Looking at Lyle Park, Putney is like stepping back in time. A beautiful period property rumoured to belong to the Victorian entrepeneur Abram Lyle, co-founder of Tate & Lyle sugar company, it sits on Putney Hill. This large Victorian villa was completed in 1892, shortly after Abram Lyle's death, but in the 1950s it did come into the hands of the Lyle family, who converted it into a retirement home.
Today Lyle Park is a managed building comprising a mixture of one and two bedroom leasehold flats. With time and traffic the property had lost some of its original lustre, so MCD Heritage were contracted to undertake extensive external repairs and refurbishments to help to bring Lyle Park back to its original beauty.
Introduction to the works at Lyle Park
The project involved considerable work to the front façade of the property that had sadly fallen into disrepair due to the close proximity of the heavily trafficked road. It was paramount that all materials used should match existing, which in places was challenging, especially as the roof partially consisted of Welsh slate tiles, and the stone corbels had crumbled.
The copper veranda roof is perhaps the most sticking and dramatic feature of Lyle Park. Conserving it and restoring it to its original state was one of the main requirements. Over time the roof had rusted and discoloured due to weathering. It also appeared dirty and had lost its uniform colour.
What Works Did MCD Heritage Undertake?
- Once the scaffolding had been erected and all health and safety precautions put in place (including working with the Management Company, surveyor, and residents) the buildings were jet washed from top to bottom. This enabled us to see the state of the brickwork, pointing, corbels, and helped us to have a better idea of the work that was needed.
- We set to work repairing all the roofs including those that were asphalt, slate, and Welsh slate. This included removing all lichen and moss growth, closing cracks in the asphalt of the flat roofs, replacing cracked slates, and sourcing natural Welsh slates so that the roofs were left water-tight and in a good state of repair that match the existing roofs.
- The surface of all copper roofs were carefully cleaned so that all soiling and black deposits were removed. To achieve this we used salt mixed with white vinegar and left the area ready for oxidising in the following months to achieve regular oxidised appearance and a uniform pure metal appearance. We took the utmost care when working on the copper roofs to ensure that the surrounding surfaces were adequately protected.
- The brick and stonework to all elevations were inspected so that we could identify all areas where there was rain ingress. The mortar was replaced making sure that care was taken to match the colour of the original. All frost damaged bricks were refaced, and all defective stone cills were repaired and waterproofed. Specialist contractors were brought in to undertake repairs to the moulded stone corbels, cornice, and string-courses once they had been cleaned.
- All render was cleaned and repaired as necessary. Where surfaces were friable the area was sealed and then repainted.
- We found that the sliding sash windows had various problems. Profiles of replacement timbers were taken, then manufactured at our joinery workshop and spliced in as required. Broken sash cords were replaced, and windows eased prior to priming and painting.
- The timber decked verandas were cleaned. repaired and then treated with Ronseal ‘natural’ Decking oil.
- To bring the original black and white entrance floor tiles back to their former glory we thoroughly cleaned the tiles to remove all deposits and marks, and then the existing grouting was removed. After regrouting and polishing the tiles looked stunning.
- To help to ensure that the metalwork looked like new we cleaned, scraped, and rubbed down all painted metal work with a suitable abrasive. All defective surfaces were repaired and then the bare metal was treated with a corrosion inhibitor. The metal was then painted with gloss paint to leave beautiful white pristine metal work.
Lyle Park was transformed by the work that we undertook. Taking just 3 months to complete, and keeping in budget, we were able to rejuvenate the property making the period features look like new.
This was a particularly satisfying project and we were so pleased to receive highly favourable feedback from both the surveyor and residents. Seeing the stone corbels and copper veranda roof looking so beautiful, and enhancing the look of the house, made the project really worthwhile, especially as we know that we will have helped to extend the life of the building. We think that the Lyle family would have been pleased.