One of the biggest jobs over the end of 2021 and the start of 2022 was the restoration of Darwen Tower.

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Environmental Issues

We hit a couple of snags along the way, some of which related to environmental activity across the moors. We’re always very conscious of not disturbing nature wherever possible (see: bats currently roosting at Scartho Cemetery). The native Darwen birds had various nests in and around the moors and tower so we had delays in getting going. We also had to make sure we weren’t disrupting the local lizards, scattered across the moors. Ecologically speaking, this was a difficult job!

The environment had one more issue for us – the weather. The whole reason Darwen Tower needed restoration was after 125 years of being on top of the hill, it had taken a bit of a battering. The open moorland at that height is a happy home for high winds and heavy hail. In severe conditions, we had to leave site for safety. With lightning on the horizon, the last place you want to be is a building surrounded by metal hundreds of feet above the ground.

Restoring The Tower

Previous restorations of the tower had been pointed using a sand and cement mortar. Over time, this fails and reacts poorly to the stone. So using a breathable lime mortar mix not only strengthens the structure, but secures it for years to come. There were a lot of joints to point both inside and outside, and the winter weather did slow down some of the work. Nevertheless, it was all accomplished and the feedback we’ve received from residents is very positive!

Darwen Tower Overlooking Darwen Town
Darwen Tower Overlooking Darwen Town

Staircase, Doors And Top Dome

Alongside the main external restorations, we did a lot of internal work. We repainted the internal staircase to the top level and put in a brand new rail. It gets very narrow up the top, as anyone who has clambered up will know! The dome at the top had been heavily vandalized over the years and needed a bit of love. We gave it multiple coats of paint and new Perspex windows. These were actually generously provided free of charge by Perspex, who are based in Darwen. We also installed a couple of doors on the tower’s entrance and mezzanine levels. In an attempt to stop future vandalism, these will be locked at night.

As our Project Manager Scott says in the video, Darwen Tower is very important to the town of Darwen. It is adored by the residents, most of whom we spoke to in the town centre have gone up the moors to see it up close. They will now be able to see it in the best condition it has been in for years, and continue to enjoy the glorious views from the top.

Don’t forget to keep up to date with ongoing projects on our Facebook and YouTube pages!

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