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Surveys & consultancy



At Hirst Conservation we regularly act as consultants on both small and large scale projects.  We also undertake condition surveys, to record the present condition of the object/building, highlighting areas of failure or concern; better understand the nature, history, technology and significance of the object; investigate previous interventions; identify causes of historic and ongoing deterioration and finally, to present conservation recommendations based on the results of the survey. A bound and illustrated report is provided, in which the findings of the survey are detailed, along with recommendations for the development of an appropriate strategy for stabilisation.  Having worked closely with English Heritage, the Cathedral and Church Buildings Commission and Cadw, Hirst Conservation keeps up-to-date with the documentation requirements of these organisations.

Following a survey, we may recommend the use of Humbug data loggers to monitor environmental conditions inside and outside a building over a period of time. The results are interpreted to establish daily and seasonal fluctuations in temperature and RH, identifying potential hazard periods. We also undertake moisture and salt profiling of historic fabric using protimeters, capacitance and/or carbide meters. These instruments can indicate both salt and moisture content of the material being analysed.  Additional, non-intrusive salt profiling can be achieved using Merckoquant test strips for nitrates, sulphates and chlorides. All results will be interpreted and recommendations provided for the development of an appropriate strategy to stabilise the building’s environment.

Some of our projects include:

  • St Francis Monastery, Gorton, Manchester: Comprehensive assessment of condition in conjunction with salt and moisture profiling, testing and sampling of the stone and plasterwork, painted decoration and marouflaged canvas paintings to the interiors;
  • Air-raid Shelter, Mortlake: Condition survey and conservation assessment of the St Leonard’s Court Air-raid shelter and contents;
  • Ripon Cathedral: Condition survey and recommendations of 12th century transept portal;
  • London Murals: Condition surveys of the Fizrovia, Cable Street and Hackney Peace Carnival murals, including recommendations for stabilisation and repair;
  • Island Farm, Bridgend: Condition assessment of the painted images associated with the Prisoner of War Camp at Island Farm, Bridgend;
  • Harlech Castle, Wales: Salt and moisture profiling of masonry to advise on environmental considerations for enclosure of gatehouse;
  • Gothic Ruin, Frogmore Estate, Windsor Castle: Environmental monitoring and moisture and salt profiling to inform conservation proposals.
  • St Mary’s, Studley Royal: Environmental monitoring, moisture and salt profiling to inform conservation proposals;
  • Jesus College Chapel, Cambridge: Environmental monitoring to assess the impact of re-decoration works on the William Morris painted ceiling;
  • St Pancras Chambers, London: Consultants for plaster restoration and surveys of historic plasterwork in 600 rooms.