Client: Sheppard Robson Architects, and Laing Ltd, for DEFFRA

Location: Kingsway, London

This large electrotype urn had suffered from significant corrosion of the copper resulting in many holes and fractures and failure of the leaded joints. The remaining copper was wafer thin in many areas and had mineralised, resulting in loss of structural strength. The inner plaster core and iron armatures were decomposing causing instability of the structure. The main central tube and the load bearing plates were also in poor condition, this damage was serious and pointed to imminent collapse. The top floral finial was missing altogether.

Full restoration and repair included removal of all the internal plaster and iron support structure and cleaning of all the copper, both inside and out, to remove all dirt, plaster and excessive corrosion products. Sections of the foot were replaced in spun copper sheet, as they were critical to the eventual stability of the urn. All the copper detail was then consolidated, initially lead soldering the damaged joints where possible.

Following this, the entire internal surface was lined with fibreglass fabric and resin to provide the necessary strength and support to the delicate copper skin. A new stainless steel ribbed armature and central fixing rod were designed and constructed, incorporating all necessary fixings for reinstallation to the roof. A replica foliated finial was remodelled and cast in bronze resin, based on the existing finials from the stone urns on the building. The urn was then coloured to the agreed finish and all surfaces waxed with three coats of clear wax.

Electrotype examples