Here at Relko, we are very excited to be working on Wolverhampton's iconic Springfield Brewery pump house. The project itself is part of the University of Wolverhampton's vision for returning the site to its former glory and transforming it into their School of Architecture.
We have been very busy on-site with phase one of the developments: cleaning and restoring the historic building, starting with the Grimstone Street entrance. It's an exciting project to be involved with, and the appearance of Channel 4's very own ‘Restoration Man' George Clarke on site was fantastic.
Heavily involved in the University of Wolverhampton's Conservation Course, Mr Clarke's curiosity brought him down to the site to observe our work for a few hours.
The pump house, which once pumped water directly from one of five springs below, has a history of opulence and tragedy in equal measure. At its height, it was one of the largest breweries in the Midlands; and at its lowest, it was gutted by arsonists in 2004.
Despite the building's roller coaster journey over the course of the last 142 years, many foundation walls still stand, and this is where we started our lengthy restoration process.
Using Stonehealth's DOFF stone cleaning system , we have successfully removed blackout paint left over from the war, and removed all other impurities from the walls using the system, all without damaging the historical painted signage that remained. As you can see, the results were remarkable.
The building is starting to look as good as new, which is exactly what restoration processes are all about. The vast site, when completed, will not only house the University campus, but it will also be home to the West Midlands University Technical College and Broughs Brewery are invited to return to the site - returning Springfield to its brewing glory once more.
The site was previously occupied by Broughs for a short while following the building's descent into dereliction. A failed attempted at transforming the site into a housing development in 2006 left the site looking even more neglected than it had prior. Foundations for over 100 houses were laid but presently abandoned as the housing market dropped. It has been said that it was left looking like "a field of tombstones" but that the current restoration process was transforming it like "a phoenix rising from the ashes".
The University of Wolverhampton recently signed a 999-year lease for the site in August this year, and with the campus set to open in Autumn 2016, we certainly have a long way to go yet. Here's to a successful restoration process.
For more information about Relko's Restoration and Masonry services, please visit our website.