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News » St Joseph’s Church, Sailortown, Belfast

Prolonged rainwater penetration is one of the greatest threats to any historic building. At St Joseph’s Church it is one of a number of risks identified by the Sailortown Regeneration Group as it provides a “meanwhile use” for this important historic building.

Despite the overall poor condition of the historic fabric, we aimed to do as little as possible, but as much as was necessary to deal with this issue. We are currently repairing a number of the slated roofs and the rainwater disposal system including renewing a side aisle roof to its original form. This new work includes moulded structural timbers to match the original and the reinstatement of missing rooflights. The work includes thermal upgrading to contemporary standards and future proofing the distribution of rainwater elements by increasing sizes and outlets.

Provided that the original component was continuing to safely fulfil its original function, we have not straightened or removed signs of age or natural weathering. The new materials specified are compatible with the historic fabric we are working on so that we do not exacerbate decay nor prevent future treatments. When this phase of repair is complete it will complement the work already undertaken by Albert Fry Associates when they stabilised the Tower. This work will allow the building fabric to dry naturally over time, allowing its “meanwhile use” to develop and ensure that future phases can retain as much of the historic fabric as possible.