Adderstone Group's construction and facilities management specialists, Taemar Ltd have completed the conversion of a historic chapel at the former St. Mary’s Hospital in Stannington – protecting and helping to restore a war-time charcoal caricature artwork of Sir Winston Churchill in the process.
Taemar Ltd completed the remodelling and refurbishment of the chapel at St Mary’s Hospital in Stannington, transforming it into a community centre, on behalf of client Bellway Homes as part of the wider creation of their Stannington Park housing scheme. During the project Taemar Ltd were tasked with ensuring the protection of the Sir Winston Churchill artwork which was uncovered during renovation plans and which dates back to 1943.
Originally known as Gateshead Mental Hospital, St Mary’s Hospital was built between 1910–14 to accommodate 500 patients. The site included a chapel, recreation hall and administration wing. It became known as St Mary’s Hospital in 1947 when it was absorbed into the NHS and eventually closed in 1995.
As part of Bellway’s plans to create Stannington Park on the site, Taemar Ltd were instructed with restoring the old chapel into a new community centre which would act as a hub for those living in the new rural village.
As part of the works Taemar Ltd were commissioned to carry out stone replacement and repair, repointing, rebuild of loose brickwork and restoration of any deterioration to the building. They were also tasked with renovating the existing stained glass windows, roofing, flooring and connecting all external services in preparation for the opening of the new community hall.
During preparation works in advance of development, Bellway Homes had discovered the hand-drawn portrait caricature of Sir Winston Churchill on the walls of the recreation hall. The artwork had been partially flooded under rainwater. It is assumed that this was drawn by an inmate performer or a stagehand from the Entertainment National Service Association (ENSA), which was set up in 1939 to provide entertainment for British Armed Forces personnel during the war.
Taemar worked with Spence & Dower Conservation Architects who were commissioned to design a method for removing the 1.5 ton panel brickwork on which the artwork was displayed before it was conserved and eventually moved to the new location within the redeveloped chapel.
Kevin Patrick, Managing Director of Taemar Ltd, a subsidiary of Adderstone Group said: “This has been a great project to work on and we’re very pleased with the results. It has been a pleasure to work with the Bellway team to provide something that will be an important community hub at Stannington Park. Working to protect and restore the Sir Winston Churchill artwork wasn’t without its challenges but we’re proud to have been able to manage this process and the results are fantastic.”