Wakefield Cathedral Project 2013

client: Dean and Chapter of Wakefield Cathedral
engineer: Edward Morton
status: Completed
value: £5m
role: Structural Engineers

All Saints Church at Wakefield is on the site of a Saxon church which was re-built by the Normans. This was again re-built in 1329, and then largely re-built again in 1469 when it was also enlarged. It continued to grow and in 1888 with the creation of the Diocese of Wakefield, became the Cathedral Church to the city and the diocese.

Project 2013 sought to make the building fit for the 21st century and beyond by making the nave and associated aisle completely accessible and also flexible by removing the Victorian pews. This allows the space to be used not only for worship, but also community and education functions, a cooperate venue, exhibitions, music recitals, performances and much more.

Development work including archaeological evaluation trenches, ground probing radar (gpr) non-destructive testing, and extensive dialogue with lime suppliers and specialists.

The works included the careful lifting of the existing stone flags, excavation down to formation level under archaeological conditions, and then laying of a new breathable structural limecrete floor bearing on recycled foam glass insulation. This had to have troughs created for the service runs. This is one of the largest limecrete slabs laid in the country at over 600m2. Over the limecrete was a lime screed incorporating the underfloor heating and then the lime bedding for the new stone paving.

As well as the floor other works of repair and cleaning were undertaken to the fabric as well as complete re-servicing and new lighting.

The project was explained in a Study Day in May 2013 for the Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association including a presentation by Ed Morton on ‘The Design and Philosophy of Lime Concrete (Limecrete) Structural Slabs and the slab at Wakefield Cathedral’