Bird's eye view of Founder's Building

Posted on 29/03/2012

Anyone coming on to campus this week will have noticed the enormous cherry picker lifting a group of intrepid workers high above the famous towers, turrets and tall chimneys of the Founder’s Building.

The works currently being undertaken involve the re-instatement of six finials (weathervanes) following their restoration by Eura Conservation Ltd, experts in the restoration of historic metal objects.

It is a three-stage process requiring lead repair (the work which is currently underway), bracing the cupolas on which the finials will sit, and re-instatement of the finials themselves. As a consequence, the contractors will be making a series of loops around Founder’s until the works are completed. Depending on the weather, this is programmed for 17th April.

The roof areas are about 47metres tall (over 150 feet) and they are being accessed using a 65m cherry picker. The project will eventually require a 100 ton crane on site to lift the finials into position.

Royal Holloway has responsibility for the historic preservation of Founder’s as a Grade 1 Listed Building which means it is a building of exceptional interest, judged to be of national importance. The roofing that the workmen are repairing dates back as far as 1881, when according to the Art Journal the choice of roof was a ‘bold arrangement’ upon which the building ‘depended almost entirely for effect.’ The elaborate skyline remains an important local landmark which can be appreciated for miles around.

For the next three weeks or so, there will be a controlled traffic management system in place to minimise any disruption for the duration of the works, and this will impact access routes and parking facilities around the building. The Estates Team apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Later this year another refurbishment project is planned to upgrade the student bedrooms inside Founder's.

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