Conservation Portfolio | Aura

A selection of the landmark buildings we've worked on

Birkenhead Priory

Grade I Listed

The remains of Birkenhead Priory are recorded as a designated Grade I Listed Building and it is a Scheduled Ancient Monument. It is the oldest standing building in Merseyside. This building is listed under Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

In June 2014 Aura Conservation secured the Phase 2 restoration and essential repairs package as Principal Contractor. Once scaffold access had been established, a close inspection of all elevations were carried out by Aura Conservation management, working closely with Ainsley Gommon Architects. Small trail areas were carried out to establish a philosophy behind the essential restoration works and provide samples to be used as a benchmark throughout the project.

Wall capping’s had become very vulnerable over time allowing deep root vegetation to grow which was causing disturbance to the high level stonework making it unstable. All areas of stonework were very carefully recorded on drawings ensuring anything removed from its original place was returned the exact same location. The unstable areas of high level stonework had to be carefully dismantled which also allowed removal of deep root vegetation along with the usual biocide treatment carried out on all elevations. All elevations were heavily affected by moss and algae growth. This was removed by use of the Therma-Tech super-heated water system.

Previous repair works on the Priory had resulted in some of the masonry being repointed in a very hard cementitious mortar which was incompatible with the stone. This was causing problems of water penetration and the face of the stone had become friable, therefore the cementitious mortar was carefully removed together with all loose and friable surfaces of the stonework which was brought back to a sound surface. All joints were repointed using a lime based mortar.

Some of the stonework window and door openings had ferrous fixings which were causing fractures within the stonework. These fixings were carefully removed. Once removed, new profiled stone was indented to match the original and incorporate stainless steel restraints.

Perimeter railings and gates were overhauled and redecorated and new tarmac was provided to the vehicle access from the front of the Priory to the Church of St Mary.

The staircase to the East of end of the North Range was replaced with a new solid oak staircase and a boundary wall to the North Range was taken down and rebuilt incorporating new sandstone copings and metal railings.

Works to collapsed drains and areas of fallen stonework were carried out under the careful eye of an archaeologist.

This project was the winner of the RICS North-West Awards 2017 in the Conservation Category

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