Work to breathe new life into the historic Hydraulic Tower and Engine House at Everton Stadium is nearing completion.
The Grade II Listed buildings, dating back to 1883, have been painstakingly restored to former glories as an integral part of the Club’s new waterfront stadium site at Bramley-Moore Dock.
And with new roofing in place, internal spaces stabilised, steel pillars and beams cleaned and protected and the crumbling brickwork undertaking a sensitive makeover, workers will shortly install the aluminium windows that will finally seal the building from the corrosive elements and make it watertight ahead of the internal fit-out.
“We spent a lot of time understanding the challenges and how we can make improvements and we are very pleased with how the work has progressed”, insisted Chris Spragg, Project Leader for Laing O’Rourke.
“The Tower and Engine House are a key part of the wider site, and have always been a focal point for visitors and people who come to site.
“They’re interested in the history of the building and how it has been brought back to life, so we are really pleased and looking forward to handing it back to Everton for the internal fit-out in the early part of 2024.
“I think it's a fantastic facility to be retained, supported by the council and heritage stakeholders, and it is always going to stand out as its own landmark.”
The Grade II listed Hydraulic Tower and Engine Room - relics from the industrial revolution during the Victorian-era - were an integral part of daily life during the dock’s heyday.
The tower originally contained the steam engine to operate the locks at Bramley-Moore, and also pumped water from one part of the dock to another.
Preserving the building has therefore always been a priority, given its huge importance to the site and eye-catching inclusion in the fan plaza that will eventually provide a jaw-dropping entrance to the stadium site for fans.
A cloak of protective scaffolding was thrown around the structure in the early weeks of the stadium build, to protect it from ground vibrations and provide a frame for external remediation works.
Much of the original brickwork was retained, supplemented by colour-matched bricks sourced from salvage yards, in conjunction with the heritage consultant and Liverpool City Council, to maintain and enhance the final design.
A new gable end has been completed on the western elevation, further strengthening the structure.
Internally, work has involved preserving the existing steelwork by grit blasting and painting, to offer protection and long-term stability to the roof.
Work is now under way to complete knock-throughs between the boiler house and the tower, which will give access to two, new internal rooms, with new concrete ground slabs laid to level up the floor.
The existing roof of the boiler house was cleared of detritus from and screeded, in preparation for waterproofing and a new shingle roof covering.
New roof structures which are sympathetic to the original design were also constructed on the tower and the office block, with a new zinc roof a feature of the former.
Decorative coping stones, which wrap around the perimeter of the flat roof, tie into the new roof construction.
“The rest of the work now is in the detailed design for the windows and doors, which will be installed in October and November,” added Spragg.
“They are new aluminium glazed windows, to current standard. However the look and feel is to match the original design and there are some timber windows which are being retained and repaired, and some new timber windows, which we have worked closely with the Liverpool City Council Heritage Officer to ensure the detailing is appropriate for the detailing.
“After that, there is only some balustrading and handrails on the stairs and a few timber window repairs to be completed.
“We’re progressively completing the external works around the building with the ground being graded, ready for tarmacking and paving towards the end of this year.”