Hadlow Tower

client: The Vivat Trust
engineer: Jag Manku
status: Completed
value: £2.6 million
role: Structural Engineers
procurement: Traditional Tender
duration: 2 years

Hadlow tower is a folly, designed and built by Architect George Ledwell Taylor, between 1835-8 in the Gothic Revival style and remodelled in 1840. The external façade is rendered in Roman cement, with the decorative elements including the pinnacles and splashes pre-cast.

IN the 1980’s the tower was affected by strong winds, which resulted in need to carefully dismantle the unsafe lantern at the head of the tower, as well as some other ad hoc emergency measures. This included the introduction of a large concrete beam to reinstate support to the upper structure.

Following a compulsory purchase of the tower by the Local Authority, The Vivat Trust, with grant support from amongst others The Heritage Lottery Fund,  have taken on the responsibility for procuring the design team and contractor for the extensive repairs and conversion to holiday accommodation. This has included external re-rendering and repairs or re-casting of decoration, insertion of new floors, the introduction of lift access from ground to level 5, with a new elaborate helical steel stair access introduced up to the base of the lantern, with a steel spiral stair up to the top of the new Lantern which doubles as a vertical cantilever to provide additional stability to the re-constructed lantern.

The project commenced in January 2011, and initially involved erecting a full height external access scaffold. The scaffold structure was completed in phases, initially to provide access to square tower structure, then extended to the base of the lantern, with the final lift to allow re-building of the lost lantern structure and large pinnacles.

The internal structural works commenced with stripping of the defective render and plaster, to allow repairs to be instructed. Insertion of the new steel floors followed, including strengthening of the existing retained floors and controlled demolition of internal walls to form the new lift shaft.

Internal access was provided to the base of the lantern to allow surveys inspections to be carried out and design changes to suit the structure. This included a design to retain the 1980’s concrete beam, adapting steel connections to the base of the lantern to support the new lantern structure.

Finally the scaffold structure was extended in it’s last phase, to allow the lantern structure to be re-built, including it’s large pinnacles and new fixed weather vane, and new steel spiral stair inserted to allow internal access to the top of the tower.