A monumental team effort by Cumbrian tradespeople has restored the roof of Scalesceugh Hall, only six months after fire ripped through the building.
After taking quick action to secure the building, Scalesceugh Hall & Villas co-founder, and project manager, Bruno Herdeiro, put together a team of local tradespeople, who worked through extraordinarily difficult conditions to get the building watertight.
It would usually take at least 15 months to complete such a task, but the unique method of working meant that Bruno’s ambitious target was hit on schedule.
The positive news comes as welcome relief in such difficult times for everyone. While there is still work to do, this is a major milestone.
The restoration was hampered by two of the worst storms Britain has seen in years - Ciara and Dennis - and then, of course, the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus and the requirement for social distancing.
But work carried on through the bad weather, and nobody abandoned the effort when businesses began to close and restrictions on movement were introduced.
'This is unheard of in Cumbria'
Bruno showered praise on the team of roofers, builders, joiners, engineers, stonemasons and other specialists who made the feat possible.
“This degree of collaboration and support is unheard of in Cumbria,” he said.
“It started with the planning authorities, conservation, heritage and building control teams, having the confidence to let us go ahead to save the building.
“We had four different roofing companies working together, taking a section of the project each. We split up the windows contract into three because there are so many windows in the building.
“We had different teams of joiners and stonemasons.
“And the work has been done in the worst six months imaginable. We had to endure two storms, ice, negative temperatures - and then Coronavirus struck.
“I didn’t lose one single member of my team. Some of them could have gone home on furlough and still had most of their wages paid, but they chose to stay and complete the roof.
“And many of them are self employed and not entitled to government support, so we wanted to keep them on and support them.”
'They are exceptional people'
Bruno says proudly: “It was an Herculean effort. They are exceptional people.
“In football, you want to play with the best players. That’s what has happened here.
“In the past six months, we have created an ‘A’ team. People wanted to be a part of it.
“We can’t discount the natural beauty of the building and location - people want to put their name to it.
“But people were also excited that we were endorsing some lost trades, and we were encouraging a high standard of craftmanship that is unusual these days.”
Windows are now being fitted and work is continuing on remedial work required after the fire - all while social distancing is strictly enforced, of course.
Work is also due to re-start on the Spa & Wellness Centre as soon as possible.