Dumfries Town Hall
In February 2011 we assisted Maurice Jackson in removing, restoring, recording and re-installing the leaded domes and rectangular ceiling panels in Dumfries Town Hall. It was a nice change to be sub-contracted to Maurice, and not to be solely responsible for the entire works. (photo © Maurice Jackson)
The size of the dome was huge. Each section measured approx 7' x 3'. A circular air vent section was balanced in the centre of the dome. (photo © Maurice Jackson)
Similar to the Edinburgh Dome and the Mitchell Library, the attic space was cramped, dirty, and very very hot.
Despite the heat, full health and safety clothing was essential.
A full height scaffold was erected under each large window. The ties were cut from the underside, and the panel was pushed up, and out of the ferramenta framework.
The same proceedure was caried out for each window. Each section of each window was labled with a number before removal from the ferramenta.
The dome in the hallway, outside the main chamber, also had to be removed. Access was extremely restricted inside this tiny attic space. This dome had an additional complication of a hanging chandelier and electrical wires being fed through the central oval piece. (photo © Maurice Jackson)
A working system was established, with Rab above the dome, in the attic, and Linda and Maurice below, on the scaffold. Each panel was wrapped in polythene before lowering to ground level. This mimimised dirt falling into the chamber below, and gave the panels additional rigidity for transportation and handling.
The dome was dismantled piece by piece.
The conservation problems were not complex - just big. Most of the panels were broken in some places. All of the panels were filthy, with over 100 years of nicotine, dirt and overpainting from oil painted walls and ceiling. The leads were in good condition and did not need to be replaced.
Some glasses could be replaced, others were irreplacable and needed to be strapped or resin'd. A variety of conservation / restoration treatments were used throughout the panels as seemed the most sympathetic or appropriate for each break. The leads were flattened and strengthened with additional support bars to prevent future sagging due to gravity.
The treatment of each panel was recorded on photocopied drawings or solarised photographs as each panel was restored in the studio. Most of the panels needed some treatment other than just cleaning.
The finished dome. (photo © Maurice Jackson)
The finished side light. (photo © Maurice Jackson)