Should you have visited the Museum of London over the last few months, you may have noticed the scaffolding and tarpaulin covering a section of the Roman London Wall, known as ‘Bastion 14′, which sits directly underneath the museum’s Roman gallery.
This was to allow the Museum of London Archaeology’s Geomatics Team and Standing Buildings Team to work on the structure whilst Nimbus Conservation carried out conservation works.
The two teams of archaeologists worked together in order to produce detailed elevations of the structure showing the different types of building materials and the existing features. Documentary research into the Bastion’s history was also undertaken using the City of London’s records held at the London Metropolitan Archive.
The comparison between the archival information and the observation of the fabric will lead to the reconstruction of the history of the remains of the bastion and identification of a sequence of development phases.
There is a wealth of information on their work available on the Museum of London Archaeology website here.
Here, Jane Sidell, English Heritage’s (external link) Inspector of Ancient Monuments for London, helps us uncover what was happening underneath:
Bastion 14 has been gradually decaying since the last conservation works over a decade ago. Unfortunately, historic buildings when exposed to the elements tend to deteriorate and consequently require on-going light maintenance. Owing to its deterioration, through weathering, frost-shattering and vegetation growth, the bastion was identified as vulnerable and was placed on the English Heritage, Scheduled Monuments at Risk Register.
A plan and programme of conservation was devised following a condition survey and the work was undertaken by Nimbus Conservation.
The conservation works aimed to secure structural stability, re-point the masonry where needed, using traditional lime mortars, reversing some elements of unsympathetic repairs undertaken in the past.
The excellent work undertaken really shows much more clearly how the bastion would have functioned as a defensive feature before being gradually overwritten by later buildings such as the warehouses and workshops known in the vicinity.
The conservation programme was commissioned through the City Surveyors Department at the City of London Corporation who very generously funded the project.