Expert team of conservators to assess repair works for Eleanor Cross

Published: Thursday, 16 August 2018

A specialist lead consultant and an expert team of conservators have now been appointed to review the repair works need to Northampton’s Eleanor Cross.

The appointments have been made following a successful grant application to Historic England, for 50% of the repair costs, which was confirmed at the end of May. The creation of this team was one of the grant conditions.

The team will now conduct a detailed site visit and inspection of the Cross during the week beginning 5 September, to ensure that the right and appropriate conservation repairs are undertaken as promptly as possible and in a considered and informed way.

Once the necessary repair works have been identified, Northampton Borough Council will work with the team to prepare a detailed schedule of works and tender for a contractor to price them. These next steps will all take place this coming autumn.

The grant application to Historic England came following recommendations from Cliveden Conservation, who were commissioned by the Borough Council and submitted a condition report in February 2018.

The Council has been working closely with Historic England all along, and since February has been taking the steps needed to progress a funding application and meet the grant conditions.

Cllr Tim Hadland, Cabinet member for regeneration, enterprise and planning, said: “Everyone is keen to see the repair works to the Eleanor Cross begin and we hope the appointment of this expert team is recognised as an important step forward.
“With the team’s help, we will be able to ensure that any works carried out will be informed, diligent and timely.

“Once we fully understand the works needed, we will of course progress them as quickly possible, including any precautionary measures that may be identified during the site visit during week beginning 5 September.”

Dr Ben Robinson, Principal Adviser Heritage at Risk at Historic England, said: “Historic England recognises that the Eleanor Cross, a nationally important monument, is at risk. The progressive decay of its stonework over time needs to be addressed. To assist Northampton Borough Council in its care of the Eleanor Cross, we are pleased to have awarded a substantial grant towards repair costs.

“Appropriately qualified conservation professionals have now been appointed by Northampton Borough Council. Their first task is to fully investigate the problems that the Cross faces and to draw up a schedule of comprehensive repairs. The Eleanor Cross has had a complex history of previous repairs. New repairs must be carried out very sensitively and with a great deal of thought about the performance of repair materials in the future.

“The repairs will be carried out as soon as feasible. If temporary protective measures are necessary, they will be put in place. ”