St Michael’s Abbey, Farnborough, is an active Benedictine church nestled in the heart of the Hampshire countryside. Opened in 1881, this Gothic-revival landmark, which houses the remains of French Emperor Napoleon III, was in urgent need of a deep conservation clean, following decades of residual build-up from daily monastic duties – and latterly – tourism and events.
Work commenced in the Abbey over two phases – cleaning and repairs of the internal stone work inside of the Abbey and the Sacristy. DBR Conservation cleaned of all masonry through the application of Remmers Arte Mundit latex paste. The painted surfaces were refreshed using Vulpex detergent and light, natural brushes. Gilding work required the use of V&A Mix, comprising white spirit, water and symperonic non-ionic detergent to restore the original lustre. A light cleaning was carried out on the memorials, altars and fonts, which were carefully swabbed due to their fragile marble surfaces & intricate pietra dura panels.
Masonry repairs and re-pointing were carried out internally, done in unison between the DBR Stonemason and
DBR Conservation. Ornamental carvings in the Nave and window surrounds were hand-crafted and installed, and carefully pointed mortar repairs were carried out throughout the interior. This created a uniform appearance to the interior of the Abbey without distracting from the historic nature of the space.
Phase I of conservation work to the Nave, Transepts, Crossover and Chancel was completed in May 2022, with phase 2 of conservation cleaning services on the Abbey’s sacristy completed in July.