The Grade II listed statue of Neptune at Warmley Gardens has been repaired by Cliveden Conservation who were commissioned by South Gloucestershire Council to carry out the works. The historic statue, dating back to the 18th century, had become seriously decayed and required urgent repairs to stabilise its condition.
The sculpture also known as the ‘Warmley Giant’ is claimed to be the largest garden statue in Britain and the oldest concrete statue. The figure is constructed from mainly waste slag and was erected by William Champion in c1750 as part of his ‘Industrial Utopia’ landscaped garden surrounding his ground-breaking Brass and Zinc works at Warmley House.
Natural weathering and invasive roots had caused serious decay and the statue needed urgent repair. Over a four-week period Cliveden Conservation worked closely with South Gloucestershire Council to repair the statue of Neptune. Works included removal of plant growth from ground level to the top of Neptune’s head, stabilisation repairs and lime based mortar repairs together with the treatment of iron fixings.
As part of their condition report Cliveden Conservation had discovered that the metalwork which forms a framework for the structure had eroded and rusted. The right leg of the statue had become badly damaged by these corroding internal iron fixings and had caused a major split. Brian Bentley from Cliveden Conservation explains how they managed to repair this part of the statue:
“This was a delicate operation but we managed to stabilise the leg by pinning together the two halves with stainless steel dowel and using traditional lime based grout. The open cracks in the sides of the leg were then filled with a colour matched mortar for a seamless finish.”
Where the metalwork had corroded and rusted, Cliveden Conservation removed all the loose material and treated the surfaces. The conservation team also cleaned open joints and used lime based mortars to cap and repair holes.
South Gloucestershire Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Tourism, Councillor Heather Goddard, said: “It is fantastic news that this historic feature of the Warmley Gardens has been restored to its former glory. Enhancing and protecting our natural and built environment is a key priority for South Gloucestershire Council.
“We are always on the lookout for volunteers who can help us in looking after our public open spaces. If you want to find out more about how you can become involved with Warmley Gardens, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org”
With the restoration of the Neptune Statue complete, South Gloucestershire Council are hoping for the formation of a garden Friends Group to ensure this unique and important site is protected for future generations.