It is with great sadness that we have to report that William Lack passed away on the 30th May 2019, aged 74. William was born on 13th April 1945. He took a degree in mathematics and pursued a career as a geologist. He eventually met H.K.Cameron, the renowned monumental brass conservator, via his wife Jenny who was a member of the Monumental Brass Society who had arranged a brass rubbing exhibition in Shrewsbury to raise funds for the Cambridge workshop. Keith Cameron, in his 70s at the time, was looking for the right person to become his apprentice and William soon transpired to be that person. Before long monumental brass conservation had taken over as the day job, and remained William’s career for the rest of his life. This was, of course, tempered with other interests, as William was a real family man – juggling work with bringing up his two daughters whilst Jenny was working as a teacher. He also had an enduring love of old cars and motorsport. William Lack succeeded Les Smith as Hon. Bulletin Editor for the Monumental Brass Society with Bulletin 113 (January 2010) the first to appear under his editorship. He has been […]
We have established a new department to the company specialising in the conservation of monumental brasses. Trading under the name Skillington Lack, we work with William Lack ACR as our consultant with Simon Nadin as our lead specialist conservator. Simon has been serving an apprenticeship under William’s guidance since 2013 and Skillington Lack is now taking on commissions in its own right. Since brasses are generally set in stone ledger slabs, the preservation of which our stone conservators are long established experts, we are unique in being able to provide a complete service for the conservation of these fascinating memorials. See the new Services page for further details. Click here.
We are delighted to announce that Skillingtons have been shortlisted for the Historic England Angel Awards 2015, in recognition of our work conserving and restoring the Montagu Monuments of St Edmund’s Church, Warkton. Nominated in the Best Craftsmanship category, we will face competition from three other parties who have demonstrated exemplary craftsmanship on a Heritage Rescue. Winners will be announced during an awards ceremony hosted by Andrew Lloyd Webber and supported by the Telegraph which will take place at the Palace Theatre, London on the 7 September. In addition to our nomination in an individual category, Skillingtons are also in the running for another award which you can help us to win – the Historic England followers’ and Telegraph readers’ favourite Award, presented to the project that receives the most public votes. Please show your support for Skillingtons and vote for us by clicking here. Voting closes at midnight on 16 August 2015 and your support at this very exciting time would be very much appreciated. About the project The Montagu monuments, four world-class marble sculptures, are located on the Boughton Estate in St Edmund’s Church, Warkton. For several years the condition of these monuments was found to be deteriorating, […]
There are 18 species of bat in the UK, all of which are protected by law since they have been in serious decline in numbers over the last century. One of the reasons for this is the loss of habitat. Barns have been converted into houses, and modern dwellings tend to be far more carefully ‘sealed’ than those of 100 years ago. Churches, however, have remained as they were and – anecdotally at least – it would seem that whereas bat numbers generally are going down the number roosting in churches is significantly rising. Much as those of us working to conserve historic buildings, and in particular works of art in churches, might love bats, generally it cannot be denied that their presence can cause real problems. Bat excreta can stain and chemically alter wallpaintings, textiles, monumental brasses (and other metal fixtures and fittings) and even marble. Larger roosts can result in a huge build-up of droppings which can be nigh on impossible to keep on top of by regular maintenance. Protective covers, even where practical at all, can be a visual disaster. Meanwhile there are potential health issues with bat excreta which can have an impact on the […]
St. George’s church, Woolwich, opposite the Royal Artillery barracks, was built in 1863 in an early Christian-Italian Romanesque style with elaborate internal decoration including mosaics and cladding in a variety of decorative stones. A Venetian glass mosaic of St George and the dragon was installed by Antonio Salviati around 1870, but variations in tesserae shape and placement between this and other mosaics on the site suggest that decorative work may have been completed in phases. The church was gutted during the Second World War when hit by a bomb, and has been preserved since as a ruin and as a memorial. Its condition has been deteriorating for many years and a major project is currently underway, led by the Heritage of London Trust Operations to provide a new Glulam roof structure, consolidate the wall heads, improve the presentation, and to carry out phase 1 of the conservation and partial restoration of the interiors. With much of the surviving mosaic decoration already removed in panels by others, in late 2014 Skillingtons won by competitive tender the contract for the conservation and reinstatement of the removed panels, and the in situ repair of the mosaics in the apse. This is […]
Skillingtons have just been awarded the contract for re-flooring St. Nicholas church at Wells, on the north Norfolk coast. The existing floor of hard plain quarry tiles and (mainly) woodblock, all laid on concrete in the 19th century, has been giving problems for years, particularly with the wood rotting. Having won the work by competitive tender we have been working with the client to design a suitable layout of Ancaster Weatherbed flagstones in the nave, aisles and Lady Chapel – in total about 400m2. We have also been looking at a finish that combines a high enough degree of polish whilst achieving sufficient slip resistance. The work commences in July and will take about 20 weeks.
Skillingtons win important contract for the National Trust Skillingtons have won by competitive tender the contract for the refurbishment of three towers at Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire, working directly for the National Trust. Starting work just before Easter, we are working in close liaison with our friend and master plasterer Jeff Orton, with our own master plasterer Philip Gaches heading the team on site. We are carrying out extensive repairs to the 16th century plasterwork including running in missing sections of cornice and modelling to missing fragments of decorative plaster overmantles. We are also carrying out extensive patching to the historic gypsum plaster floors, and decorating the three rooms on completion.
The Lion Terrace at Harlaxton Manor Skillingtons have had a long working relationship with Harlaxton Manor near Grantham – which is part of the US University of Evansville. A major programme of repairs to the Lion Terrace and Culpin Bank to the rear of the main building had been commenced by another contractor in 2009. When they went into administration at Easter 2010 the completion of the project, which is grant-aided by English Heritage, went out to tender again and this time we were successful in winning the contract. It is never easy picking up from where somebody else left off and nobody takes any pleasure in witnessing another firm getting into difficulties so this has been a difficult job to get to grips with. However, now that we have been on site for several weeks the jigsaw is unravelling and areas of the site have started to be handed over to the client. It is expected that the contract will be complete in late 2010 or early 2011, depending on stone supply and the weather.
Wrest Park Orangery Skillingtons have recently won by competitive tender the Main Contract for the repair of the Orangery at Wrest Park, Bedfordshire, for English Heritage. The Orangery was designed by the architect James Clephan in a French 18th century style for the De Grey family in about 1836. The facade is of ornate stucco in an early form of cement, using a combination of mouldings formed in situ and cast elements. The repairs are not only to the stucco but also to the roof (including the glass), the interior, and with the return to working order of the great north doors – where a whole bay opens up on huge hinges. This was designed to allow the wheeling in and out of orange trees, and is believed not to have been opened for around 50 years. The contract will be completed with complete internal and external redecoration, with a planned hand over date of December 2010.
We have for some years been operating out of two premises in Grantham, Baxter’s Yard – which was formerly a town joiners’ workshop – and a modern light industrial unit. Running backwards and forwards has never been ideal, and we have been short of space for some time, so when an adjacent industrial unit became available we leapt at the chance to take on a long-term lease. The new unit needs fitting out for offices and workshops, which will take the rest of this year to reach any kind of conclusion, but once done we will have around 7500 sq ft of secure indoor space as well as a secure outdoor compound all on one site. We will be expanding our stone processing capability and creating a new ‘wet’ mortar and plaster mixing area here as well! When things are further advanced we will have to change our postal address from the current Baxter’s Yard one, which we have had for some 15 years now – and rather liked! Watch this space.