Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Nigerian Cathedral Art Is Saved by North East Skills

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Nigerian Cathedral Art Is Saved by North East Skills

Article excerpt

Byline: Barbara Hodgson Reporter

STAFF from North East companies have flown out to Africa to oversee the next stage in a restoration project involving 120-year-old stained glass.

The expertise of three local firms, including Wadds Glass in Gateshead which recently celebrated its 50th birthday, has been called upon to return a historic church window, worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, to its former glory.

And soon that famous slogan "Wadds Was Here" could be seen at a church in Nigeria.

The company, joined by Artcetra in Consett and Langley Furniture in Hexham, has been involved in painstaking work over the past few months on stained glass which was shipped to England.

Artcetra repaired, cleaned and restored the panelled glass then it was transferred to Wadds on Team Valley Trading Estate which made it into triple-glazed units.

Finally Langley's job is to make the wooden frame to show it off.

The story of how three local businesses became involved in restoring a church in Nigeria started with a visit to Lagos four years ago by stained glass artist Maralyn O'Keefe, from Artcetra at The Glass & Art Gallery in Consett.

Through contacts at Sunderland University, she was invited by a bishop in Nigeria, to undertake a project to restore cathedral stained glass.

Its windows were freighted here where Maralyn tackled the difficult task of removing 100 years of grime.

And this is where the other companies came in.

The traditionally-stained glass windows at St Paul's Church, at Breadfruit in Laos, turned out to be "the worst job I've ever done!" said Maralyn.

She realised the extent of work needed when, to her horror, she uncovered botched repairs using industrial glass, which had then been spray-painted, as well as industrial varnish over the precious glass and lead.

At one point she needed an electric drill to remove some of it. "I've never used that before," she said. …

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