Grade 2 Listed Building in Manchester

Former Education Office – Dioceses of Salford

New Oak Cupola & Lead Roof


Next to Salford Cathedral in Greater Manchester are the Former Education Offices. It is a Grade II Listed building on the A6 undergoing various restoration works.
Salford Drone Shot
On top of the building is a cupola – a small structure to let in light and air. This one, dating back over 100 years, was on the edge of collapse. Lead thefts, water ingress and wet and dry rot had all combined to leave the cupola dangerously hanging over a busy road.

We were awarded the contract working alongside Co-ordinate as Principal Designers. The project involved the careful dismantling of the cupola timber structure and surrounding masonry, and its reconstruction to replicate the original. We’d also need to provide improvements to rainwater disposal and future maintenance access.

Masonry & Slate Repair

To start, we took photos and measurements to record all four elevations of the terracotta parapet to base level. Our operatives then carefully loosened the masonry and slates from the bedding mortar and it was all stored for re-use. Our site manager and head joiner orchestrated the dismantling, which was then taken to our in-house joinery workshop for repairs. We installed a temporary timber frame structure on the masonry level scaffolding, which was covered with tarpaulin to prevent water ingress. This enabled works to be carried out to the floor level below. Following this, our operatives began to remove the damaged and rotten floors and beams. New steel and timber beams were then brought in.

The new flagpole beam was fabricated off site and we installed lifting eyes to aid the positioning. We re-assembled the cupola in our workshop with all vital repairs in place, using kiln dried oak. We also added louvre doors and anti-reflective glass windows. Plus, for future maintenance, we made sure the structure was accessible.

Installing The Cupola

Once we’d transported the cupola to the site, the joinery team then built it in 12 sections. We used a crane to lift the cupola over the scaffolding and hoist, and manually handled it into position. The sections consisted of lower (slate cover section), middle (window section) and roof, all in four sections each. The middle section was rebated on the internal side of the structure to allow for the installation of new non-reflective glass panes. These were then sealed to prevent future water ingress. Once the lower section was in position, our lead workers started work on the gutter. The middle section was then lifted in four sections and installed, each section consisted of a corner post and three mullions.

The 4 sectioned roofs were hoisted to the mid-level scaffolding. An additional hoist was installed to lift the panels to the upper scaffolding level. The lead roof covering was then installed to the roof section. The terracotta masonry units which had been recorded and assembled for later re-use were cleaned and re-instated to existing specification. Finally, we pointed the necessary joints and the cupola was complete.

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