunction with Ramboll, repaired and repainted, before they are returned to Warrington – fully restored – to be reconstructed on site, in early 2019.
Warrington Borough Council’s executive board member for culture and partnerships, Cllr Dan Price, said: “The golden gates are an iconic symbol of Warrington. They are truly unique, with none others like them in the world. It’s vital that we protect this key part of our cultural heritage – and that’s why this work is so important.
“We are taking a conservation-based approach to ensure that the proposed work complies with national and local planning policy as well as nationally recognised conservation guidance. This ensures that not only will the work not harm the gates but that it will preserve and enhance them, ensuring them many more years as a much-loved symbol of Warrington’s civic pride.”
Our own Brian Hall, director of Hall Conservation, said: “Hall Conservation is honoured to be entrusted with the conservation of the Warrington Golden Gates. Not only are the gates a piece of important and vibrant local history, but they are also a unique part of England’s very special ironwork heritage.
“The gates have a special significance for me because I grew up around the area of Coalbrookdale, a village in the Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire, where these gates were made and were so brilliantly crafted by master founders over 150 years ago.”
Fay Newham, Associate at Ramboll UK Limited, added: “We are delighted to be involved in the repair of this unique structure, which clearly means so much to Warrington. As well as aiming for a high standard of conservation repair, our objective is to leave a full and detailed record for the next generation, including how the individual parts are connected. Where parts are missing and must be replaced, we will ensure they are replaced in traditional materials, to match the existing. We will be using all techniques available to us, such as 3D laser scanning, photography and video, to record the components and the process of repair.”
We’ll post more photographs of the restoration of the golden gates as the work progresses.