Region: North West
Local Authority: Stockport
Year of Intervention: 1994 - 2004
Summary: Listed Grade II*, the 15th century Staircase House underwent extensive conservation and restoration works between 1994 and 2004. Utilising previous research, a detailed appraisal was undertaken in 1994–5 to provide an initial understanding of the building to inform a major programme of repair.
Description: Based on an English Heritage Level 3 record this involved a variety of techniques including documentary research, historic fabric analysis, total station and hand measured survey, rectified and record photography, dendrochronology and archaeological excavation. Recording levels and guidelines on their use are explained in the English Heritage Publication, Understanding Historic Buildings: A Guide to Good Recording Practice.
Issue: The value of undertaking a preliminary appraisal was highlighted when a serious fire broke out in November 1995 just before the site was purchased by Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council. The fire caused serious damage to the structure and a long delay to the project. The second stage of survey work began in 1999 and finished in 2004 when the restoration was finally completed.
Strategy: The survey fulfilled the requirements of conditions attached to the listed building consent and planning permission and was guided by a brief prepared by the local planning authority. It involved additional survey work, a watching brief during the renovation, dendrochronology and further historical research.
Outcome: The information from the survey not only refined the scheme and avoided any damaging impacts, but was also used as the basis for a new exhibition on the development of Staircase House and a guidebook.
Keywords: REPAIR, RECONSTRUCTION, RESTORATION
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