A landmark on the skyline of Newcastle since 1932 is the twin tower Co-operative building. It is considered to be one of the best examples of an interwar building in Newcastle. During the extensive refurbishment to convert it to its new use as a hotel, the iconic neon-illuminated clocks and barometer which were due for restoration by Smith of Derby were stolen. This was a major setback for such a heritage sensitive project on a grade II listed building.
Our dial restoration project therefore took a new turn, and instead of cleaning and repairing, we became involved in re-engineering and fabricating exact replicas. It was soon clear that using the same type of bronze would be prohibitively expensive. Aluminium was chosen instead, but with a carefully applied metallic paint finish which replicated the characteristic patina of the originals.
Specialist neon illumination specialists partnered with us to re-create the lighting, much of which would have been life-expired anyway. A new barometer system was engineered, together with heavy duty synchronous movements. All the mechanisms required slip rings to transmit power to the neon illuminated hands.
With its heritage intact again and fully open as a Premier Inn, the building is once more a welcoming landmark.