Local landmark requiring renovation.
Published: Thursday, 8th December 2016
As a small business, Collars is always on the lookout for ways to diversify and our expertise in ‘glue lam’ construction has resulted in our involvement in interesting bespoke, architectural projects
A chance conversation between the project manager and one of the HRR trustees, who’d previously bought a mast from Collars, pointed them in our direction. The brief we were asked to tender on was the replacement of all 10 of the timber pillars supporting the temple roof and to make new sections of the cupola’s perimeter architrave. After numerous years of ongoing refurbishment, these areas were now beyond repair.
After several site visits, our proposal was presented to the committee and approved in November 2015. Because of the historic importance of the building, the conservation officer from Wokingham Borough Council also had to be consulted but they too were reassured by the plan we had put together.
Production started on the 10 columns in the workshop throughout January. An R & D exercise was undertaken and the decision was to make each column in 2 halves, using specially designed jig and our glue lamination technique. Flutings were routed into the columns around the top section, matching the originals exactly. With the help of some cleverly designed spindle moulder patterns, detailed decorative mouldings were made and added around the top and base, to finish the column off.
Once construction was complete, the pillars were epoxy primed followed by several coats of Epifanes Polyurethane, mixed to the approved colour. All we had to do now, was sit out the winter floods and wait for the River Thames at Henley to come off the danger, red board signs, then we could have access to the island. Time was ticking on and the first wedding of the season was looming.
Finally, the river dropped, the currents eased and the other craftsmen working on the Temple roof were ready for us to move in. The delicate operation of transporting the columns began. Quite a sight to see them being ferried across from Remenham, 4 halves at a time in the HRR launch.
For 2 gloriously sunny weeks in May, 6 members of the Collars team were pulled from our workshop, along with the coffee machine, to ensure the temple was rebuilt to it’s former glory, ready for the start of wedding celebrations, festivals and, of course, the annual Henley Royal Regatta.