WARRINGTON’S historic town hall Golden Gates are back in town – and work will start on Monday (May 13) to restore them to their former glory in a restoration project costing circa £500,000.
The scaffolding has now been removed, and additional fixings to the base of the columns have been taking place this week.
The reassembly of the gates is now scheduled to begin on Monday.
The gates will be fully restored before 28 June, in plenty of time for Walking Day, with the official completion date yet to be confirmed.
The Grade II* listed gates were originally designed for the International Exhibition of 1862, and potentially for Queen Victoria’s Sandringham home in Norfolk. Unfortunately, her majesty was diverted from their trade stand at the exhibition, as clearly visible through the gates was a cast iron statue of Oliver Cromwell. As one of the signatories of King Charles I’s death warrant, Cromwell was understandably not popular with royalty!
Frederick Monks, one of the town’s earliest councillors, came up with a solution that enabled him to be a benefactor to the town. In keeping with his role as a local ironmaster, he graced the Town Hall with a fitting entrance.
A previous refurbishment was carried out in 1978/9. However following a series of surveys, they were found to be in need of attention, with issues including corrosion and cracking of the ironwork, loss of decorative detail, defects to supporting brickwork, peeling paint and gilding.
Having identified the need for repairs to the gates, Warrington Borough Council began work with international engineering, design and consultancy company, Ramboll, to identify the right conservators to carry out such a specialist piece of work.
Following a competitive tender process, Warrington Borough Council selected Hall Conservation Limited – one of the UK’s leading conservation firms – as the contractor to carry out the works.
The gates were carefully dismantled with an archaeologist employed under a watching and advising brief.
The gates were then taken to Hall Conservation’s workshop, where they were fully inspected, in conjunction with Ramboll, repaired and repainted, before returning to Warrington – fully restored – to be reconstructed on site.