70 Years of Projects, Pride & People

Our History

Heritage & Experience

We are incredibly proud of our strong, 70-year history and rich heritage, with the Stonewest name continuing to thrive for generations. As well as creating modern landmark buildings, we have Restored, Conserved and Repaired historic and listed buildings, returning them to their former glory and adapting them for use today and for the future.

We have built up 70 years of industry experience and competence, with a trusted track record of creating modern landmarks and conserving historically significant buildings. This has given us the vital tools to be adaptable, agile and forward thinking, so that we can deliver unparalleled value and quality of work with a safe pair of hands from start to finish. With our wealth of experience comes dependability, so clients can be safe in the knowledge that we will always deliver outstanding results.

We are often invited back to repeat and continue our care of these structures, ensuring the Restoration process is consistent and expertly carried out, meanwhile handing skills and knowledge onto our successors.

Timeline

The History of Stonewest

1950s

The Beginning

1950s

How it all began

During World War II, many Portland stone London buildings were blackened to avoid attracting the attention of the German Luftwaffe.

 

In post war years the Government embarked on a range of “feel good” factor measures including cleaning Government buildings.

Initially, this was literally just at pavement level but more ambitious plans to include complete facades followed.

Peter Cox, having served with distinction in the armed forces, before demobilisation in 1945 started cleaning facades initially with de-mob equipment which was freely available giving us a start date of either 1951 or 1952.

1960s

Stone Cleaning Pioneers

1960s

Stonewest Generations

Several famous London families started their association with stone cleaning; 3 or 4 generations later, this remains the case eg Gosling, Maggs.

By the 1960’s, Peter Cox was an early pioneer tackling dampness in London’s solid walled housing stock, developing the use of DPC gravity injection and woodworm treatment to vulnerable timbers.

The business was based in Addington Square, Camberwell.

1970s

Restoring the City

1970s

Stonewest Generations

The Moore family started its association with the company – Jenny joins

The business was bought by SGB (Scaffolding Great Britain), a move to capitalise on the need for scaffolding to provide safer access to full facades

1970 David Ball joined from Harris & Edgar as Contracts Manager, later becoming Managing Director

During this time, the facades of the Royal Albert Hall, and St Paul’s Cathedral mosaics were cleaned

Fred Scott established himself as a famous London restorer doing things “the right way” and training many apprentices, including Bill Lucas

A move took place to Lambert’s Place, East Croydon adjacent to the main train line into Victoria and London Bridge and quickly became covered in trackside graffiti.

Brand Evolution

1980s

Restoration Expertise

1980s

Stonewest Generations

Further families joined the list Reuter (Kevin & Gary), West (Brian and Alan). Fred West was SGB Transport Manager.

From the Moore family, Toby joins the business.

Regional Managers were John Cornick in Manchester, George Would have in Newcastle, Bill Simnet in Edinburgh.

London Contracts Managers were John Parnell & Terry O’Leary.

Many of the steel frames used in buildings at the turn of the century started displaying corrosion to the frame with the resulting expansion fracturing stone facades. The Company was at the fore front of investigating and remedying what became known as Regent Street Disease in London and in Manchester where it was known as Deansgate Disease.

Several leading lights emerged including Cecil Rhodes and Michael Beare.

Notable projects included Harrods, Midland Bank, Manchester, and Dickens & Jones plus many more in and around Regent St and The City.

Brand Evolution

In 1984, SGB was acquired by John Mowlem plc.

During 1986 from the established Manchester office the M6 corridor was developed and in 1987 an office was established in Birmingham.

In 1987, Peter Cox Restoration merged with The South Western Stone Cleaning & Restoration Co Ltd and Stonewest Masonry Ltd and became Stonewest Cox Ltd, a part of the Peter Cox Group, now with its own production facility near the Bath Stone mines.

Peter Cox Group was soon formed within the Mowlem Group led by John Wilson.

In 1989, the Peter Cox Group bought itself out of the Mowlem Group in a management buy-out funded by Barclays Bank with equity provided by Banque Indosuez. John Wilson and colleagues Howard Marsh and Richard Whitworth formed Tripod to lead this.

David Ball left to study conservation and set up a consultancy.

Landmark Projects

Projects included Liverpool Street Station, a recreation of the traditional stone facades comprising the south pavilion as part of the Broadgate Development scheme and the redevelopment of Billingsgate Fish Market.

Kevin’s  Billingsgate arch restoration hand

Britannic (Formerly Lutyen’s) House

Taj (Formerly St James’s) Hotel

1990s

Business Growth and Expansion

1990s

Brand Evolution

In 1994, all the Company’s operations were renamed Stonewest Ltd when the specialist contracting operations were bought out of the Peter Cox Group by Credit Agricole Indosuez.

