The Curzon Cinema - Clevedon
Built in 1912 by local entrepreneur Victor Cox, the Curzon Cinema is one of the oldest and longest running cinemas in the country. It’s huge scale and classical style of Architecture make this an imposing building on Clevedon’s skyline. Over the course of it’s history the cinema has faced many challenges, to the point where it found itself on the brink of closure in 1996. Fortunately this magnificent building and its legacy was saved by a heroic group of local volunteers, the business now flourishes under ownership of the local community.
In 2020 however the building and the business faced another huge challenge, its vast 750m2 roof was leaking like a sieve. This was causing problems to the buildings fabric, the running of the business and the future of the building. Thanks to grant funding from the heritage lottery, further fundraising from the Cinema and other organisations the capitol was raised to wind and waterproof the roof covering and associated high level details.
Corbel were enlisted to carry out the package of works which started at the end of February 2020. A large access scaffold was erected externally to gain access to the roof area, however access constraints and budget meant the roof would have to be done without the luxury of a temporary roof scaffold. Numerous health and safety problems in terms of safe access also had to be overcome. The roof space, in which a significant amount of work was required, sat some 50 feet above the auditorium floor, the timbers which made up the barrel vault were slim at best and the safety of our operatives was paramount. The approach we took was to use specialist rope access operatives to carry out the initial removal of stored and redundant goods and the first set of repairs. A specialist safety netting company were then brought in to install netting below the rafters and over the ceiling structure, this provided fall prevention for both our carpenters and roofers so that works could progress safely. Once safe we then progressed with the phased strip, repair and re-cover of the roof in six individual sections to mitigate the risk of water ingress. Leadwork detailing was modified to cope better with water volumes and masonry repairs were carried out as necessary. Other significant work included the introduction of large steels to assist with the undersized original roof structure, plus steels that linked the original metal trusses to prevent further racking.
Heritage buildings always throw up unforeseen problems and this building was no exception. At Corbel we pride ourselves in the way we manage these variations, careful cost management ensured that once again the project was finished on time and under budget even with the late addition to remove the false ceiling within the auditorium. Introduced in 1972 this ugly expanse of ceiling had blocked the view of the wonderful auditorium for almost 50 years. It was a proud moment to be part of its removal which will allow the public to once again the wonderful Skelionite cladding system, a system that is unique to this building from any other in the UK.