One of Huddersfield’s most important buildings needs some vital restoration work carried out to preserve a prominent and historic feature.
The pinnacle on the centre of the roof of the Ramsden Building on Huddersfield Ring Road will have to be taken down and repaired.
The Victorian building, now part of the University of Huddersfield, is distinctive for its towers, turrets and Gothic styling.
The grade II-listed building was opened in 1883 as Huddersfield Technical School and Mechanics’ Institute.
It was opened on July 7 1883 by the Duke of Somerset, father-in-law of Sir John Ramsden – renowned as one of the founders of Huddersfield – meaning it will celebrate its 140th anniversary next month.
The university has applied to Kirklees Council for listed building consent to remove and reinstate the pinnacle, which has suffered weathering and other aged-related damage.
The pinnacle is an octagonal lantern structure, constructed from iron and wood, with an iron finial on top.
Earlier this year it was noticed that the finial was “leaning to one side” and surveyors used a cherry-picker to investigate.
They found weathering, decay, rust and rot and there was movement of the finial due to timber decay.
A statement as part of the planning application says: “The pinnacle clearly has a limited life span and we are looking to revive old skills and, as far as practicable, reinstate it to its former glory.”
This will include replacing rotten timber in oak; re-slating with Westmoreland slate; replacing defective leadwork; and restoring the damaged finial.
The statement says: “The nature of such works mean that it is not viable under current Health and Safety legislation to do it in situ when there is a safer alternative.
“We have, therefore, opted to take down the finial by crane to have the work done in a joiner’s shop. Separation is complicated and there are uncertainties as to how the different stages are connected but we would be under supervision of structural engineers throughout.
“Naturally protection would be applied whilst the pinnacle is absent.
“Once reinstated, we would create a protective cradle around the entire unit to raise and refit the pinnacle in one piece, fixing it from cherry-pickers externally and from within the roof void.
“It is a delicate operation and needs very experienced operatives, under close supervision and under the direction of a structural engineer.”