The Ultimate Accolade for the Leadwork Craftsman

At the beginning of October, some 57 LCA members, associates and their guests assembled at the Fawsley Hall Hotel, near Daventry for the announcement of the winners of the 2015 Murdoch Award and Murdoch Sponsors Award competitions.

The Awards are presented each year in recognition of the very best in leadwork design and installation, carried out by the specialist members of the Lead Contractors Association – in effect the ultimate accolade for the craft of working with lead.

As part of a pre-dinner reception hosted by Jamestown Metals, guests were able to assess the entries for the 2015 Awards and try to pick the overall winner from the keenly competitive and high quality nominations.

The panel of Judges had met some three weeks previously and had eventually selected D Blake & Co (Edinburgh), Lead-Tech Roofing (Worcester Park) and Norman & Underwood (Leicester) as the finalists of the Murdoch Award and N Lee & Sons (Whitney), Leadwise Contracts (Co Antrim) and SWG Roofing (Dunmow, Essex) as finalists of the Murdoch Sponsors Award (for projects under 5 tonnes).

In addressing the gathering at Fawsley Hall, Chairman of the Judging Panel Richard Murdoch once again paid tribute to the very high standard of the entries for the 2015 competition. He noted that this year there had not been any large scale, extravagantly decorated entries which might have stood out and distracted the judges, so all entries were subjected to particularly close scrutiny, down to the very fine details, in order to determine the deserved winners.

Before announcing the winners, Richard again thanked Associated Lead Mills for continuing their long standing sponsorship of the Murdoch Award, in support of the LCA’s quality standard ethic. He noted that once again, all the main Murdoch Award Finalists were being hosted by Associated Lead for the evening as part of their sponsorship.

He also thanked them for their foresight in introducing the Murdoch Sponsors Award in 2006 for projects under five tonnes, which had since given some of the smaller LCA members the chance for wider recognition. Indeed he noted that there were in fact three new members entered for the Sponsors Award and two of them, Leadwise Contracts and SWG Roofing, had made it to the final, although perhaps Leadwise should be regarded as a returning, rather than an entirely new member, having previously been in the LCA from 1998 until 2008.

Turning to the actual entries from the Sponsor’s Award finalists, Richard noted that guests had previously viewed photographs of the dome with unusual weatherings from N Lee & Son, the tile replacement leadwork at Stormont Castle from Leadwise and the dome and spire from SWG Roofing and he again commended the consistently high standard of both the design and workmanship that was evident throughout each project.



Ian Harvey receiving the 2015 Murdoch Sponsors Award on behalf of Leadwise Contracts Ltd from Alan Barker, ALM with Dick Murdoch.

However the judges had to pick a winner and Richard announced that Leadwise Contracts were the winners of the Murdoch Sponsors Award for 2015 and in the absence of Martin Cahalan from Leadwise, Ian Harvey stepped forward to receive the Award on their behalf from Alan Barker of sponsors Associated Lead Mills.

Turning to the Murdoch Award itself, Richard noted the presence of two quality leadwork heavyweights who regularly reached the finalists stage, in the form of D Blake & Co (twice previous winners) and Norman & Underwood. Up against them this time was Lead-Tech Roofing who in 2013 had won the Sponsors Award and were now going after the main prize.

Again the projects were not eye-catchingly spectacular, with the focus more on precision detailing and consistent setting out, but in all cases completed with fine workmanship.




Paul Mulry receiving the 2015 Murdoch Award from LCA Chairman Stuart Bailey with Dick Murdoch


Whilst the judges had applauded the unusual pitched roofing over a thick stone substrate at Brothwick Castle by D Blake and the work carried out by Norman and Underwood to the flat roof at Staunton Harold Church, in their unanimous view it was the large flat and pitched roofing and cladding project completed by Lead-Tech Roofing at Rygar House in London that deserved to be the winner of the 2015 Murdoch Award.

Paul Mulry, who had worked extensively on Rygar House stepped forward to receive the Award on behalf of Lead-Tech from LCA Chairman Stuart Bailey. Lead-Tech MD Martin Walsh was delighted for Paul to receive such public recognition of his individual craft skills and workmanship and was very proud that his company had continued the quality standards ethos that had enabled them to win the Sponsors Award two years ago.

Barry Smith, Managing Director of sponsors Associated Lead Mills, was delighted that this years awards in both categories had featured “new blood” challenging the more established LCA members. “It’s great to see new faces coming through for these awards” he said. “Not only does it show that anyone stands a chance of being a finalist or even winning if their work is good enough, but also that the craft of working with lead is alive and well and in very good hands.”