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Victorian tile restoration

Extensive refurbishment work being undertaken within the historic Manchester Victoria railway station has included detailed Victorian tile restoration work on badly damaged ceramic tiling dating back to the building’s original construction: carried out by national cosmetic repair specialist, Plastic Surgeon.

victorian tile restoration repairIn this instance Plastic Surgeon has been working for Quadriga, which is itself a sub-contractor for Morgan Sindall – a national company that has used the fine finishing specialist’s services on several projects over recent years.

The location was a set of old staff toilets which Network Rail was required to restore as part of wider refurbishment work at Manchester Victoria, which contained a variety of plain and highly decorative tiles, including ones taking the form of a sculpted cornice.

Following on from an initial survey by the North Western region’s technical sales representative, and the award of an initial order for a week long contract, two of Plastic Surgeon’s highly trained Finishers went to site.

In some areas, the damage was so severe that almost nothing of the original tiles survived and the Finishers had to reconstruct the overall profile using Ultra-Premium filler; shaping and smoothing it as they worked.

restore victorian tileThen with the surface form and texture correct, they used their small dremils to chase out the joint lines, before all of the designs and the simulated grouting could be tinted and coloured.

Steve Fisher, the operations manager in charge of the work for Plastic Surgeon, commented: “This was the first set of four staff lavatories featuring old Victorian tiles, which we were asked to restore as part of the work being undertaken by Morgan Sindall and our immediate client, Quadriga. Some of the tiles were missing or badly damaged and needed rebuilding which was no easy task.

“The architect wanted us to get the different plain and profiled tiles back to their original appearance, though to keep them looking a little bit weathered. There were two sections either side of a ceiling beam that we were told to fill flat, rather than trying to recreate the intricate profile: but our Finisher – who is a very good artist – painted it, using shading to suggest relief, so that the client actually thought she had reproduced the full shape.The Finishers showed a lot of skill, working in confined conditions. We have since been asked to carry out further work on another set of toilets and we are now in line to be awarded a contract in the main concourse of the station.”

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