Work to replace the traditional slates on roof of the historic Grade II Listed Old Town Hall in High Wycombe is nearing completion.
Over the past three months craftsmen have been working to replace the old Collyweston slates, which adorn many historic buildings around England, on the roof of the building in Queen Victoria Road.
The stone slates are sourced from a re-opened quarry in the village of Collyweston in Northamptonshire. They are soaked and frozen, with the ice that forms delaminating the stone, splitting it in to layers.
The stone sheets are then cut by hand and individually shaped before they were laid on the roof of the Old Town Hall.
Scaffolding was erected around the landmark last May as a safety precaution after it was discovered that some of the stone slates had started to fragment after 111 years of service.
The hidden gutter system on the Old Town Hall has been relined and the lead work around the traditional clock tower has been replaced, with the new frames made to replicate the original lead work below the clock face.
The cupola (the top of the clock tower) has also been given a striking new copper coating which has been finished with a new copper-covered timber ball.
The original 18 inch diameter ball has been rescued from the site and now has a home in the offices of Wycombe District Council.
Cllr Roger Wilson, Wycombe District Council’s Cabinet member for Economic Development and Regenerations, said: ‘The Old Town Hall is an important part of High Wycombe’s heritage and a much loved building for both residents and visitors to the town.
The Collyweston slates were sourced via English Heritage and made especially for the Old Town Hall.
Not only are they aesthetically pleasing but they are an example of the importance this council places on preserving the district’s heritage buildings for future generations.
The finishing touches are currently being put to the Old Town Hall and I cannot wait for residents to be able to see the fresh, yet traditional look that has been given to one of the district’s iconic buildings.‘
The area around the building will be tidied before the site is handed back to Wycombe District Council at the end of August 2015.
The council worked alongside HQ Theatres, which runs the Wycombe Swan Theatre, throughout the project to ensure disruption to events held at the Old Town Hall were kept to a minimum.
The Old Town Hall project follows on from the successful renovation of Little Market House in the High Street in 2010 and the interim repairs to the Guildhall.