The House

Speakers celebrate conclusion of major Parliament roof restoratio­n project

- By Georgina Bailey

Work to restore Parliament’s exterior marked another major milestone last week as the final piece of metalwork – a newly-restored dormer window – was returned to the Victorian cast iron roof after almost 10 years. It brings to a close restoratio­n work on what is thought to be the largest expanse of cast iron roofs in Europe.

The 26 individual cast iron-tiled roofs refurbishe­d under this programme were originally installed by Charles Barry in the mid-1800s, and cover some of the most historic parts of the Palace of Westminste­r. Wear-and-tear meant the roofs were no longer watertight, causing damage to the fabric of the building.

In a project supervised by the Lords and Commons Speakers, tens of thousands of individual components were removed and transporte­d to Shepley Engineers’ workshop in Chapeltown, Sheffield, for assessment and then restoratio­n or replacemen­t. Up to 90 per cent of the original components were restored and reinstalle­d, with new components cast to the original design if repairs were not feasible.

The scaffoldin­g, which has covered much of the West Front of the Palace, has also been used to carry out other maintenanc­e work, including removing redundant machinery from the roof voids and essential stonework repairs. Most of the scaffoldin­g will be removed in the coming months, however, some of it will remain in place for further repairs.

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