Darlington Library

Boy, the boys have been busy!

The joiners


I share this photo tentatively as when we popped it on our social media page, to highlight the good work the team were doing in the staggering heat, the comments got a little, erm, interesting!

However, as much of the works are taking place to the roof, I thought it would be good to shine a light on the team who are installing the safety platforms which allow the glaziers and roofers access to the job.

The photographs taken by drone are probably the best way to really capture the complexity of the library roof. It consists of nine individual roof structures which are all single glazed with valleys between to shed the rainwater.

Drone shot

To provide access for the roofing team to remove and store the tiles, replace guttering, fit the damp proof membrane, and systematically reinstate the tiles, the joinery team must ensure that the area is accessible and safe to work on.

Preparatory work has included installing temporary platforms under the ceiling laylights; which allows further temporary floor staging and platforms in the roof voids to provide fall protection for those working.

Platforms and staging

This was no mean feat! Access to the areas is extremely tight, and carrying out work in confided spaces during the heat wave was certainly a challenge for the team.

New roof


One section of the roof has already been completed and, as Natural England would want it to, it looks much like it did before. The existing tiles are being reinstated where possible and, so far, no replacements have been necessary. The guttering required replacing. So, to conform with heritage standards, we sourced a suitable cast iron replacement. The specialist lead worker has been installing, shaping, and dressing the lead valleys, guttering and dovecotes.

myself, Alistair and Rich

I donned my hard hat, again, and went to new heights to see the work around the dovecotes. Site manager, Richard, showed me the work on the first dovecote and explained to me that the original capping needed to be redesigned, as it was beginning to fail due to the panelling being too large. Over time, the stresses from the weather conditions meant that the original lead was beginning to split.

Old Dovecote 

New Dovecote 

To ensure the building remains watertight for years to come, the new design will allow for the expansion and contraction of the lead; preventing this problem from reoccurring.

Rich and myself

It is a huge privilege to be able to get up high onto our roof with the team and to see, so closely, the work that is going on to restore our precious library. Although slightly cloudy, the platforms gave me incredible views. And the fresh air invigorated my mind. I decided that next time I’ll take a good book up there!

Suzy | Library Manager

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