Work starts on one of Chester's historic buildings

19 February 2016

A major conservation project for one of Chester’s historic and important buildings begins on Monday (February 22) in a project totalling £679,000.

The entrance way to Chester Castle complex, or the Propylaeum as it is formally named, received a grant of £404,000 from Historic England, £200,000 from Cheshire West and Chester Council and £75,000 from WREN.

Work began on the Grade I listed structure in 1811 and was finished in 1815. The 200-year-old sandstone structure is a massive gateway in the Greek Doric order, flanked by two smaller pedimented lodges. It was designed by Chester based architect Thomas Harrison.

Councillor Louise Gittins, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Wellbeing, said: "The important conservation work will be completed by late summer. The work will be phased to minimise disruption during the construction process. It is hoped that the entrance will remain open for the majority of the works.

"I would like to thank Historic England and WREN for their grants helping us protect the building which is considered to be one of the best examples of Greek revival architecture in the country."

The new project includes:
  • Underpinning part of the building which has suffered from subsidence
  • Waterproofing the roof structure to prevent further water penetration
  • Extensive repairs to the central gateway
  • Repairs, removal of vegetation and gentle cleaning of the stonework
  • Improvements to the current rainwater drainage system
  • Replacement of existing light fittings with more elegant and energy efficient fittings and removal of redundant cabling
  • Cleaning, repair and repainting of gates and railings
  • Pigeon deterrent measures
  • More sympathetic surfacing around the building
  • Interpretation signage
Extensive investigations, archaeological excavations and surveys were commissioned by the Council to inform the programme of repairs and restoration for the structure.

The proposals have been designed in full by Ramboll Structural Engineers in consultation with Historic England. Scheduled Monument and Listed Building consent have been secured to implement the proposals.

There will be short periods of time when the entrance will be closed for public safety, during which the exit will be used as an entrance and exit.

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