Plaster Work Restoration
Hayles and Howe were responsible for the removal, restoration and replacement of the decorative plaster work and the total renewal of all the ceilings. The Assembly Rooms consist of a suite of rooms arranged sequentially around a central octagonal vestibule. Designed as a pleasure resort for the brilliant social parade of leisure in the 18th Century. An epitome of the City of Bath itself. The rooms have seen many changes of fortune but were restored before the Second World War. The interior was destroyed by bombs in April 1942 but was restored again around 1960.
Unfortunately, the materials used in that work were incompatible. This led to delamination between the pricking up and floating coats. Virtually all of the ornamental plaster work and all the huge coved ceilings have been removed, restored and replaced, but using as much as 95% of the original decorative fibrous plaster embedded in the new work. As a result of the previous failures a careful check was made of all batches of materials to ensure its freshness.
All ceiling coves and flat work were hand plastered on stainless steel EML. The tea room is a mixture of Bath Stone up to the heads of the Corinthian columns. Stucco entablature and coved ceiling above supported by straps of laurel leaves and berries, crossing to and fro. They are rolling over and under each other and forming a most beautiful network. All of this was removed and restored and then on account of the limited tolerances, the strap work had to be replaced first, with the flat and coved work carried out between the enrichment’s afterwards. A masterpiece of setting out.
The great octagon has again a coved ceiling. This time with eight mitres. The alignment of mitres on ceilings and walls was particularly well done. Especially as the base building is not perfectly regular. The Sheep’s skull frieze was beautifully remade and replaced. Overall Hayles and Howe demonstrated superb skill in decorative plaster work and in solid plastering. We took responsibility for re-creating the historic interior for which we received the prestigious Plaisterers Trophy.