Restored ceiling light domes, South Vestibule copyright Pete Carr
The Lady Lever Art Gallery has reached a major milestone in its Heritage Lottery funded development following the completion of a large scale restoration by Clan Contracting to restore the South End rooms of the historic gallery over seen by architects Purcell.
The works have been carried out under two phases across an eight month programme. The South End galleries have been returned to their original architectural design following a series of structural works including the removal of ceilings, panelling, re-introduction of original door openings, replacement of architrave, flooring as well as a series of intricate cleaning works.
The striking lead and glass ceiling domes within the Rotunda and South Vestibule had deteriorated over the years and were in need of clean and repair, using a delicate approach, to ensure the integrity of each dome was retained.
Clan engaged Reclessia Ltd, a stained glass conservation and repair specialist who spent several weeks methodically cleaning and restoring the leaded lights to their former splendour. Thanks to this highly skilled team and the supervision of Clan Contracting the glass domes are now fully restored.
A feature of the Wedgwood Room was a suspended plastic moulded angular ceiling, added in the 1960s which was fabulous when originally installed, but had proved difficult to keep clean reducing the light in the room. The room was filled with a dark quarry tile floor and mahogany cabinets which were bolted to the floor using steel rods into the basement.
Artists impression of the new large Wedgwood room displays
The process employed to remove the ceiling and flooring had to avoid any vibration which may affect the
collections, room below and the visitor experience across the rest of the Gallery. The team used the smallest breakers available, minimising any vibrations, and potential damage to the structure below to achieve this.
This area has seen a dramatic transformation with the reinstatement of its original ceiling and a parquet floor and is now a huge bright, airy and impressive room, painted with light heritage colours and white detailing.
Damian Meyers, Managing Director of Clan Contracting said:
“This has been a wonderful project to be involved in and the entire team has had a real sense of pride at being involved in a project that has had such a huge impact."
Victoria Alderton, Associate Architect at Purcell added:
“The works carried out by Clan have reintroduced the sense of space and volume in the galleries, which will reconnect the architecture of the gallery with its nationally significant collections."
The fit out of the gallery spaces will now begin with collections returning to the restored rooms in the new year. The South End galleries will reopen in spring 2016, for the latest updates on the project sign up to our e-newsletter.