Britain is home to an abundance of beautiful and historically significant buildings. In England alone, there are around 500,000 listed buildings according to Historic England. Without the correct maintenance many of these buildings will begin to deteriorate. Historic building restoration and maintenance preserves these high-value buildings for the future. However, restoring historic buildings is expensive,… Read More
Scottish Granite’s Part of the Big Apple’s History
It is known as the ‘granite city’ – which is the reason New York architects have contacted Aberdeenshire stonemasons to help with a colourful and historic building.
The Windermere apartment block, build in 1881, underwent restoration and part of a restoration project which involves replacing three ornamental red granite pillars at the front of the building. After much detective work on the part of a Scottish stonemason company Fyfe Glenrock in Old Meldrum, it was discovered that the polished granite used in the pillars were originally from a quarry near Peterhead in Scotland.
Peterhead granite makes its way across the Atlantic
The stone, known as Peterhead Granite, had been imported across the Atlantic when the Windermere was being constructed, prompting architects to believe that Scottish stonemasons were probably involved in the building’s construction too. Today, they are again, with the new Fyfe Glenrock-sculpted pillars travelling across the Atlantic to the Big Apple. The precious stone creations – which consist of the ‘best part of 40 tonnes in blocks’ were wrapped in foam and transported in wooden crates.
The 160-year-old Fyfe Glenrock firm has also provided the famous red Scottish granite for the country’s Parliament, the Millicent Fawcett Suffragist Memorial in London and the smart Silver Fin Building in the Granite City of Aberdeen itself. Peterhead granite also comes in a blue shade and this too can be found in London – in the fountains in Trafalgar Square, no less. Today the stone is still quarried at Stirlinghill and Longhaven but it’s now mostly used for aggregate.
Word is that Peterhead Granite was also used to construct the Brooklyn Bridge. The Scottish stonemasons at Fyfe Glenrock believe it was used to create the bridge’s parapet bases.
Windermere restoration welcomed by New Yorkers
Meanwhile, the multi-million-pound restoration of The Windermere was welcomed by many New Yorkers who see the seven-storey high, three apartment blocks, as a vital part of their city’s history. Originally designed as ‘apartment living for single young women of independent means,’ the Windermere on Ninth Avenue and 57th Street was a highly desirable residence at its completion. Apartments there contained mod cons, such as telephones and a hydraulic lift.
Over the decades though as fashions – and the layout of the city – changed, the building went downhill, Rooms were instead rented out at a pittance to those struggling to find work in the creative communities (actor Steve McQueen once lived there). Eventually the Windermere fell into disrepair. In 2007 it was even declared unfit to live in by the fire department.
Good news however, was just around the corner. The restoration project, paid for by developer Mark Tress, will see The Windermere become a 325-bedroom hotel with a rooftop restaurant. A small number of apartments have also been allocated, while the ground floor will be used to house retail units.
Get in touch
To future-proof or restore part of your historic granite – or any other kind of stonework for that matter – then get in touch with us here at stonecleaningexperts.co.uk.
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