When the newly-named St Pancras Renaissance London Hotel re-opened its doors on 5th May 2011, it was the culmination of five years of careful and resourceful restoration and £200 million of investment. Working alongside specialist brickwork contractor Irvine Whitlock, Lime Technology supplied its hydraulic lime mortar to ensure the sympathetic redevelopment of one of London’s landmark buildings.
Designed by George Gilbert Scott, the Midland Grand Hotel opened in 1873. However, the grandiose, gothic-style hotel welcomed its last paying guests some 76 years ago and was used as offices up until the 1980s. To make the building once again viable as a hotel, it required significant structural works including partial demolition and substantial renovations, as well as the construction of a new West Wing to create 187 new rooms.
Following Lime Technology’s involvement in the successful refurbishment of the West Elevation at St Pancras Station, completed in 2007, specifiers again insisted that the mortar used would have to be an exact match to the original. Once again, Limetec® hydraulic lime mortar from Lime Technology, proved the natural choice.
To ensure the highest quality and most closely matched mortar was provided at the station redevelopment, Lime Technology took samples from various parts of the train station to be analysed for type, strength, colour and sand grading. More than 150 different mortar samples were trialled before an agreement was reached to use SP80C (external brickwork), SP80D (undercroft), SP151 and SP161 (stonework). For the hotel, Lime Technology again used this extensive research to provide the most suitable and closely matched mortar – SP80C.
Specialist brickwork contractor Irvine Whitlock was appointed to complete the sympathetic restoration of a number of brickwork and stonework elements, as well as the creation of a new hotel wing. Using a team of highly-skilled craftsmen, Irvine Whitlock completed the detailed brickwork refurbishment and new-build project, blending harmoniously with the hotel’s original brick masonry.
To assist the carefully considered construction process in the busy city-centre location, the Limetec® mortar was delivered in a tanker and stored on site in a silo mixing station. Whilst reducing the space used on an often crowded building site, this innovative system also ensured that the factory batched mortar was consistent in both colour and mix ratio, whilst minimising wastage.
Developed by Lime Technology, Limetec® offers all the traditional benefits of the original lime mortar, produced with contemporary manufacturing techniques. Lime mortar has the ability to accommodate slight building movements caused by settlement or thermal stock. So, unlike cement based mortar, it enables the reduction or elimination of expansion joints in buildings.
Now complete, and open to the public 137 years after first opening its doors, the new St Pancras Renaissance London Hotel stands as a fine example of what can be achieved with the careful collaboration between the industry leading architects, specifiers, craftsmen and products.