Refurbishment of Convent in Wales - Bracknell Roofing

Projects: Refurbishment of Convent in Wales


Client: David McLean's

Division: Roofing

Location: Pantasaph

Services: Refurbishment

Sector: Commercial and Industrial

Published on 25th January 2022

Bracknell Roofing were originally approached by an independent Project Manager acting on behalf of David McLean’s and was carrying out a feasibility study of the problems that were likely to occur on the redevelopment of the historical site at St Clare’s, Pantasaph in North Wales and to advise on the reuse of saved slates and materials etc.

The site is a former convent built in 1860. The order of the nuns vacated the convent in the mid-1970’s, and the west wing of the building was damaged by fire in 1985, since then it has lain derelict.

The aim was to redevelop and regenerate the older building using twenty-first-century technology and nineteenth-century architecture for inspiration and at the same time keeping the development true to the history surrounding the convent and the local area.

The site is surrounded by unspoilt countryside and is overlooked by a mid-nineteenth century Friary belonging to the Franciscan Order of Great Britain which adds to the historic and spiritual ambience found in nearby Pantasaph Village. Its builder, a Father Seraphin of Bruges, then established the Convent of St. Clare’s, bringing the first group of sisters to it in 1861. David McLean Homes wanted the St Clares development in Pantasaph, North Wales, to be a cutting edge example of old meets new to create a breathtaking development.

Bracknell Roofing were confident that they could supply roofing craftsman with the appropriate expertise and skills to carry out the work and that they would be able to sympathetically restore the roof in keeping with the old building and the architecture of the local area.

When St.Clare’s was first built its main buildings were a shining example of the traditional builder’s craft, with no expense spared. Their rich stone was hewn from a local quarry, now long disused, whilst carefully selected natural Welsh slate was used for the roofs. Bracknell Roofing were confident that they could source the materials required to match the existing slates and ridges. About 70% of the slates and ridges had been saved from the original building and stored and this meant that the remaining 30% had to be sourced from scratch. We then scoured the local second-hand slate dealers to find the matching materials. Timberwork and the interior of the buildings were stripped down by the Main Contractor David McLean, to form a shell. New roofing timbers and stonework was fitted as required and in keeping with the original building, and to comply with all the local planning constraints, to ensure that the building was refurbished to its original appearance.

Slates were taken from storage, re-sorted, re-holed and cleaned then re-fixed to all the roofs with pitches of 50 degrees and up to 7-metre spar lengths, all at a height of four storeys.

The project has since won the Local Authority Building Control award for Flintshire and is in the last six of the National Finals of the Local Authority Building Control awards.

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