Sheffield City Hall / by Heather Sutton

When Sheffield City Hall underwent a £13m refurbishment programme, Maysand took on the external masonry cleaning and repairs and a slightly trickier problem indoors.

The walls of the Oval and Memorial theatres inside the City Hall are finished with acoustic blocks which had been put in when the entertainment and arts venue was built in the late 1920s and early 30s.

Lee Wilkinson, contract supervisor on the project for Maysand, explains: “No one seems sure where these acoustic blocks were from, although they are rumoured to have been made by a Sheffield company. Wherever they came from they had obviously not been cleaned since the hall was opened in 1932, because the surface was completely black from years and years of nicotine staining and general grime.”

We used a special solution which we applied using airless sprays so that there was minimal water involved. Then we put down sawdust to catch the small amount of run off that resulted. When we had finished, you couldn’t recognise the place, really. The blocks looked amazing.”

Maysand also cleaned the limestone foyer, cleaned the exterior of the City Hall, did some patch pointing and minor masonry repairs externally, and removed any graffiti before applying a specialist anti-graffiti finish.