Sundial Restoration


A lorry delivering to some of the homes in Richmond Park had backed into a 17th century sundial podium and knocked it over. On doing so it revealed that the sundial had been repaired more than once during its lifetime and one at least one occasion not that sympathetically.

The stem had been knocked off and the decorative head bashed off with some damage to the egg and dart and acanthus leaf embellishments.

The capital smashed and in a poor state.

The base. Oddly there was no glue or mortar in the hole for the pin.


I actually really like jobs like this. I like the accuracy of the indents and the carving. So I indented new stone into the cap and carved the patterns to follow the original.

Indented cap ready to be refixed

Using a lifting apparatus and a block and tackle we lowered the stem part of the stone into the new hole using chemfix to get the strongest fix possible for the pin and used epoxy resin for the base, leaving the edges for lime mortar.

The finished article


Pillar Reinstatement


This was a key word in the post-war world. Anything Victorian was seen as antediluvian: cluttered, fussy, dark and ugly. People wanted a new sleeker modern world. Fireplaces were ripped out and replaced with tiles, panelled doors covered with hardboard, medieval guildhalls knocked down and replaced with glass and concrete shopping centres.

Well how times have changed. Those windows you see behind the pillars were installed in 1972. The hatch windows can’t open with the pillars in front. So they were taken out and an angle iron left to support the 2 lintels. Basically, the 1970s while providing my favourite music, has also provided me with the bulk of my work, undoing the damage of cheap ugly, shoddy alterations and reinstating the original features.

Reinstated pillars and new lintels

17 Ridley Road before. Note the sagging angle irons underneath the lintels.


I was asked to provide drawings of the existing and proposed alterations. I have no idea why. A photograph of the existing and photograph of the neighbouring house would have provided the powers that be with all the information they needed, but they wanted a drawing so who am I to quibble?


Doorway restoration

Carved Doorway


While working on another house I was called to this one, where the doorway had eroded badly and the embellishment needed replacing. However, this was just one half of the stonework and the neighbour didn’t want theirs to be worked, so we had to just replace the half.


I’d assumed the stonework would be at least partly integral with the house. Not at all: it was all ashlar – thin (50-100mm thick) slabs of stone pinned into the brickwork. Much of the mild steel pins had rusted with other damage caused by thick unbreathable paint and poor maintenance and terrible repairing with concrete.

We dismantled the existing stonework relatively quickly and installed the freshly carved new stuff.

Poorly eroded stonework

Freshly carved stone

These are the new stones for the doorway.

2 sections of string course with dog-tooth mouldings, a capital and the left hand arch stone


We made a forma or support to take the arch out and reinstate the new. It was very rudimentary but was fine for our needs. 

All the stones were pinned into the brickwork with stainless steel and epoxy resin and then all pointed with lime mortar.

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