A section of the balconies above Alexandra Road properties in Cleethorpes will be removed for conservation from next week as part of the Discover Cleethorpes’ Heritage programme.
The balconies, from Numbers 21 to 24 Alexandra Road, will be removed by a specialist team, so that the cast iron can be stripped, checked for structural flaws, and then re-coated away from the marine environment before being reinstated.
As part of the lead up to this work, structural surveys and condition surveys have been carried out to identify work that needs doing to the balcony sections.
Paint analysis research has also been undertaken working in partnership with The University of Lincoln School of History and Heritage Dept, to determine the original colour of the balcony. This research has concluded that this balcony block was a dark Ruby Red, and it will be returned to this colour as part of this restoration work.
There are six blocks of differing designs along the road. Working with the Scottish Ironwork Foundation, research has been carried out to identify the designs and Scottish foundries that supplied the structures.
The balcony in this section, 21-24 Alexandra Road, was manufactured by J & A Law Glasgow and is marked on columns. Similar columns exist at Southport in their 1902 catalogue, thus dating this structure to the early part of the last century. Other similar examples of the balcony panels exist as balconies at Worthing, and as a railing in Edinburgh.
As well as the cast iron section of the balcony being restored, the concrete decking will be demolished and replaced. This concrete decking was a later addition from the 1930s, and the reinforcement metal and the metal decking frame have come to the end of their useful life. A new metal decking frame and timber decking and soffit will be installed when the restored cast iron returns from the sub-contractor.
In order to do this work, from Tuesday 7 December, scaffolding and hoardings will be erected around the properties, to allow the specialist cast iron conservators to carefully label, and catalogue each piece of historic metalwork, before removing from site for full restoration and recoating. The conservation of the cast iron is expected to take around 3 months.
The scaffolding will remain in place until the balconies are reinstated. All businesses remain open.
This is the first section of balconies where all property owners involved have agreed a significant investment. This, along with match funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) and North East Lincolnshire Council will see the balcony section restored to its original colour. The costs for the project are being shared pro-rata between each of the freeholders and supported by an 80% grant as part of the Townscape Heritage project.
Work has already been undertaken to restore the bay windows on No 21and 22 Alexandra Road back to their former glory.
Cllr Callum Procter, Cabinet member for heritage, said: “This is a fantastic project, and one that I’ve been waiting to see come on-line for some time. People in Cleethorpes love the Victorian balconies, and we need to make sure our heritage is preserved for the future. I’d like to thank the property owners for working together on this, and can’t wait to see the balcony section restored.”
Discover Cleethorpes Heritage’ is a four-year Townscape Heritage (TH) programme launched in 2018. The scheme is supported by £1.9m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) and £1m from North East Lincolnshire Council (NELC), and circa 900k of 3rd party match funding from the property freeholders/leaseholders.