Transforming the former chapel into the vibrant home of Spring Bank Arts was an ambitious project. The building work took around a year, although the planning process was much longer! A lot of work needed to be done to make the building weather-proof and accessible. Inside, paint conservators restored and recreated the painted décor, and a new floor and heating system were installed.
As well as building the extension that now houses the Ingham Room, the contractors replaced the floor in the main body of the building, repaired the roof timbers and re-slated the roof. They also created toilets and a bar area, added new exterior doors and built a sloping path up to the entrance.
Meanwhile, inside the building, specialist conservators Crick Smith were conserving the murals and recreating the decorative scheme on the west wall. Paint sampling had shown that the original decoration still survived underneath modern paint layers. Crick Smith set out to reveal some areas of paint work by scraping away the newer paint layers.
On the west wall by the main entrance, the conservators established a repeating pattern using scale measurements and checked the original colours with a spectrophotometer. The pattern was then recreated using breathable mineral paints.
The murals in the blind arcades needed careful attention as well. They were cleaned up, the plaster was repaired and small gaps filled. Where the original paint had been lost, they were touched up using reversible acrylic paint. The murals were re-gilded and now take pride of place in the Mackie Hall – the former church nave.
Find out more about the restoration work.