11th May 2017

Innovative restoration of historic Salford church

Thomasons is drawing on innovative techniques to stabilise the columns of the Church of Ascension, in Lower Broughton, Salford, which was destroyed by fire in February 2017. Only the building shell and columns remain of this Grade II listed church, which was built in 1869.

Initially brought in to undertake emergency stabilising and temporary works to prevent the total collapse of the church, Thomasons is now leading the two-year restoration programme.

The badly-damaged stone columns had to be stabilised before allowing access to the interior to start the scaffolding and restoration works. Engineers faced the dilemma that the action of applying layers of sprayed concrete to stabilise the ornate columns could cause the weakened pillars to collapse, bringing down the main building elevations. Thomasons devised the unusual solution of a bespoke steel safety cage – hoisted into the centre of the church by crane – to house the spray operators and protect them should the pillars fall.

Six columns have been successfully stabilised using this ingenious technique and will ultimately be replaced as part of the restoration of this important historic church.