Amanda Aiano Zilberstein
The church of St Anne was built and consecrated in 1714 following the donation of land by Queen Anne and is located on verdant Kew Green beside Kew Gardens and the Thames. The traditional setting is heightened by the village pond and the sights and sounds of regular cricket matches on the Green.
Queen Anne monitored the progress of construction on her trips between London and Windsor. The roof of the church culminates in a clock tower with an octagonal bell turret.
The population of Kew expanded and in 1670 the church was extended to a design by Joshua Kirby (1716-1774). St Anne’s is particularly associated with the Hanoverian Kings and Dukes. George III had purchased Kew Palace in 1781 as a family home and in 1805 he arranged for a gallery to be erected at St Anne’s to hold his large family when they attended services. One of Queen Victoria’s uncles, the Duke of Cambridge is buried at the church. Various further restorations and remodelling took place during the nineteenth century.
Sir William Hooker (1775-1865), and his son Joseph (1817-1911), respectively the first and second directors of Kew Gardens are interred in the church, as are a number of artists including, most notably, Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788).
Restoration at St. Anne’s
The Tercentenary Appeal is a ten year plan to raise money for conservation and restoration of St. Anne’s.
DBR (London), a specialist in the conservation, repair and regeneration of historic buildings, churches and scheduled monuments, was commissioned to work on the church, in particular, to deal with the crumbling brickwork and masonry.
DBR (London) commissioned AIANO to supply and fit woven mesh window guards to protect the tower openings from penetration by birds.
The Clock Tower Guards
The church wanted to protect the tower openings with woven mesh window guards made from bronze wire, however research showed that using actual bronze wire would be too expensive.
AIANO proposed the solution of using guards made from stainless steel wire coated in an architectural bronze-effect polyester coating.
Weld mesh and woven mesh window guards
AIANO makes window guards from both woven mesh and weld mesh according to customer requirements. Sometimes weld mesh guards are appropriate in order to match existing guards in situ. However, with 150 years’ experience of making window guards we can say that the old woven mesh window guards are the best.
Woven mesh window guards are longer lasting and they are aesthetically more sympathetic to the fabric of the church building because they have a natural hand-crafted beauty.
Installing the new guards
The most difficult aspect of the job was fixing the new guards. The bell tower is some fifty feet high and the guards had to be winched to the upper scaffolding level. The octagonal tower has four open arches and four arches covered with stone lattice-work. The guards had to be fitted on the inside of the tower where there was extremely limited space for working.
When the final guard had been fixed in place, AIANO engineer Steve was effectively ‘trapped’ inside the tower and had to leave by raising the trap-door and dropping down to the spiral staircase inside the tower.
The finished guards are, of course, a long way from the ground and not perhaps the first thing a visitor to the church would notice. But they perform an essential function in protecting the tower and AIANO takes great pride in performing any and every job to the best of its ability like the best church craftsmen of the past. We are pleased to say the architectural copper finish worked well and is clearly discernible from ground level.
C. Aiano & Sons
C. Aiano & Sons, Ltd. is the leading maker of wire mesh window guards for churches and heritage buildings, AIANO has 150 years’ continuous experience of making window guards and AIANO wireworkers and welders are second to none. We take enormous pride in our work and pay great attention to detail.