Looking to the Future, Caring for the Past
St James Church, Leckhampstead - Grade II*
Before work began
After completion of the project
St James Church was placed on the Historic England Heritage at Risk Register, as a Priority A building, due to the poor state of the roof, and structural movement caused by spreading of the roof. In addition to this, the trusses supporting the integrated tower were starting to fail and the whole roof was at risk of collapse. Many roof tiles had fallen to the ground, were broken or chipped, and the internal fibreboard (inserted during the 1949 roof repair) had drastically deteriorated due to moisture resulting from leaks, and water vapour from gas heaters. The rate of decay put the future of the building at risk.
The Victorian church, designed by Samuel Teulon, is of brick and flint construction and a large clay tile roof. Though re-roofed in 1949, many tiles were reused providing a reference to the original. In order to preserve the aesthetic quality of the roof, handmade Tudor Roof Tiles were chosen as the closest match to the original. Small battens had been used and were starting to fail, so these were replaced with a larger size batten to increase the longevity of the roof.
The original lath and plaster ceiling had previously been removed, possibly in the 1949 re-roofing, and replaced with un-painted fibreboard. As the original ceiling had already been removed, rather than replace it with new lath and plaster, Steico SDW sarking board was chosen to add better insulating properties to the new roof. This breathable, natural fibre insulation board is eco-friendly and compatible with the lime plaster used internally. It was then finished in white Earthbourne clay paint.
In order to prevent further spreading of the roof, it was necessary to insert four, evenly-spaced, roof ties. A simple design was chosen in black to complement the variegated brick interior of the building.