St Michael’s Church, Camden

The interior of this Grade II* listed church was in poor condition with considerable damage to the ceiling, prompting conservation efforts.

  • Cleaning the Nave ceiling

    Cleaning the Nave ceiling

  • The church ceiling after conservation

    The church ceiling after conservation

  • Before conservation

    Before conservation

  • Black lettering before and after conservation work

    Black lettering before and after conservation work

  • Conservation work in progress

    Conservation work in progress

The Church of St Michael, Camden Town, is a Grade II* listed church situated in North London. The building and its interior were designed by Bodley and Garner in a Gothic Revival style, with the Nave being completed in 1881, and the chancel added by 1894.

Considerable damage to areas of the ceiling prompted conservation work, and we were commissioned to undertake the conservation of the painted surfaces of the nave and chancel ceiling.

The area of prime concern had severely flaking and curling paint and the plaster had blown. Paint was flaking on the black lettering and there was a heavy layer of surface dirt across the entire ceiling which needed to be removed. 

Trials were undertaken to clean and consolidate the areas of damage.The consolidation was very successful and a significant proportion of original paint was able to be retained. 

Due to the amount of loss in some areas, particularly on the black lettering, a considerable amount of retouching and reinstalment was required. We achieved this by using a filler to bring the lost plaster back to surface level, applying an acrylic basecoat, and replicating the lost design using a stencil traced from areas where stencilled decoration survived. 

Coloured acrylic paints were used to fill in these areas and finally the stained drips which could not be lessened by cleaning were retouched to make them less visible.