Roofing specialist Martin-Brooks had to turn the clock back 140 years and battle atrocious conditions when it was called in to repair an historic, Grade II listed church in Derbyshire.
The Sheffield firm’s heritage roofing craftsmen had to source Westmorland slates from Cumbria and use traditional techniques, nailing them straight to battens and securing the roof of Saint Barnabas Church in Bradwell with lime mortar.
In keeping with the original construction techniques of the 1870s, when the church was built, no roofing felt could be used, so the specialist team had to take considerable care to ensure the church remained watertight, despite torrential rain while the work was taking place.
The craftsmen redressed slates from the roof of the nave and used them on the chancel and vestry before covering the nave with new green Westmorland slate from a quarry at Elleswater.
Martin-Brooks’ contracts director, Dale Wright, said: “Despite atrocious working conditions, our craftsmen have demonstrated that an excellent finish can still be achieved using skills and techniques developed hundreds of years ago.
“The new roof at Saint Barnabas looks fabulous and the Westmorland slate really complements the dramatic landscape that surrounds the village of Bradwell.”
Roof repairs at Saint Barnabas were carried out with the help of an English Heritage grant and were co-ordinated by Bakewell architects, Smith and Roper, with whom Martin-Brooks has worked on numerous heritage projects.