As part of the multi-million-pound restoration of Grade I listed Manchester Town Hall, window restoration specialist Shepley Engineers are restoring, refurbishing, repairing and replacing hundreds of historic leaded and metal casement windows throughout the site using Hodgson Sealants Metal Casement Putty and Leaded Light Cement.
Manchester Town Hall, designed by Alfred Waterhouse in 1877, is a neo-Gothic architectural masterpiece that sit sin the heart of the city centre. It has been closed to the public since 2018 in order to bring it up to 21st century safety and access standards and to preserve the original architectural features. The architect, Purcell, has planned to restore the building back to its former civic glory, adding modern facilities and communications technology to future-proof the building for generations to come. The works – the largest heritage project in the UK – are expected to be completed in 2024.
Shepley’s team is part of an army of surveyors, engineers, stonemasons, builders and conservation experts have been scrutinising every inch of the building. Working on a window by window basis, the Shepley team has been restoring, repairing and replacing 475 stained glass leaded and metal framed windows to reinstate them to their former glory. A smaller portion of good condition elements are being hand cleaned & polished in-situ, whilst others are being removed and re-made retaining as much original glass as possible either at Shepley’s iron workshop in Sheffield, or at the leaded window studio locally in Manchester.
Each piece of glass from the iron-framed leaded light windows from the state rooms has been removed, cleaned, repaired – or replaced by new fabrications if necessary – and reinstated using Hodgson’s Leaded Light Cement in Shepley’s on-site restoration studio. Made to a traditional formula, the cement is made specifically for weatherproofing stained glass and leaded light windows once the panel is assembled and soldered. It forms a durable seal between the glass and lead came in leaded lights ensuring a long-lasting, effective, professional finish.
The metal casement windows on the lower floors have been removed to Sheffield for restoration using Hodgson’s Metal Casement Putty, a high quality, hand-applied glazing compound that is formulated or bedding and external fronting of single glass into primed steel, timber frames, sealed hardwood and concrete. It is designed to be overpainted as in this project. “This is a traditional product but is far more forgiving and workable than mastics we have used before – and it looks great!” says Alex Billson, Shepley’s Project Engineer on site.