Special Works Division created to maintain 54 No London Monuments and run by Charlie Mist. The SSW Department is now run by Toby Moore

1995-1998 saw us supply and install of the external and internal stonework to the Central MTR station as part of the new HK-Airport railway link. The project started a close association with work in Hong Kong with supplies of natural stones from China becoming increasingly popular.

In late November 1999, the ownership of Stonewest Ltd was sold to the then Chief Executive, Norman Lambert.

Landmark Projects

1993/95 saw the first visit for the company to St Pancras Chambers, at that time for the British Rail Property Board. Primary safeguarding works spending a dowry as it transferred ownership to Railtrack.  100,000 No individual special bricks were procured, many from being hand-made and cut with the original clay and moulds from the Midlands.  Later works at St Pancras in 2005/07 resulted in our being awarded RICS Project of the Year in 2008 and The Brick Awards Best Refurbishment Project, also in 2008.

Between 1991 and 2002, we worked on Admiralty Arch, Marble Arch and Wellington Arch, completing the ‘hat-trick’.

In 1993 Stonewest Cox took part in Challenge Anneka to renovate the soup kitchen at St Martin in the Fields to provide 150 meals a day.

After the 1993 IRA bomb in Bishopsgate, the facades at Hasilwood House were dismantled and rebuilt to accommodate a more modern structure after the blast buckled the traditional steel frame.

1996 after the fire at Windsor Castle we dismantled and rebuilt the Crimson room bay window, and the Stonewest team met the whole Royal Family who thanked the craftsmen with a reception where beer was served from cut glass jugs.

 

In 1997 the iconic curved façade of Unilever House was cleaned and repaired.

1998 incorporation of Stone Facades Ltd, focusing on supply and installation of external and internal stonework’s in Asia, and the supply of materials to the UK market.

In late November 1999, the ownership of Stonewest Ltd was sold to the then Chief Executive, Norman Lambert.

2000s

Conservation and Restoration

2000s

Brand Evolution

2001 Upon Norman Lambert’s retirement in early 2001, the company was sold to Stonewest Capital owned 50/50 by Kevin Reuter (Group Chief Executive Officer) and David Marshall (Chairman).

In 2008 the company was rebranded

Landmark Projects

Since our Project Management System (SPMS) was introduced in 2000, we have undertaken works on more than 150 churches.

2003/04 saw the beginning of a long association with St Paul’s Cathedral. The West front and main steps was followed by the relaying of the floor in the OBE Chapel.

2004/06 Birmingham Town Hall.  RICS Building Conservation Award.

2005/07 Conservation of the Cowdray & Midhurst Tudor ruin which won the RICS UK National Conservation Award and Overall Winner in 2008.

2006/09 St Paul’s Cathedral. RICS Building of the Year Award Overall Winner 2009.

World Squares

Royal Observatory, Greenwich

Selfridges – First Visit

2010s

Team Growth & More Quality Work

2010s

2014 – Stonewest moves to Crystal Palace.

Landmark Projects

2012 Freemasons’ Hall. First water jetting equipment deployed to cut down steel frame travelling noise when cutting out masonry in occupied buildings (from bomb disposal technology).

2013 Stonewest HK established winning the Restoration works Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage & Arts (formerly the Central Police Station) and subsequently awarded the UNESCO Award of Excellence.

2014/16 Victoria & Albert Museum Porcelain tiled courtyard.

2016 In partnership with Wates-Eastern Stonewest undertook the conservation works at Qasr Al Hosn Fort, Abu Dhabi.

2017 Stonewest HK begin works at the Taukkyan War Cemetery in Yangon Myanmar, the first large scale project in the country.

2018 Alexandra Palace. RIBA London Award, RIBA National Award and RIBA London Conservation Award in 2019.

2018 Stonewest HK commenced work as the Main Contractor for the Conservation and Rehabilitation of Phuong Nam Villa, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

2018 Stonewest (MYM) Ltd incorporated to undertake the façade strengthening and conservation packages at the Yangon Peninsula Project.

In the early 2000’s we became the ‘go to’ company for heritage work to the main line London stations, working at St Pancras, Kings Cross, Farringdon and most recently, London Bridge.

Selfridges – Second Visit

2020s

Innovation, Progress & Skills for the Future

2020s

Stonewest Generations

Over 100 apprentices in 15 years

Brand Evolution

2020 London office – Stonewest moved to 4 Dean Stanley Street

2022 – Stonewest moved to 4 Millbank, Westminster

Landmark Projects

2020/21 St Paul’s Cathedral Equal Access Project.

Stonewest recreated the 100mtre long William Nash Grade 1 listed façade to Regents Crescent, the largest lime mortar project of its kind.

Special Works term maintenance team secured a further 3 years work on the London Bridge City estate

The use of recyclable bio fuels to power our cleaning units instead of the traditional diesel became commonplace.

Fishmongers Hall

Manchester Town Hall external masonry repairs commence.