Wednesday 26 October 2011

Heritage Open Day in September provided the ideal opportunity not only to open the Record Office for behind the scenes tours of our own historic building, converted from warehouses 25 years ago – but also to showcase our unique contribution to building heritage, collecting and caring for the historic plans that contain a wealth of information and evidence of buildings past and present.

Plans in the Chester Cathedral collection document its restoration over two centuries. Two years ago a condition survey was carried out, and a programme of conservation scheduled for plans that had been stored rolled, some filthy and damaged. Two years later and the searchroom map table was covered with our selection of highlights to celebrate the conserved and repackaged collection.

The display included beautiful examples of the work of Richard Charles, known as R. C. Hussey working in 1844.

Between 1868 and 1876 Sir George Gilbert Scott carried out major restoration work, considered by some to be a virtual rebuild. He was the most prolific Victorian architect of over 800 buildings, responsible for gothic style workhouses, town halls and prisons and most famously for the Albert Memorial and the Grand Midland Hotel/St Pancras station in London. His style was equally reflected in the designs on show for the organ screen and Bishop’s throne.

His grandson Giles Gilbert Scott was as prolific in terms of iconic designs that include the Battersea and Bankside power stations and the K2 red telephone box of 1924! His designs for the Cathedral date from 1911-1913.

Angela, the conservator dedicated to the Cathedral project, was on hand in the conservation studio with examples of dirty plans and the materials used in the process of cleaning, repairing and repackaging. Once more by far the most popular behind the scenes experience at the record office for visitors who get the chance!

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