Heritage refurbishment case study: Cedars Primary School and Milton Keynes Council

Repairing ornate stonework on a local primary school

Cedars Primary School and Nursery is based in a beautiful old building owned by Milton Keynes Council. Although its civic duties are no different to any other school, it is cherished by the generations of people who have attended it. So when Storm Doris damaged the school’s masonry, Wilford & Dean were soon on-site to make it safe and cast an expert eye over it.

 Customer benefits at a glance

  • Restored heritage building to its full glory
  • Friendly team to work in a public location
  • Excellent craftsmanship
  • Helped maintain good communications with stakeholders and local community
  • Exceeded expectations


The challenge
During Storm Doris, debris fell into the school’s entrance. News quickly reached Wilford & Dean staff, who rushed over to make the area safe for the children. On closer inspection, they saw that further areas of the original masonry had deteriorated, so they erected temporary scaffolding on behalf of Milton Keynes Council and reported back on the work required.

“It was important to secure the budget to repair the damage quickly but properly, replacing like for like to restore this heritage building to its full glory. The consequences of leaving it could have led to health and safety issues, which would have forced the relocation of children and staff,” explained Mark McKinlay, Project Leader (AMP) of the Capital Development Team at Milton Keynes Council.

The solution
Based in the same town as the school for more than 200 years, Wilford & Dean were familiar with the crafts and materials that make up heritage buildings in and around Milton Keynes. They had detailed knowledge of the school building and its requirements, and have proven restoration expertise – which reassured the stakeholders responsible for the upkeep of this local community gem.

The results
Wilford & Dean’s craftsmen promptly dealt with long-forgotten surprises that crop up when bricks and stones are disturbed well over 100 years after they were put in place. They were happy to describe what they were doing and why, when passers-by asked questions. People remarked how fascinating the work was and how much they enjoyed watching its progress.

Although they changed the stone like for like, the new stone stood out, so Wilford & Dean’s masons cleaned and tidied up the old surfaces.

“It doesn’t, and shouldn’t, look like new because it’s a heritage building – but it looks amazing. Walkers and colleagues both commented on the phenomenal difference. The street looked lighter and brighter,” remarked Mark.

Some replacement stones were so large that they had to be cut to order by one of the few quarries that could provide the correct match. Wilford & Dean worked hard to mitigate danger as they were working, both within the school grounds and on the street, moving and carefully placing enormous pieces of stone.

Everyone within Wilford & Dean take pride in their work. For example, there wasn’t a budget to clean the wall dividing the school from the public pathway running alongside the road. There was a distinct difference between the results achieved on the school and the untreated boundary wall. The team from Wilford & Dean decided to clean the wall off their own backs because they’re passionate about maintaining heritage buildings properly and thoroughly.