News Archive

Staffordshire stone quarried for major Trentham restoration

A seam has been re–opened at a Staffordshire quarry to provide 176 tonnes of natural sandstone to restore crumbling balustrades and other important stone features on the 750-acre Trentham estate, North Staffordshire.

More than 120 balusters in the famous Italian Gardens, the first phase restoration of which will be opened to the public over the Spring Bank Holiday, are being replaced using Terne Hollington natural sandstone from Terne Hollington Quarry, near Cheadle.

Trentham Leisure, the joint venture between St Modwen Properties PLC and Mr Willi Reitz, a German wine and visitor attraction specialist, are undertaking the restoration as part of a £100 million project to create Trentham as one of the country’s leading visitor destinations.

Stone from Hollington was originally used in the mid-19th century to create balustrades, pavilions, fountains, vases, steps and seating within the gardens.

Quarry owners John Oldham & Sons discovered a seam of good clean yellow/buff close grained Terne Hollington in sufficient quantities to produce the masonry required to undertake the restoration work at Trentham, including the reproduction of the two single arch pavilions and the triple arch pavilion at the east end of the middle balustrade wall. Alan Bridgman, regional director of Stoneguard (Midlands) Ltd, of Rugeley, Staffordshire, which is undertaking the masonry restoration, said: “Carefully selected Terne Hollington, carved and profiled at the quarry has been used in the restoration of the existing formal gardens.

“Alternative sandstone similiar in colour to Terne Hollington is quarried in Shropshire. However, due to the recently discovered new bed of Terne Hollington and a desire to use a local supplier and employer, we submitted samples of this current bed and they were approved by English Heritage and the architect, Brownhill Hayward Brown of Lichfield.”

Adrian Mathias, of Brownhill Hayward Brown, the project’s consultant conservation architects, said that although visitors arriving at the end of the month will see large sections of the balustrades already restored, the programme is part of an ongoing restoration scheme, with phase one due for completion in October.

“Besides the balustrades, the lakeside seating areas have been rebuilt by augmenting the original stone with new. A stone seating area in the Upper Flower Garden has also been restored in a similar way including the construction of a new seating area to mirror the existing seat.

“We have rebuilt the plinth for the Perseus statue and reconstructed the orginal lakeside landing. “Seventy-two replica balustrade vases are being made to replace originals lost or removed.

Richard Berry, project manager, of Faithful & Gould, Stoke-on-Trent, said: “Phase One of the stone restoration works to the Italian Gardens is currently well ahead of programme and we are hopeful of continuing this success into Phase Two works due for commencement in August.

“Restoration of the stonework forms only a small element of the overall programme to restore the Italian Gardens to their former glory, including restoration and replacement of the fountains, landscaping works including pathway re-surfacing and extensive replanting, the refurbishment of the bronze statue of Perseus, and restoration of the Arbour Trellis.”

* Many important buildings in the West Midlands have been built in Terne Hollington stone. They include Birmingham, Hereford, Coventry (old and new) Cathedrals, Alton Towers and Guys Cliffe House in Warwick. Grade 1 and Grade 1* historic structures consume the bulk of the available current stock which is low and in short supply.

For further information contact John Lowther, Operations Director, Trentham Leisure (01782 657341).

Issued by Paul Raymer of Howle Chapman Raymer (0121-236-7771).