This significant monument commemorated the 27th Birthday of Queen Victoria in 1846. Unfortunately, the asset had sustained considerable wear over time, and we were informed that it had previously undergone repairs throughout the years when required, by various other companies. The council wanted a full refurbishment of the fountain, ensuring a correct restoration to ensure the longevity of this important heritage monument. We were thrilled to be considered to work on such a fascinating project, share our unique welding process and help to restore this historic landmark to its former glory.
Overcoming Logistics for the Victoria Fountain Restoration
As impressive as the Sculptural Victoria Fountain is, its sheer enormity can be problematic from a logistical point of view. Fortunately, we have overcome many obstacles throughout the years working on unconventional large-scale landmarks. After first discussing the project and the predicted time scale with the client, the removal of the Fountain from its location could begin. The unique welding process we have developed cannot be carried out on-site, so we needed to carefully remove and transport the Fountain to our facility in Leicestershire.
To do this, a clear plan was outlined with the relevant parties such as the local council and even traffic control, as specialised equipment and vehicles were needed to safely access the area. Safe diversions were created to prevent the public from being at risk whilst the removal and later re-installation took place. Good communication in this part of the process helped the project enormously by keeping the schedule of work on track and running smoothly.
The client highlighted an issue with the water flow and from our initial visit, we were able to identify that the Fountain wasn’t sitting on a level base, likely to be caused by ground movement due to weather conditions over the years. It wasn’t a surprise to us to find corrosion present too which would be a large contributor to the uneven flow of water. Due to the coastal location of the fountain, sulphur is present in the atmosphere increasing the rate of corrosion significantly compared to other inland locations away from the salty sea air.
To remove the Fountain, we used a mobile crane to lift each section carefully, this took a full day to complete. The crane transferred each section of the Fountain onto a registered wide-load vehicle which then carefully transported it to Leicestershire. Once the Fountain was back at our facility and ready for a detailed inspection, ground works could begin at the coastal site to create a new level base in preparation for us to return the fully restored fountain.
Enhancing the Victoria Fountain’s Longevity
We planned to dismantle the fountain to test and repair each section and completely piece back together the structure avoiding any future leaks.
The corrosion caused by the salty atmosphere had to be considered when finding the appropriate protective paint solutions in the final restoration stage and can be a great preventive solution to corrosion in the future.
The Victoria Fountain has been holding a large body of water for numerous years and solutions to prevent water from escaping or settling in between layers of each cast iron section had to be mindfully discussed, creating preventative repairs that would avoid unnecessary corrosion in the future.
Each section of the fountain was covered in layers of historic leaded paint which all needed to be safely removed and disposed of correctly following the present-day safety guidelines. We had to dismantle the petal-shaped sections that make up the bowl like structure from the main body of the fountain, which was a tough task but completely necessary to repair the fountain correctly and thoroughly. This process unearthed previously used unsuitable bonding materials, from repairs made in more recent years to try and solve problems with the fountain leaking. These unsuitable repairs were removed so that the team could begin any welding repairs to restore the strength and structure of the sectional pieces.