Art gallery restoration comes to an end

Published Thursday, 30th January 2020

A major project to restore the stonework of a historic Hartlepool landmark has been completed.

For the past year, temporary scaffolding and perimeter fencing has been in place around the tower of Hartlepool Art Gallery in Church Square while the work was being carried out but over the next couple of weeks it will be removed.

The project was launched after a small piece of stone came away from the 120ft high tower and a subsequent detailed survey revealed significant deterioration to parts of the stonework of the Grade 2-listed building which was built in 1854 and was formerly the Christ Church.

The work was instigated and funded by Hartlepool Borough Council and was carried out by main contractor Seymour Civil Engineering and specialist stone restoration and stonemasonry contractor David France Stonemasonry.

With more than 30 years in the stonemason trade, David France has worked on a number of high-profile projects including Durham Cathedral and Newcastle’s Keep and Theatre Royal.

Art Gallery restoration

Restored architectural features near one of the louvres

Using limestone from the same seam used for the original construction, the art gallery restoration has included carving exact replacements for the three crosses on the roof ridges because they were cracked or broken.

A number of the corbels – the prominent support stones which jut out from the wall towards the top of the tower, each of which weigh about 50 kilos – have also been replaced, being fixed back into place with the additional strengthening of internal stainless steel dowels.

Badly eroded stone features around the clock faces and louvres have been renewed and the louvres themselves have been repainted.

All the tower stonework has been brushed to remove grime and debris and repointed where needed.

Councillor Shane Moore, Leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “Hartlepool Art Gallery is a much-loved local landmark and once the deterioration in some of the stonework came to light, it was important for it to be tackled promptly.

“Thanks to the thorough survey and the subsequent painstaking restoration which we have carried out, the tower is now fit to face the rigours of time and the Hartlepool weather for many years to come.”

The art gallery has remained open as normal throughout the restoration work. Its opening hours are Tuesdays to Saturdays 10am to 5pm and entry is free.