Durham Cathedral Roof Restorations

Renowned as a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture, Durham Cathedral has been described as the greatest Norman building in England. The creation of the Cathedral first began in 1093 and was largely completed within the next 40 years.
Founded as a monastic cathedral it has a rich and varied history and was built as a place of worship, whilst also being the home of a Benedictine community. Over the past century it has enjoyed a multi-use purpose and is a Christian Church of the Anglican Communion as well as being a shrine to St Cuthbert, the seat of the Bishop of Durham and a place of pilgrimage and spirituality.

A much-loved and cherished landmark in the North East of England, it also won the ‘Reader’s Choice of Britain’s Best Building’ in a poll conducted by the Guardian, detailing its importance and recognition amongst the local community and wider public.

Additionally, Durham Cathedral has a firm dedication to conservation and is only one of few cathedrals in Europe to preserve the original unity and integrity of its original design. As such, it is the only cathedral in England to retain almost all of its Norman craftsmanship – and this is something those with an affiliation to the Cathedral are particularly keen to maintain.

As a result, they have made a commitment to undertaking any restoration work required to the most superior standard and as in-line with the Romanesque design and Norman construction as possible. Last year alone over £1.2 million was spent on maintenance, repair and conservation work to the Cathedral and its associated buildings, all of which was raised within the Cathedral through fundraising efforts, donated by visitors or given as a grant from English Heritage Trust.

Recently completed projects include repairs to a boundary wall, a chair lift being constructed within the Monks’ Dormitory, a new sound system being installed and lighting improvements being undertaken. Further work also included repairs to the Refectory, Great Kitchen and Library roofs and, when this was needed, the professionals at JTC Roofing were called upon for their expertise in cathedral roof renovations.

It was an honour for the team down at JTC and, under the guidance of Christopher Downs, the architect in charge of the project, they undertook a range of roofing repairs, renovations and maintenance work, ensuring everything was kept in line with tradition.

This meant using sand cast lead – as this was imperative to making sure the work was done in accordance with the rest of the Norman craftsmanship – and the lead ranged from Code 6 to Code 8. The main areas being undertaken involved using hollow roll technology and our team utilised hidden copper clips for the method of fixing, which were fitted by the use of stainless steel annular ring shank nails. A chalk slurry was applied to the underside of the lead, in order to neutralise any acids leaching from the timbers – oak being a prime example of tannic acids which can leak out and corrode the underside of the lead and form deadly oxidation crystals.

Durham Cathedral is a perfect example of how the experts at JTC Roofing can, in conjunction with a team of architects and other field specialists, perform first class historic roof restorations – particularly detailing their care, attention and sensitivity to traditional design and craftsmanship. The highly trained and experienced team at JTC worked incredibly hard to ensure the restorations and repairs they carried out where in keeping with the rest of the building and it is thanks to efforts that the results were as exceptional as the building itself.

As specialists in all aspects of lead roofing, including cathedral renovations and historical repairs, JTC Roofing provide superior standard services at affordable prices. Their wide range of skills means they can cater to a host of individual requirements and can tailor their roofing service to suit your specific needs. So whether you are undertaking roofing renovations to a period property or simply need minor repairs to the roof of your home, there is nobody better company to call than JTC! Get in touch today!


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