St Andrew's Floor Restoration
Planning for the floor restoration
After 145 years of constant use the original floor in the church was in a poor state. Many of the old Victorian tiles were worn and cracked, others were lifting off the floor because of problems with the screed underneath. Clearly something had to be done.
After much careful thought and consultation the Church Council decided to embark on a major renewal project. Our church architect, Patrick Crawford B.Arch., M.Phil. R.I.B.A., accompanied by his assistant, Anne Mann, were tasked to obtain the costings, create detailed drawings and plans and then to put together the schedule for the work. The Church Council obtained the necessary faculty from the Diocesan chancellor and permission was received from the bishop to worship in St Andrew’s School hall whilst the work was being done.
March 2010 - the work begins
Our last Sunday in Church was 7th March 2010. Most of the congregation stayed behind after our 10am mass and helped to carry the smaller items into one the rooms in the church hall whilst another team carried the pews up into the Chancel and into the Holy Spirit chapel.
The builders take over
Having emptied the Church, the team from William Fullers and Sons led by Sean Bulger moved in to start work. The old Victorian tiles were carefully taken up. Most were not in good condition but those that were quickly became desirable antiques – pieces of our history. Most were bought up … though for the discerning collector we still have a few left ... at 50p each!
The concrete base, which had caused all the problems, was then pick-axed up ...
... and all the bits put into the skip outside the church.
A new concrete base was then put down. When this had set, the tiler arrived to begin the painstaking task of exactly recreating the original Gilbert Scott pattern, but this time using tiles from France.
Worship continues in St Andrew's School
While the work was taking place in our building, the family of the church met every Sunday morning in the hall of St Andrew’s School.
We were overwhelmed by the warm-hearted welcome and support of the head teacher, Mrs. Wakling, and of the site manager Mr Gerry McGuire. Many of the congregation had attended St Andrew’s School when they were younger, so it was a curious experience for them to go back to school!
In practical terms we were a model of efficiency. The school has its own altar and lectern but everything else was transported on what was affectionately known as the 'Holy Trolley'.
One of the highlights of the week was watching Fr. Cliff wheel the holy trolley from the Vicarage every Sunday morning for the 8am mass and then wheel it back after the 10am mass had finished. Needless to say each trolly wheel had a mind of its own and with the school driveway being bumpy one of the games was to guess how many things would fall off before it reached the Vicarage.
Our time worshipping in the School was a special time and we have grown closer as a church family because of it.
Meanwhile back in the church building ...
Once the team from Fullers and their contractors had finished the tiling and made the site safe they handed things back over to us so that teams from our own congregation could get in to sand, stain and re-varnish the wooden sections of the nave floor.
The key to the success of this part of the work was Phil Jarvis, who acted as Quartermaster and team leader. Phil procured several heavy-duty sanding machines, and assisted by Helen Ogilvie, Alan Kime, Bob Badhams and Fr. Cliff, the old varnish was slowly and carefully removed.
Following this a generous coat of woodworm treatment was applied and then on the 1st of May a team consisting of Phil Jarvis, David Skelton, Alan Kime, Bob Badhams, Alan Rix, Kevin and Helen Ogilvie, Sue Curley and Malcolm Underhill helped coat the floor with a light oak wood stain.
Four days later at the crack of dawn on the 5th of May the varnishing began.
There was then a gap while we waited for Fullers to finish another job before the Mastic was put down around the edges of the tiles and Sean and his team came back to clear the site.
Cleaning Up ...
Finally on the 19th of June we had our clean up day – sadly a day when most people were away but a faithful few worked from dawn till dusk to dust, mop and get most of the larger items back into place in church.
Amongst them were Dr Ian Macdonald and son in law Ben Fincham ...
... and not forgetting Fr Cliff who suffered numerous jokes about trust and being High Church.
Thanks also to Sally Clargo who provided endless sustenance and to Christian Halford who cleaned out the food cupboard in the kitchen!
The following morning Sunday 27th June we were back in Church, which was superb timing because not only were we hosting the combined parish Baptism and Confirmation service that evening ...
... but also the Willesden Episcopal area ordination of priests the following Saturday morning.
The end result of all the hard work!