Reading Abbey Conservation Works Continues

29th May 2020

Over the last five years we have been working closely with Reading Borough Council to safeguard the future of Reading Abbey Ruins. This work has included consolidating the existing masonry walls with lime mortar, restoring fallen flint, and rebuilding some of the sections.

Our Stone Section is now back on site carrying out a new phase of works to consolidate the South Dormitory Wall. A small team of conservators will continue with hot lime mortar repairs and maintenance using the same informed methodology as before. Over the coming weeks conservators will carefully de-frass the masonry and mortar to remove loose and friable areas. Areas will then be assessed as to whether they require light touch conservation, rebuilding or mortar repairs.

Hot lime mortar is being used as the most sympathetic and effective method of replicating the historic mortars and to make safe the ruins. Extensive analyses and trials into different mortars have been carried out to match the existing mortar, and over the years the various mixes have been assessed to be both appropriate and effective in consolidating the ruined walls and managing moisture and movement. Loose masonry and flint will be re-bedded using hot lime mortar.

“Following a period of uncertainty for all of us, we are delighted to be back working with Reading Borough Council on the consolidation of the ruins. Our team of conservators are able to work safely following the latest government guidelines. This is one of several projects that we are pleased to be starting in these difficult circumstances. I hope the rest of our industry are getting back on their feet too,” says Lewis Proudfoot, Managing Director, Cliveden Conservation.

Cllr Karen Rowland, Reading’s Lead Member for Culture, Heritage and Recreation, said: “In the Abbey Quarter, Reading boasts a site of national significance. The conservation work this spring is part of our ongoing commitment to maintaining the ruins for future generations to appreciate. With a Masters in Historic Conservation myself, I am delighted that Cliveden Conservation has worked so diligently to ensure the correct lime and aggregate mix for our treasured heritage site. Because of their careful work, the Abbey Ruins will be around for many future generations to enjoy. I’m also really pleased the conservation team is now able to restart this important work following the restrictions during March and April.”