Many of the rooms at the stables have had suspended ceilings added or had their ceilings covered with asbestos boarding during renovation works in the 1950s/60s. This wonder material was introduced because of its thermal insulation qualities, to improve fire protection, and in some areas to help with sound deadening. Sadly, these ceilings changed the way the spaces are experienced by lowering ceiling heights, blocking windows, etc and most significantly they present a health hazard to construction workers, RHC staff, and visitors.
Initial enabling works for the renovation of the project have now begun and carefully removing the asbestos is top of the priority list. To our great surprise and relief, the contractors have found original lath and plaster surviving behind the asbestos boarding in some areas. Our next steps will be to document the ceilings and see how best to proceed – to repair or to stabilise and re-cover.