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Federation Stone Great Britain / Altas

Lumley Castle, County Durham

Lumly castle historic building staircase restoration


Dating back to the 14th Century, Lumley Castle in Chester-le-Street is a Grade-I listed building and a popular hotel in the heart of the County Durham countryside.

Stone Technical Services' Restoration and Conservation divisions have a longstanding working relationship with Lumley Castle, its owners and its architects having carried out a range of projects including stonemasonry repairs, cast-iron railing restoration and a range of aesthetic preservation to maintain the beauty and heritage of the 600 year-old building.

In addition to renewing the stone staircase, there was also a requirement from the client to assist with the development of a longer term strategic planned maintenance programme for the estate.

As with any commercial operation, budgetary constraints do not permit an endless list of repairs to be carried out at any one time. It is vital that areas which have the greatest potential to do long term harm to the structural integrity of the building are identified and prioritised ahead of any decorative repairs.


This particular project focused on the refurbishment of the feature staircase at Lumley Castle, to the rear of the building which dates back to when the castle was originally built.

Restoration Division was awarded the In April 2013, our contract following our successful completion of previous phases of restoration at the castle and our extensive knowledge of the building spanning a decade.

In order for the refurbishment of the staircase to be long lasting, our team had to fully dismantle both the steps and the treads. This included the paved landings, flanked walls and copings.

We developed a structural design to consolidate the existing earthing foundation and then both the foundation and skeletal structure were installed to the staircase.

As part of the preservation process, the existing sound masonry was reused and our Restoration team developed new masonry by hand using traditional methods, in line with the aesthetics of the castle.

Using the existing materials as a guide, the structural steps and masonry block work were recreated in an identical fashion to the original.


As with any project at Lumley Castle, sensitivities lie in the nature of the building. The age of the building is an obvious consideration along with the building's use i.e. it is in daily and constant use by staff and guests.

However, our vast experience in this field meant that very little disruption occurred during the restoration project and the castle remained fully operational throughout.

Access to the upper doorways of the castle remained unhindered during the programme of works thanks to a scaffolding staircase and associated safety systems that we designed and installed as a temporary measure which even included temporary decorative partition screens complete with their own hanging baskets.

Upon completion of the staircase, we moved on to the second part of the client requirement, a full external survey of the estate. This took the form of a detailed building condition survey carried out via a combination of rope access and mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) access and culminated in a set of high resolution drawings and supporting imagery with prioritised recommendations for critical, semi structural and aesthetic repairs.

"I have worked with Stone Technical Services on Lumley Castle for the past few years. This work is niche and is their speciality.

At Lumley Castle, Stone Technical Services have been our contractors for the stone restoration and this is exactly the area of work in which they excel.

The firm’s record is first rate. The staff are diligent, honest and skilled. Their administration services and site supervision are thorough and I have no hesitation in recommending the company for any project."

Ray Connell
Project Architect

Lumley Castle, County Durham