'Repair Shop' to the rescue as landmark's rotten spire is restored

The wooden spire was rotten inside and out before Ian Loudfoot of Studio Cabinets worked his ‘Repair Shop’ magic on it. Now it looks as good as new
The wooden spire was rotten inside and out before Ian Loudfoot of Studio Cabinets worked his ‘Repair Shop’ magic on it. Now it looks as good as new

Today's Object of the Week is a spire, the repair of which was the pinnacle of achievement.

WHEN Hoults Yard projects chief Mark Coulter needed a new spire for the landmark Clock Tower within his business hub, he knew exactly who to ask.

Studio Cabinets, owned by Ian Loudfoot, are the Newcastle’s Yard’s longest-serving tenants, having opened their workshop back in the early 1990s.

Most of their work is creating bespoke home furniture and restoring old furniture, but Mark turned to the Yard’s own ‘Repair Shop’ once he realised the dire state of the Clock Tower’s signature spire.

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“We’re lucky to have him on the Yard – he’s a true craftsman, a one-off, and also a lovely guy. He’d be great on The Repair Shop and that’s how we often use him on the Yard,” said Mark.

The Northern Echo: Ian Loudfoot
The Northern Echo: Ian Loudfoot

Ian Loudfoot

The roof of the Victorian-era Clock Tower was being repaired when the condition of the spire gave cause for concern. More than 150 years of standing proud over Hoults Yard had taken its toll, and the wood was rotten inside and out.

“It was a bit of a mess,” said Ian. “It was a restoration rather than a replacement, but it took a lot of work. A lot of the wood had just rotted away so I spliced in new wood and then worked it into the right shape.

“Because it was the spire, the rest of the roof couldn’t be finished until I’d completed the work so there was a bit of pressure.

The Northern Echo: The rotten spire before Ian started working on it
The Northern Echo: The rotten spire before Ian started working on it

The rotten spire before Ian started working on it

“The whole piece had to be stabilised first as it was soft in the middle, so to dry it out we left it in the boiler house for a few days. I then filled the whole structure with glue, working on it, shaping it after the glue had dried, and then starting again. I had to be very patient and it took about three weeks to complete from start to finish.

“It was interesting work and it was great to feel you were adding something to the unique nature of the Yard. Most of our work is creating bespoke home furniture like radiator cabinets and repairing furniture, but every now and again we’ll be asked to do something like this and we’re only too happy to help.”

The Northern Echo: Work in progress on the spire
The Northern Echo: Work in progress on the spire

Work in progress on the spire

Mark added: “The restored spire will soon be back in place and we’re delighted with the work Ian has done.”

* For more about Studio Cabinets, go to www.studiocabinets.com

To find out more about HyHubs, who operate Hoults Yard, Haylofts and Hypoint in Gateshead, go to www.hyhubs.com

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