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An overview of my work placement at William Anelay Ltd.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

There and back again

Save the best for last? My last site visit was to Castle Drogo
(Drewsteignton, Devon, England) 

“The story of the people who created the castle has been our inspiration and the fabric of the building is taking centre stage”
 ~ Tim Cambourne, National Trust Project Manager for Castle Drogo  


Background
Castle Drogo was the last castle to be built in England. The castle, entirely built of granite was designed by architect Sir Edward Lutyens and features battlements, a fortified entrance tower, and a portcullis to create a medieval appearance. The castle is essentially a stately home with a blend of styles from the medieval and Tudor periods. A twentieth century "castle" was built by Sir Edward Lutyens between 1910-30. The property was given to the National Trust in 1974. It is a Grade I listed building.
(http://www.britainexpress.com/counties/devon/houses/castle-drogo.htm)

Project
The castle has suffered major structural problems ever since completion which have now resulted in serious leaks and water penetration throughout the building. The £11m five-year programme of repairs is supposed to return the Castle into its former glory. The project to preserve the castle will include the renovation of the massive flat-roof structure using cutting-edge materials to make it permanently watertight. Similar conservation work took place to the chapel roof six years ago and the chapel has not leaked since. It will be conservation on a grand scale, taking five years to complete. In order to install the new roof system, 2355 granite blocks weighing 680 tonnes will have to be removed and then returned. Some 900 windows containing over 13,000 panes of glass will be refurbished to stop them leaking and over 60,000 meters of pointing will need to be replaced.
http://www.theshareproject.eu/about-us/partners/the-national-trust.aspx 

Each stone is individually dismantled (top left), its location documented (top right) and then stored so that it could be put into its original place after the weatherproofing has been completed.

Site visit
The trip down to the south did take a while, but the scene that opened in front of me was well worth the long drive. Actually, to be completely honest, the scene that opened in front of me when I was approaching the castle was not the castle itself, but a big white tent that was covering the structure. Just the scope of the scaffolding itself took me a while to grasp and assured me that it was no ordinary conservation project.

Another very interesting aspect was how the conservation project does not close the building for the general public, but rather welcomes to join in and observe as the works advance. The viewing platform on top of the scaffolding offers a breath- taking view of the Conservation project with a capital C. Also, I was very pleased to discover that the conservation as well as other doings of the Castle are documented in a blog that I now scroll through from time to time. http://castledrogonationaltrust.wordpress.com/

And if the scope of the conservation work did not take your breath away then the surrounding landscapes definitely will!

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