Courtyard Conservation

As a Grade I Listed building and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, careful and considered workmanship was required to restore the fragile façade.

This project marked a revival of the Palace of Westminster’s Chancellors and State Officers Courts, bringing the fabric of the courtyards back to a good state of repair and addressing the many fabric and structural issues caused by 170 years of accumulated atmospheric pollution and decay.

The work included the cleaning and extensive repair and replacement of masonry, conservation of stained-glass windows, bronze windows, lanterns, and lead and cast-iron rainwater goods. Critically, this initially included cleaning the stone and defining repair methods and material specifications most appropriate to the building and current conservation approaches. The work in these courtyards has informed similar works to subsequent courtyards. Priority was given to achieving robust repairs whilst conserving the historic stonework, including the carved ornaments within the structure.

A substantial portion of the work carried out for this project was on the east wall of Chancellors Court, which is the west wall of the Royal Gallery. Due to the highly sensitive nature of major repair works in the Royal Gallery, close liaison with various departments within Parliament was essential. As well as curators, this included facilities management, fire team, security, visitors centre, education centre, maintenance etc.

Before the restoration, water ingress posed a significant problem as rainwater visibly ran down Maclise’s ‘Death of Nelson’ mural on the wall surrounding the windows of the Royal Gallery. The objective was to conduct the required repair work while ensuring the uninterrupted operation of the Royal Gallery and safeguarding the irreplaceable artwork and Listed Building elements from harm. The Royal Gallery is a thoroughfare for numerous visitors and a meeting space for the Lords.

The project was recognised for its extensive restoration works and craftsmanship at the 2018 Stone Federation Natural Stone Awards, winning the Repair and Restoration Award and receiving a commendation for the Carving, Lettering and Sculpture category. The project was also a finalist in the 2020 Constructing Excellence SECBE Awards.

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Knollys House
17 Addiscombe Road

020 8730 6200