News: Cast-iron meets curvaceous challenge of Cambridge college

19 May 2010

The curved shape of the Maufe building at St John's College presented a unique challenge when Hargreaves Foundry was called in to replace rainwater guttering and pipes.

Hargreaves were approached by Purcell, Miller and Tritton for the restoration and replacement work for the rainwater guttering and pipes on the Maufe building at St John’s College, Cambridge. Hargreaves were supplied with drawings, photographs and samples of the old guttering, and worked closely with the college’s own maintenance department.

The building itself has some unique and challenging features, not least its curved shape. This required matching radius, moulded gutters, convex to one side and concave to the other that followed precisely the curve of the roofline.

The rectangular pipes were by no means standard either. Manufactured to non standard dimensions and also, with the socket, to precise lengths specifically to match the original wall fixings. This was important to avoid leaving ‘scars’ on the building fabric from the original fittings.

The rectangular sockets were manufactured especially for this job and embellished with a flower head design.

All the patterns were made at the foundry, based on the drawings and samples provided. The curve of the gutters presents a particular challenge in these cases, but one that Hargreaves could meet. The casting of the gutters, pipes and sockets was all done at the foundry in Halifax. Hargreaves now uses only recycled iron and steel in its casting process.

We supplied approx 50 lengths of straight gutter and 10 lengths each of radius gutter, both concave and convex, 182mm wide and 130mm deep. The rectangular pipe was a non standard size based on original 4.25 inch x 3.25 inch.