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Last updateTue, 10 Dec 2019 2pm

Stopping the rot at Morpeth’s 170-year old railway station

Morpeth Railway Station is currently undergoing essential restorative work to repair extensive damage to the building’s structure. First opened in 1847, technicians from Peter Cox are treating the historic station for dry rot and rising damp so that the building can continue to serve as an important travel hub for the region. 

Highly regarded as a classic example of Victorian railway architecture on the East Coast Mainline, work is being carried out in a sensitive way to ensure the building retains its heritage and unique features. Morpeth Railway Station is a key transport link for Northumberland residents - and has a bright future with its empty rooms being converted into an enterprise centre for small businesses.

Peter Cox surveyors found signs that rainwater had penetrated the external walls due to defects including the guttering, defective roof coverings and flashings, alongside visible signs of dampness due to the lack of a working damp proof course. Due to the moisture ingress dry rot outbreaks were noted in the roof and floor timbers, as well as the window linings and skirtings boards. 

The restoration process 

To reverse the damage of the dry rot outbreak, Peter Cox is carrying out timber repairs and treatments to the roof, first floor and ground floor. This includes cutting out and renewing timber wall plates, cutting back rafter ends and repairing roof trusses. A toxic box (cordon sanitaire) is also being created with fungicidal fluid to the stonework, to prevent further problems in the longer term.

Successful eradication of fungal decay is dependent upon the prevention of further entry of moisture into the building and keeping the timbers dry. A new damp proof course is being installed to the ground floor of the building from the inside, to ensure minimum disturbance, and the protection of the external ashlar façade of the building. 

Chris Hansom, Senior Surveyor Northumberland & Durham Region at Peter Cox said: “Morpeth Railway Station is an important part of Northumberland’s heritage and this new lease of life will enable visitors to enjoy its history. It’s incredibly rewarding to help restore the building back to its full splendour.

“Rainwater entering the station over the years led to timbers registering a moisture content above 20 percent, which means the wood is susceptible to fungal growth and needs replacing. The rising damp and fungal decay treatments we’re carrying out come with a 20-year guarantee, protecting the building against further recurrence where restoration has been carried out.” 

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