We were called out to address the Victorian station timber repairs required at Hanwell Station in Middlesex. Just a few fun facts about Hanwell Station: In 1836 Isambard Kingdom Brunel built the Wharncliffe viaduct for the Great Western Railway and Hanwell station opened two years later. An oft-repeated story has it that Queen Victoria used to halt the royal train on the viaduct so that she could admire the view towards St Mary’s.
The Victorian era or period stretches from 20 June 1837 – 22 January 1901. The era followed the Georgian period and preceded the Edwardian period and one of the building materials of choice was wood or timber. Hanwell station was built much in the same way as many stations of its time and has been preserved as best as public funds could up until now.
As the photos will show, not only have the aesthetic sections suffered damage through rot and frequent wear and tear, but the structural timber elements themselves are crumbling. So where do we start in repairing a historic building like this one? For those of us who aspire to be DIYers and get palpitations just thinking about putting up a simple shelf this seems like a mammoth task!
Well we start at the structural elements – the frilly, aesthetic bits are less important. Our own structural engineers get dispatched to assess each section especially in the areas where people are likely to get hurt through structural failure. They work systematically through the supporting sections through to the final less significant pieces. A Victorian station timber repairs plan is then pulled together which includes extensive photographs or each area and is gone through with our master craftsmen. Best structural practice works alongside period perfect craftsmanship and sections that require resin based repairs are carried out, but much of the structure that has crumbled will be replaced.