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We visited Galleywall School on Monday to meet Simon Adams from Taylor’s of Loughborough. With the closure of the Whitechapel bell foundry, 18th century Taylor’s is the last remaining in the country. HOLT has given a grant to restore the school’s bell – lost during WWII – so that pupils can ring it to start the school day. Our expedition involved climbing over three sets of roof ladders, squeezing into the belfry and careful measurements… the next stage will be the casting of an 18 inch bell at the Loughborough foundry.

Conservation artist Pedro da Costa Felgueiras has been taking paint samples from the original Raine House statues, currently on display at Raine’s Foundation School in Bethnal Green, to inform the restoration of the replicas for the house. The samples will be sent for further microscopic assessment by paint expert, Catherine Hassall, and Pedro will then use traditional pigments and techniques to match them exactly. We look forward to the results…

Another project launch this morning! The restoration of the 120 year old fountain outside Turnham Green station. We’re thrilled to have worked with Hounslow Council, the Drinking Fountain Association and Thames Water to get this one working again… the granite top had been lost, the spouts had broken and it had been out of use for 50 years. All have been restored and fresh tap water now flows again! Celebrating this morning with Leader of the Council Steve Curran, Cllr John Todd, Gareth James, Sharyn Cardozo, HOLT’s Chairman and neighbours and friends of the fountain.

Drop by when you are next in west London for a free refill.

This morning we celebrated the completion of the restored Broomfield Park Memorial in Enfield. We were joined by schoolchildren from Broomfield School and Hazelwood School, Bambos Charalambous MP for Enfield, Cllr Claire Stewart, the Enfield Society and Colin Younger, Chairman of the Broomfield House Trust. A warm reminder – on this freezing day – of the huge public value of London’s green spaces!

Broomfield Park in Enfield, once a Tudor merchant’s estate with grand house, stables, rabbit warren, parterres and lakes, opened to the public in 1903. A large Portland stone plaque in the shape of a shell commemorates those involved, but it had become illegible over the years. HOLT is supporting a project to restore it with the Broomfield House Trust – careful cleaning and repair of the stonework, and recutting the letters so they are readable for all passers-by.

Today we were at Somerset House to see the restoration of the maritime sculptures on the South Wing, designed in the 1780s by Joseph Wilton. Shortly after its completion in 1786, the South Wing became home to the Navy Board and all its ornamentation is sea-themed….  HOLT gave a grant to restore the Portland stone Triton figures in the south-facing niches and the Neptune over the south entrance by Richard Rathbone, using the façade gommage technique.

We had a great visit this week to 55 Broadway, Charles Holden’s iconic building in Westminster, as it closed its doors for the last time as TfL’s HQ. Built in 1929 for the Underground Electric Railways Company of London, it was a bold architectural statement with sculptures by Jacob Epstein, Eric Gill and Henry Moore on its facade, beautiful modernist travertine interiors and ornamental bronze fittings. Edmund Bird, head of TfL’s heritage, gave us a fascinating tour, including up to the 10th floor roof gardens and 14th floor observation deck. Safe to say it’s still hard to beat those 360 degree views! The building is to be converted to a luxury hotel.

2020 started off with an X-ray investigation of Karel Vogel’s beautiful Leaning Woman statue in Hammersmith – to see what we could understand of its complicated internal structure before we finalise plans for her restoration & relocation nearby. While the upper areas – head and neck – had visible pinning, the statue’s trunk was made of very dense concrete and no images were possible. We will be progressing this in the next months…

 

We had a wonderful morning celebrating the restoration of the Christopher Wren spire in Forest Hill. A great turnout from the local community – neighbours, friends and Year 5 pupils from the local primary school, Holy Trinity School, mince pies and festive biscuits! One of the children, Freya Joseph-Howe, cut the ribbon. Everyone had a chance to chat to the stonemasons about their work.

The spire’s been a fantastic project with so much local enthusiasm and press interest. A couple of nice pieces here and here.

 

We had the most spectacular afternoon on Friday at Buckingham Palace, with a hundred of HOLT’s guests gathered in the Music Room for a lecture by our Patron HRH The Duke of Gloucester. The Duke took us on a mesmerising sweep through Europe with ‘Baroque Architecture – A Fashion or Belief?’, bringing it all to life with the lightest touch. The talk was followed by a delicious and elegant tea in the Blue Drawing Room. Thank you to everyone who joined us and made it such a memorable afternoon.

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