Cold weather slows Cupola work

Cupola House, The Traverse, Bury St Edmunds.

Cupola House, The Traverse, Bury St Edmunds. - Credit: Andrew Partridge

Despite a cold snap earlier this year delaying work, the refurbishment of the fire-damaged Cupola House, in Bury St Edmunds, is aimed to be finished in a matter of months.

A recent update to traders by architects Purcell revealed problems had surfaced in January that delayed work but it was confirmed the project was “estimated for completion” in late spring.

Simon Marks, from Purcell, told traders: “Due to the cold weather experienced in the beginning of the year, progress on the lime rendering work to the exterior has slowed.”

He said this was because the lime-based render would not set if the temperature was below 5°C.

He added it was “essential” each layer was complete before the next was applied.

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As a result, the external work was still under way in February and redecoration of the outside walls was unable to start. Mr Marks said: “Once the redecoration is complete the external scaffolding will be removed.”

Recently, businesses in the Traverse were celebrating every shop unit being filled for the first time since the huge blaze in June 2012, when the listed building then housed a Strada restaurant.

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Around 120 staff and diners were evacuated but no-one was hurt after the fire started in the kitchen of the five-storey building.

The rear of the five-storey building collapsed entirely and work has been going on for more than three years to restore it to its former glory.

Mr Marks told traders that internally the reconstruction of the timber-panelled wall linings was under way and decorating had started.

The structure for the staircase is in place and as the decorations to each floor are completed – top to bottom – each oak stair carriage will be installed to that floor.

The roof tiling is nearly completed, after which the roof to the cupola will be re-leaded.

Some of the more recognisable features of the building have already been refitted, with the high-level cornice restored and the “intricately-carved” brackets and rosettes refixed, he said.

“The repaired cornice incorporates the sections that survived the fire, and new brackets and rosettes have been carved to replace those that were burnt,” added Mr Marks.

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