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.

Beautiful Cylindrical Bay Restoration

Cylindrical Bay

Cylindrical Bay RESTORED

This is Victorian stonework at it’s finest: cigarette paper-thin joints,, perfect mouldings and beautiful craftsmanship throughout. However, on closer inspection the stonework was in a pretty frightful state. 2 of the large window sills on the first storey had eroded and cracked.

The underside of the eroded sills

Poor repairs to a structural pillar – shoddy and dangerous

At the top of the picture you can see the erosion of the stone

The Restoration

We worked 2 new sills and numerous indents throughout the building. It was quite a labour-intensive project, but very enjoyable.

Indents – square spaces made for accurate replacement with new stone

Indent to the cracked pillar

New section of pillar in limestone

New sill to the right and various indents throughout the architecture

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