Statues – Free of Scaffold and Bandages
Finally after 4 months of painstaking work, the statues in the Central Hall are revealed with the removal of the scaffolding that has allowed the Conservators to work on them. Free from bandages and emergency supports, the statues stand in their alcoves high in the walls, and no longer look as though they’re about to topple.
They’ve survived everything that’s been thrown at them, a fire so hot that the lead ran down the walls, the falling in of the roof, 40 years of Northumberland weather and even being used for target practice. And now finally they are safe, with extra stainless steel supports where needed, and all the many cracks and holes filled and consolidated. It’s wonderful to see them again and to know that they are strong and stable. And all this work was supported by the Sita Trust, this and all the other essential work done as part of this project.
The plywood and dust sheets have been removed and the beautiful black and white marble floor is now revealed. We had to cover it to allow the scaffold to be built over it, which then allowed the statues to be worked on. Now the team and Conservation Volunteers are going to carefully clean the floor then wax it to give some protection.
The floor is like a piece of archaeology, on its surface all that has happened to it can be seen. The fire, and collapsing roof that shattered many stones, the burnt surface and dull weathered look, the outcome of 40 years of lying open to the skies. The repairs made by Lord Hastings and now by us, can be seen, making it a unique record of the building’s history.