Increasing signs of stone decay led to Studio Trudeau being engaged to assess external fabric of the church. Working with Traditional Restoration Company (conservators) and TTW (structural engineers), a full fabric and structural survey was carried out. The principal finding was that the spire itself is structurally unsound and at risk of collapse.
From this, we formed a full program of conservation and restoration works that include:
- Carefully dismantling the spire and supporting stonework, before rebuilding it to match the existing. This substantial work will re-use all stone assessed as being in sound condition, re-carve any replacement stone to match the existing, and install internal seismic structural steel bracing to minimise future damage.
- Removing the concrete floor of the tower, installed in the 1930s or 60s and causing rising damp and stone decay, replacing it with a suspended timber floor, in keeping with the rest of the church, to improve ventilation and minimise damp.
- Undertaking conservation works on all external facades, including repointing and salt removal.
The St Andrew’s Congregational Church was built in 1854 to the designs of Goold and Field in a simple Gothic style. Using locally quarried stone, the church was built rapidly by William Burt, a local builder, opening in August 1855. While some modifications have taken place since that time, the church remains highly intact.
One of Sydney’s earliest and best used churches, St Andrew’s Congregational Church is a local landmark, highly valued by its congregation and the local community. Since the 1970s, its forecourt has hosted the Balmain Markets, and the church itself has been the venue of countless weddings and services. It is a privilege and an honour to be involved in this project.