Ashridge Management College

This project was awarded Highly Commended in the Repair and Restoration category at the Natural Stone Awards 2010.

The official guide said, 'The original College was converted into the present building in the gothic style from 1808 to 1825 by architect James Wyatt. After various uses, the Ashridge Management College was established in 1959.

The latest phase of work involved the restoration of the façade to the east elevation, return and bases of the chimneys above the library annex. Care was taken to preserve as much of the original fabric as possible.

The stone façade is Clunch with Portland limestone dressings to the hood moulds, weatherings to buttresses and the carved paterae to the quatrefoil panels in the pierced parapet. The decayed state of the stone face was such that each stone was removed, assessed and, where possible, cleared or a new face cut prior to it being re-fixed. Where the stone was beyond reuse it was replaced.

Hydraulic lime was used as the bedding material with 2mm joints as original. The cavity behind the ashlar was filled with a 3-to-1 mix of shard sand and hydraulic lime to consolidate it. Every course was tied back using a stainless steel flat bar with a dog cramp across every vertical joint.

The external arches and jamb to the central door and four main windows were replace half sole with a part replacement to the internal jamb to incorporate the new glass panels. Approximately 90% of the buttresses were replaced. Once the elevation was dried it was cleaned down to a smooth finish and a lime water thoroughly applied.'

The judges commented, 'The Contractor should be congratulated on demonstrating the 'craft' of Masonry is alive and well and high standards of craftsmanship can still be achieved.

The original bosses, mouldings and balusters within the pierced screen have been replaced. The state of deterioration of these elements can easily be seen on the survey photographs and the mason has painstakingly removed these, measured and replicated with new stone from the original quarry. The work is sharp, defined and extremely well executed down to the smallest detail.

The carvings are mounted on the refurbished screen with care. The lime jointing is clear and consistent.'

Ashridge Management College using Portland Stone