Cliveden Conservation has been subcontracted by BAM – the principal contractor for Kirklees Council’s Our Cultural Heart project in Huddersfield – to conserve the Fritz Steller pieces of art and other heritage building material as part of the redevelopment of the Grade II Listed former Queensgate Market building.

A condition survey of the 10 decorative ceramic panels entitled ‘Articulation in Movement’ created by German sculptor, Fritz Steller (1941-2015), has been undertaken by Cliveden Conservation. The survey informs a programme of conservation repair works to the panels on the eastern elevation of the Queensgate Market building, set to be carried out in 2025.

Conservators will carry out the work to Steller’s colossal pieces of ceramic art in situ. Each panel will be carefully cleaned, consolidated and repointed by Cliveden Conservation’s experts. Structural and reconstruction repairs will also be carried out to restore some of the missing elements of the panels.

During spring 2024, Cliveden Conservation will use specialist techniques to take down Steller’s black metal relief sculpture called ‘Commerce’ which features semi-abstract figures representing agriculture, trade and products, from the north wall of the hall. The sculpture will be carefully divided into individual pieces and sensitively cleaned before being packed away.

To enable building works to commence, Cliveden Conservation will also be removing the sandstone coat of arms and terrazzo panels from the hall over the next few months. Custom designed and built storage solutions are being used to transport these objects and the metal sculpture into safe storage.

David Bloxam, head of architectural projects at Cliveden Conservation, comments, “It is an honour to be entrusted with Queensgate Market’s most precious artefacts and to be part of the Our Cultural Heart project team. This is a delicate operation which requires careful planning and immense skill. We look forward to working in collaboration with BAM and Kirklees Council as a specialist contractor in heritage conservation and seeing this new cultural hub evolve.”

David Shepherd, Kirklees Council’s strategic director for growth and regeneration, added, “Our Cultural Heart may be an exciting regeneration project for the future, but it also builds on the strong heritage and identity of everything that has gone before. By smartly respecting and enhancing the existing heritage buildings and character across the site, the new scheme will provide a tangible sense of place that retains the emotional connection felt between local residents and their town centre.

“The Fritz Steller panels are a fundamental part of this ambition, so it’s great to now have Cliveden Conservation on board to work alongside the main contractor. They are experts in their field and will help us to safely refurbish the artwork so it can remain a celebrated feature within Kirklees for decades to come,” he continued.