Change from top to bottom

In recent weeks the work on the old library and art gallery building has seen changes from top to bottom. Whether it is removing guano from the roof spaces or carrying out a damp survey in the basement there has been plenty to keep our team of specialists busy.

The damp survey wasn’t confined to the basement areas. It also looked at all walls, ceilings and floor slabs. This will give us a comprehensive idea of the moisture levels inside the building and will be vital information when we apply new wall finishes. We have been visited by a range of experts to aid us in our understanding about what the building was originally painted with in 1883. It is hard to believe the number of colours and finishes and we’ve learnt a lot about silicates, solvents and water based products! But this work is vital if we are to understand the heritage of the building and restore it accurately and sympathetically.

In the coming weeks we will begin the careful removal of tongue and groove timbers from the original gallery walls. These will be carefully removed, recorded and stored off site. Next year a specialist contractor will refurbish them by stripping off old paint and residues. The new finishes will be applied once they are back in-situ.

Throughout November we have been working to remove the original wooden parquet floor. It is amazing how much of this was hidden below the modern carpeting. Our specialist flooring contractor has documented, sanded, carefully lifted, palletised and removed all of this wood.

It will be stored in controlled conditions before it is returned and relaid as the project reaches its final stages. We’re sure by this stage that the floor will look as good as new. So when you do visit the new Heritage & Arts Centre in the future make sure you look down as well as looking up!

The Heritage & Arts Centre project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Stoller Charitable Trust. Full details of the plans and our original announcement are here.