A highly satisfying String Course repair job

Our work restoring historic Mowden Hall, home to Marchbank School in Darlington, demanded a commitment to detail that was as rewarding as it was time-consuming. Some of the building’s decorative terracotta string courses had sustained serious damage over the years, and whilst the individual units are available in a range of standard designs and sizes nowadays, those that architect Alfred Waterhouse used here in 1862 were bespoke to the building and their moulds would have been lost or destroyed generations ago.

Luckily our team, overseen in this case by site manager Derek Calvert, has plenty of experience of traditional masonry restoration techniques and worked with specialists at Michelmersh to commission bespoke moulds from elsewhere on the building, from which the individual terracotta units could be recreated.

Replacing the damaged units with the new was very precise work, but it was a golden opportunity to showcase the high-quality finish McCarrick Construction takes such pride in and share these time-honoured skills with some of our apprentices.

Alongside this work on the restored string courses, the building’s ornate facade has benefitted from our repairs to the roof, chimney stacks, stained glass windows, bespoke cast-iron down-pipes and brick pointing, and we’re delighted to have contributed to its crisp and cared-for new look.

(This project was entered into The Durham Environment Awards 2019 in the Craftsmanship category.)

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