John Taylor & Co Bellfoundry
UK Bell Foundries
The site is complex and we were required to understand the buildings history, its development and the industrial processes that are retained within the buildings. The need for a masterplan approach was clear from an early stage. The poor condition of the complex roofs and internal cast iron valley gutters affected the building fabric and its contents, which include a wealth of unique manufacturing equipment and perishable paper archives. The urgency of repair was such that it could not be postponed until a larger masterplan project was developed and funding sought. Instead, smaller phases of urgent repair work were identified and grant aid sought from Historic England. Three phases of emergency repairs are being delivered in parallel with work for a larger masterplan exercise which has culminated in a major HLF bid.
Some of the roof structures are traditionally constructed in timber while others are onstructed from metal girders and metal angle battens introduced as non-combustible materials, following a late 19th century fire. All roofs are covered with slate. The organic development of the site and the enclosing of an original open internal yard led to the introduction of wide cast iron valley gutters that leaked at the joints and could not be repaired without stripping the roof slopes on either side. Our urgent repair solution was to leave this historic form of construction in place and to over-line the gutters with stainless steel.
There is still much to do on site which necessitated the preparation of a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant application to secure funds to undertake the restoration of the remaining buildings and provide a new built section for improved public access and engagement, and a national bell archive centre and enhanced museum. This element of work was developed as an overarching masterplan of the complex site, taking into account enhanced Taylor Bellfoundry industrial processes, visitor arrival, dedicated and safe visitor route, resource facilities such as a specially constructed archive, extended museum exhibition and activity space and other facilities.