Amey and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) restore stunning Grade ll* Listed Senior Gun Room at Britannia Royal Naval College

23 November 2021
Inside a classic vintage hall.
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Amey, the UK’s leading provider of critical services for the public sector and UK Defence, have successfully completed a truly remarkable restoration of the Grade ll* Listed Senior Gun Room (SGR) dining room at Britannia Royal Naval College, in Dartmouth. 

This historic building is part of the W block main which forms part of the main college buildings, completed in 1905, which have Grade ll* listings. The room reflects the historic links to life on board ship; meals were taken on the gun deck and the Gunnery Officer was responsible for training Officer Cadets. It is one of the principal formal spaces within the college and has played host to numerous formal dinners. 

In 2018, deterioration was found in the building and Amey engaged conservation specialists, High-Tech Services, to carry out an initial safety assessment. This identified significant decline of the internal heritage window stone mullions fabric, and on the grounds of safety, the SGR was placed out of bounds.  

Further analysis identified that internal faces of the stonework had been historically repaired with epoxy resins and painted with a lead petrochemical-based paint. Both had provided barriers to free evaporation of moisture which led to detachment and erosion of the base stone and paint coatings. The trapped moisture had also caused the embedded iron fixings and cramps to corrode and expand, leaving much of the stonework tracery cracked at the joints and in an unstable condition. This led to a controlled trial to identify how best to remove the resins/paint film and allow the stonework to breathe and dry out. 

Repairs then commenced, with the careful removal of leaded lights and ferramenta, the interlocking system of metal bars that support the glazing, to allow access to the stone tracery. High-Tech Services worked closely with a Historical Building consultant and local stonemasons to produce detailed drawings of the decay and the methodology required to remove this film and carry out the extensive heritage repairs. 

These dedicated local stonemasons, over a prolonged period and with great care and attention, individually cut each stone by hand and carried out every detailed repair to an extremely high standard. The opportunity also allowed the magnificent high-level chandeliers fixings to be inspected and lamps to be replaced. 

Every stage of the process, was liaised and endorsed by the Local Building Authority Conservation Heritage Specialist Officer, meticulously project managed by Amey and overseen throughout by DIO’s Regional Delivery, South West. 

Steve Briggs, Amey’s Project Manager said: “The key to successfully delivering this important project was the great communication between everyone involved. The specialist knowledge of High-Tech Services and the highly skilled team of Westcountry Stonemasons produced impressive, honest repairs that more than satisfied the requirements of the Local Authority Conservation Officer. I’m delighted that this stunning heritage place has been accurately restored to its former glory and extended its life for the foreseeable future.” 

Sean Mather, DIO’s Estate Facilities Manager, added: “A huge thank you to the Amey project team, Heritage Structural Engineer, Stonemasons and particularly Steve Briggs, for his project management, the majority of which is conducted behind the scenes thus allowing everything to keep on track. His efforts to ensure continued stakeholder engagement took place throughout are fully appreciated”. 



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