9th Update: 27th October
It is finished. The restoration work that is. There remains some external landscaping to do (in the next month) and then the all-important question of planting (early next year). The building itself however is complete and in terms of grace and impact is all we had hoped for.
Once the thirty casements were refitted, the final fortnight was dominated by decorating and cleaning. Ugly cement patching was removed from the internal north wall and the gaps made good with lime plaster (mixed with yak hair). The whole was then painted as were the ventilation flaps and 5 cantilever weights, which happen to have survived, refitted to allow opening and closing of the vents. Some discreet electric lighting has also been introduced though we intend to rely more on storm lamps in so far as it is in use in the dark.
The biggest surprise of the final stage and the most pleasant was the effectiveness of simple spray washing on the glass that had remained in situ. J-C Loudon had always been concerned about dark algae forming in the overlap between the fish scale panes both because it was unsightly and because it kept light out. That was one reason he had specified a maximum overlap. The contractors had not been optimistic about the feasibility of cleaning this out. In the event a relatively low pressure water jet, without detergent, aimed at the overlap had a dramatic impact and has indeed materially increased internal light. While this was a slow it was not a particularly difficult operation which means that we will be able to repeat it in the years ahead.
For the rest there was an epic of cleaning and polishing glass, pane by pane.
In the few days we will be putting up a series of photographs of the finished building and a little later posting the final video of the restoration. These and other events will be shown in the “Events” section.
This will be the last of the regular updates. We will however be doing more on the history of the site and the greenhouse, so continue to check on the site. Thank you for following this project so far. If you have thoughts or queries on what we have done or still intend to do, you can always email us.