Posted Dec 7 2023 | By Mark Fineberg

Inside Bristol Beacon: Heritage Fabric and Salvage

A key listed building consent condition covered removal and reinstatement of selected artifacts ranging in size from the entire organ screen to a decommissioned Victorian WC pan that was languishing in the cellar:


Prior to commencement of the relevant element, a method statement detailing the removal of the following features and fabric proposed for reuse, their safe storage on site, their proposed new locations, their method of reinstatement, and all modifications required in their reuse shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority

1. 6x cherubs

2. 1x carved coat of arms

3. Timber panelling from main auditorium

4. Electrolysers and wall-mounted lights

5. 2x relief plaques

6. 1952 rededication tablet

7. Edwardian turned balusters.

8. Pennant slabs from cellar levels

9. Historic WC pan

10. Bonded warehouse doors

11. Red and yellow facing brick

12. 3x relief panels from the main elevation

13. Wrought iron spandrels should they survive behind later boxing-in in lantern

14. Hall 1 Timber Floor


In addition to this the host plaques for the lantern roundel panels started to rapidly deteriorate once the building’s heating was turned off and the moisture levels increased in their host walls. (fig. 1, 2, 3)

These plaques were removed for safekeeping although controversially they honoured city grandees whose fortunes were founded on slave derived wealth, chocolatiers such Frys or tobacconists such as Wills. Following the toppling of the Colston statue, the authorities deliberated on an appropriate strategy for dealing with the plaques and it was decided that they should be reinstated with explanatory texts. All artifacts were scheduled and method statements for removal and transfer to safe storage were agreed with the conservation officer. (fig. 4)

The salvaged material was transported to the council’s storage facilities where we catalogued everything and scheduled the required repair works (fig. 5, 6)

Data sheets were drafted to specify the repairs. (fig. 7, 8)

… and the pieces were reinstalled in new host locations (fig. 9, 10)

or reinstated in their original locations… (fig. 11)