The Campbell Family Mausoleum (Grade II* listed building), St Mary’s RC Cemetery in Kensal Green was erected in 1904 to the designs of the architect Charles Henry Bourne Quennell and is a high-quality example of an Edwardian mausoleum in a striking neo-Byzantine style. Due to water penetrating the roof, and major structural damage caused by buddleia roots, the mausoleum had seriously deteriorated. Cliveden Conservation was appointed to repair the dilapidated building.
Summary of the conservation work carried out
Specialist conservation skills were required to repair the external structure of the building and stabilise the micro-climate of the interior. The internal decorative elements including the gold mosaic ceiling, marble clad walls, stone floor and stained glass windows also needed repair.
Cliveden Conservation removed the vegetation and repaired the damaged roof. Other external works included resetting the two stone arches and repairing cracks and open joints with appropriate mortars. The layers of sulphation covering the red brick and Portland stone were removed with specialist poultices and all the elevations were cleaned.
Inside the mausoleum, conservators repaired and cleaned the mosaic ceiling created from golden tesserae. Hundreds of tesserae were collected from the floor and carefully reset. Pieces of marble were also retrieved from the floor and carefully categorised. Where possible pieces were repaired and reset on the walls. Replacement Belge Rouge, Torquay Baracomb and Ashburton marble which are no longer commercially quarried, were sourced from an antique marble expert.
Conservators selected stones suitable for the floor repairs. New stones were sourced from the same supplier as the marble. The floor was re-established on appropriate mortar bedding.
Other works included cleaning and specialist repair work to the stained glass windows. The copper clad doors which had also deteriorated were repaired at Cliveden Conservation’s workshop using in-house skills.
The mausoleum has been sensitively restored and its future is secure. Work was carried out in an appropriate, ethical manner with respect to the environment and surrounding graves.
St Mary’s Catholic Cemetery
Principal Conservation Contractor:
Advisory and material analysis | Decorative arts | Stonework
What we did
“This has been a very special project, not only in practical conservation terms but also in what we have learned about the construction of the mausoleum and the social history of the family. We were thrilled to meet a direct descendant just before works began, and Cliveden Conservation enthusiastically welcomed his visits to see work in progress. We are delighted that the mausoleum has now been repaired and conserved – it is certainly worthy of the care that has been taken, and we hope that a wider audience will be able to appreciate its intricacies.”
Verena McCaig, Heritage at Risk Project Officer for Historic England
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