Project of the Month – December 2022

The Advent of Emmanuel Church

The Emmanuel Church in Loughborough dates back to 1837, the beginning of Queen Victoria’s reign. It had been 25 years since the last repaint and the project was put out to tender in early 2022. Alfred Bagnall & Sons (East Midlands) Ltd (Bagnalls) in Leicester were awarded the works in early October. Works consisted of a full internal redecoration of not just the main church and associated rooms but also the halls and meeting rooms in the adjoining building.  

The schedule of works was to be completed in a tight timescale given the volume of works redecoration required. The priority being to complete the interior of the church by the start of advent on the 25th November. This allowed only four weeks on site for the initial painting programme before leaving site and returning in January 2023. Bagnalls agreed to commence works at the front of the church, working towards the back. The difficulty in completing the works was that almost all work facilitated the need for access platforms up to 13m. Bagnalls chose to hire two electric 12m scissor lifts and one 13m spider operated by a team of four trained painters. However, getting the spider in the building was an issue by 3 inches, so alternative routes of access needed to be found. In addition to this, polythene sheeting normally used to protect the wooden floors under track mats, proved useless, as the track mats were slipping on the shiny floor. An alternative solution was found by using 18mm osb boards. This proved much more successful and gave the machines a grip to work with.

Prior to tendering, the client had approached Keim Paints to provide them with a specification utilising Keim Optil, this is a water based, non-toxic and breathable coating which allows water vapour to pass through the coating. This is especially important on churches, where the stone has no insulation properties and requires a low tension film coating. Conventional paints are unsuitable as they form a barrier to the vapour leading to failure of the coating. The client also had prior experience with interiors and had taken the bold step of choosing a Dulux equivalent Oxford Blue for the ceilings and upper walls with an off-white colour tone used elsewhere. It wasn’t possible to simply clean all existing gold embellishments, as the white mouldings were behind these gold features, so these were all fully repainted in gold enamel.

Bagnalls were pleased with the outcome and the client and members of the congregation were delighted, as the project was fully completed by Friday 25th Nov, just in time for the first service of advent on the 27th November. 

The results and boldness of the colour scheme work very well, and not only was the church completed, but Bagnalls were also able to repaint the two staircases which lead up to the old organ balcony. Works are now scheduled to return to site on Monday 9th January to complete 2-3 weeks work in the adjoining building to complete the hall, concourse and meeting rooms.


Alfred Bagnall & Sons Limited is one of the UK’s oldest specialist painting & decorating companies established in 1875 in Shipley near Bradford. Their works cover all aspects of painting and decorating and all market sectors from Heritage, Commercial, Industrial and Property with an emphasis of Health & Safety and developing people. They are long standing members of The 5% Club, which is a commitment to have at least a minimum of 5% of their work force recruited through apprenticeships & graduate programmes. Bagnalls have their own training academy based in Doncaster and together with their trainee management programme, ensure the stability and continuity of their business for many years to come. Bagnalls are regularly award winners in the Painting & Decorating Association’s Premier Trophy competition and this work at Emmanuel church has been submitted under the decorative category for the 2023 awards.

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