St John’s Hall – Midas Construction
The Grade II Listed St John’s Hall has been an iconic structure in Penzance for hundreds of years. When the imposing building needed revitalising, Midas Construction undertook an innovative renovation project to safeguard the hall and its historical contents.
A pivotal part of community life, St John’s Hall is now home to the town’s library, registry office and One Stop Shop. It also includes Royal Geological Society artefacts as well as a Fine Arts collection – the most significant of its kind in a public library anywhere in the region.
It is also a hub of town events, including farmer’s markets, town meetings and Golowan arts festival which brings £1million in to local economy annually.
Midas was engaged by Cornwall Council to take on a £5.9million refurbishment and remodelling of the structure – one of the largest granite buildings in the country.
The building had to offer a modern, interactive community space while keeping a traditional exterior, reflecting the importance of the building, in the past, present and future.
The restoration ensures St John’s remains an important building and Cornwall Council’s decision to ask Midas to breathe new life in to this site has seen it successfully rejuvenated for the whole community.
Skills: Midas’ expert team understood the challenges and restrictions of working on such a site of historical importance and used their construction skills to work to conserve St John’s Hall for future generations. Working sympathetically with specialist craftsmen, Midas was able to revamp and reuse all of the authentic cast-iron radiators. After they were refurbished, the radiators were far more efficient, while retaining the building’s overall traditional look and feel. Works on the building involved a number of specialist heritage trades including lime plastering, sash window refurbishment, stonemasonry, specialist lead work and ornate fibrous plaster mouldings.
Risk: Regular risk mitigation meetings enabled the team to stay on top of any changes and resulted in a smooth and successful work programme.
Added Value: Revitalising St John’s Hall could also have other long-lasting effects on the local economy as people are encouraged to walk further from the main shopping street to discover and support a range of local businesses in the area surrounding the building. St John’s Hall is now an architectural and artistic landmark, mixing modern and traditional design elements, and thanks to the sympathetic and dedicated preservation work of the Midas team, the future of this iconic structure has been secured for the community to continue to enjoy for generations to come.
A key theme of the entire redevelopment was to seamlessly combine modern spaces with the traditional design and architecture of the Grade II Listed St John’s Hall. Much of the building’s infrastructure needed adapting and changing with the team totally replacing the mechanical and technical (M&E) systems to accommodate the new working requirements of those using the building, and to make energy use more efficient. The insulation in the large roof space was replaced to ensure highest possible energy efficiency. Midas also replaced all the ageing services to improve efficiency, including the gas boiler, electrical sub-station, installing new energy efficient lighting and heating systems, air conditioning and ventilation. The building had traditional cast-iron radiators throughout, which the team sent away for refurbishment so that when they were put back they were more efficient, while keeping a traditional look and feel.
During their time at St John’s Hall, the Midas team also uncovered a train track, dated as over a Century old that had been used during the original construction of the building. Discovered at the main entrance to the building, the track was carefully removed and donated to a railway museum in Redruth.