Restorative Work

 Laurence has a wealth of knowledge with regard to the practice of wood restoration and conservation. This knowledge has led him to be employed in the repair of carved joinery items that would have ordinarily been discarded. These include the restoration of the Jacobean staircase at Staircase House, Stockport, the restoration of the Jacobean Staircase at the Custom House, Exeter, and the replacement of the wooden Automata at St Mary’s Steps Church, Exeter.

Restoration of Medieval Chancel Screen, pieces of new oak were fashioned to fit around the existing historic material none of which was removed, the new pieces were fixed in such a way that they can be removed without detriment to the historic fabric

After repair

 Copies of existing Tudor Rose 

Replication of oak carvings for a church pulpit

Middle Temple, London
Restoration of fire damaged Grinling Gibbons Cherubs:
Three Limewood carved overmantles by Grinling Gibbons were damaged after a devastating fire. One in particular (as pictured) suffered the worse affects, it was at the centre of the fire and required extensive conservation repair, this involved removal, careful cleaning, consolidation, and loose fragments reinstated. After which I assessed the areas of missing carving and carved new sections reinstating the composition of the carving. To balance the new with that of the original I coloured the black charred limewood and finished with a limewood grain effect. Upon refixing the carvings will receive a protective coat of wax. The other two carvings require carved repairs only.



The fire damaged cherubs

New carved section to replace missing piece

Charred faces filled

The completed restoration


Missing panels

New carved panels and muntins

Waterstained and waxed finish



Rescuing an historically important group of buildings for Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council

Staircase House ranks as one of the best preserved examples of medieval and post-medieval urban vernacular buildings in an urban context within North West England. The conserved buildings stand as an outstanding demonstration of what can be achieved through the determination and collaboration of a wide range of organisations.

The house lies within the historic market core of Stockport. At various periods a merchant's town house and warehouse, it comprises a two storey range facing the street frontage with timber-framed and stone wings to the rear surrounding an internal courtyard. Six main phases of construction span periods dating from 1460 to the present day.

Stockport MBC had acquired the property derelict, inaccessible and in a state of partial collapse. Our proposals for repair and subsequent reuse provided the basis for successful grant applications to a range of funding agencies, including the Heritage Lottery.

In view of its significance, it was proposed that the house should become a museum interpreting its social history and its various forms of vernacular construction. Work began on site in November 2001 and included the stabilisation of the structure, reconstruction of the 19th century front façade, restoration of the 17th and 18th century interiors and conservation of the timber framing and wattle and daub. The carved newel staircase, from which the building takes its name, had been badly fire damaged. Its careful reconstruction involved conserving as much of the remaining fabric as possible. A new building to house visitor facilities, shop and education room was constructed alongside the historic building and work was completed in March 2004 at a cost of £3.1m. Linford-Bridgeman Ltd of Lichfield was the principal contractor.

Redecorated Automata Figures with lead capping to shoulders, feet and base. St Thomas Salisbury.

Redecorated Cross

Replacement oak tracery panels and backboards to mediaeval screen, South Devon.

Copy of post cap to Altar table

Cleaning and repair in progress to Oak cresting

New Limewood pieces fixed and carved

Automata in poor condition

Automata renewed and decorated


Beckfords Artworks

Mr Laurence J. W. Bekford

7 Jury Road, Dulverton
TA22 9DX

Telephone: 0772 4452 961