London’s Bank of England gets long overdue façade renovation

12th of September 2016
London’s Bank of England gets long overdue façade renovation

One of London’s best-known landmarks, The Bank of England, has had a much-needed facelift thanks to a substantial exterior clean carried out by cleaning and restoration specialist Thomann-Hanry.

The Bank of England in London’s Threadneedle Street is one of London’s most famous landmarks. Since 1828, when the current building was completed, it has been the symbol of monetary and financial policy in the UK.  However the building had not been cleaned for over 20 years when specialist in stone cleaning and restoration Thomann-Hanry was awarded the contract to carry out the job last year.

Managing director Mark Styles told ECJ: “The renovation took six months to complete because we could only work at weekends to minimise disruption in the city during the week. That was 25 working days, with our activities having to fit around austerity protests and the filming of the James Bond film ‘Spectre’.”

All work was carried out using aerial platforms because the building could not be scaffolded. The cleaning method used by the company, known as ‘façade gommage’ does not actually require the use of scaffold so businesses can function as normal if necessary.

Specialist cleaning operatives work from a vacuum cabin attached to an arm mounted on a specially adapted truck. Ultra-fine powder is projected under low pressure onto the façade and removes accumulated pollution deposits without affecting the masonry beneath. No water or chemicals are used in the process.

All dirt and spent powder is captured within the cabin and removed for recycling. And the powder is so fine it can clean the smallest of crevices with none of the risks associated with
high pressure or heated water, says Styles.

Stone restoration

Thomann-Hanry was also responsible for the lead repairs to gutters and sheets, together with restoration of the stone. So a team of fixers and masons was also employed to work alongside the staff carrying out the cleaning. The masons reproduced and replaced damaged stone. Templates and drawings were made of original sections and new stone was cut and prepared at the workshop before being taken to the site and installed.

“We found much more repair work needed to be done than we had expected,” explains Styles. “But the building was so dirty we could not have foreseen that from the ground survey. There was 20 years of grime, fumes and pollution.”

Weekends only

Total area cleaned was 13,000 square metres and the team cleaned from 7.00 am to 7.00 pm every Saturday and Sunday. “We would leave our yard by 6.00 am every Saturday morning with our four-strong cleaning team, two stone masons and lead workers.”

The Bank is constructed mainly of Portland Stone, commonly used in many of London’s buildings. “Portland stone is easy to clean,” adds Styles, “and our method has been designed to achieve the best results on that surface.”

Having also advised The Bank of England management about repairs, the Thomann-Hanry team carried out everything that was necessary in terms of safety. Repairs were categorised A, B and C in order of importance. And because The Bank of England is a Grade 1 listed building all repairs
also had to be approved by English Heritage and the City of London Corporation.

“We are very proud to have been able to facilitate the facelift to this iconic city building,” concludes Styles.

Other European buildings cleaned using the company’s method include The Louvre in Paris, The Ritz in London, the Kremlin in Moscow and Kings College, Cambridge.


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