Client: St Matthew’s Surbiton
Completed: 2022
Category: Places of Worship
Contract Duration: 20 Weeks
Architect: West Scott Architects
What we did...
  • Restoration & Conservation
  • Cleaning Services
  • Stone Masonry
  • New Stone Carving
  • Window Tracery
  • Entrance Redesign
  • Specialist Services

USL were pleased to work on the conservation and stone repair works at St Matthew’s Church, a large stone-faced church in Surbiton Surrey in partnership with West Scott Architects. Acting as the Principal Contractor and stone specialist, the team at USL carried out essential stone restoration to preserve the church tower as part of Phase 1 which ran over 40 consequent weeks. After a further tender process, USL completed the second phase stone cleaning and masonry repairs in 2022 that saw repairs to the West End Nave Gable, North Transept and Vestry.

Built in 1874-75 to the design of architect C L Luck. St Matthew’s is listed as a Grade II building, in the neo-Gothic style with Kentish ragstone and Bath limestone dressings.  The church is located within a busy thriving town centre surrounded by residential and commercial buildings.  It dominates the skyline with an elegant square tower at the west end of the south aisle and crowned with an octagonal stone spire behind parapet with corner pinnacles.

A growing and thriving church, it brings together a wide range of ages, backgrounds and operates as a cultural and community centre for the locality. The urgent repairs not only allowed for physical improvements to the fabric of the church but also enabled a wider programme of heritage and cultural activities to improve the churches’ community engagement.

Project works included;

  • Extensive stone cleaning and removal of vegetation prior to repairs.
  • Window tracery restoration.
  • Types of stone used included Hartham Park Stone and Kentish Rag Stone.
  • West End Nave Gable (Upper Section) areas saw extensive restoration and repair works including removing defective stones, raking out friable surfaces, coping joint repairs as well as new stone carvings.
  • North Transept/Aisle Gable saw 100% localised pointing repairs using lime mortar, stone repairs and replacements, repairs to parapet coping joints and new stone finial cross. The new Celtic cross was carved in our workshop in Essex and installed using stainless steel dowel into the apex capstone.
  • Replacing and making new carving of finial Celtic cross to south transept
  • Buttress restoration included removing vegetation, removal of defective blocks and replacing new, mortar repairs and repointing.
  • Vestry area saw defective ragstone blocks replaced with new stone bedded in lime mortar.  Repointing to all parapet coping joints as well as repairs to ashlar dressings and parapet.
  • Redevelopment of church entrance way including new bicycle stands and memorial bench.

 

Universal Stone Ltd. are extremely proud of our accomplishments at St Matthews’ Church which has seen now the completion of two phases of restoration and, speaking to others, the whole team should be collectively proud. It is not often that historic fabric is replaced on this scale while utilising traditional methods to achieve it.  The church will remain a rich source of heritage and stories, inspiring new social interactions which will be shared with a wider and more diverse audience.

Through the replacement of eroded and decayed stonework and embellishments, the tower and spire now hints back to its original glory and can expect a much-extended life with graceful ageing for years to come.

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“We’re delighted that we’ve received this support thanks to National Lottery players. The church has been an important focal point for the community for the past 140 years, and it’s great to know that we are a step closer to preserving it for another century or more.”

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