Tudor brickwork

Tudor brickwork

Great gatehouse after brickwork

Conservation project profile

Project focus: Tudor brickwork, Hampton Court Palace

We're working to conserve the greatest Tudor fabric in the country


Why this project?

When Cardinal Wolsey began his magnificent palace on the Thames, he chose to build in red brick, rather than stone because it was a highly fashionable building material and a clear expression of his wealth and status.

From evidence in the surviving fabric, we can see that soft, Tudor bricks were laid in a cream-coloured lime mortar which had a ‘double-struck’ or ‘birds beak’ profile.

On the show faces of the palace the brick was colour-washed or ‘ruddled’ in red with the diaper bricks picked out in black and the mortar in white. This would have provided a unified and, to our eyes, quite garish appearance which would have made the workmanship appear of much higher quality than it actually was.

Completed project works

Issues that were addressed:

  • Previous brickwork repairs in the 19th century, including re-pointing the brickwork in a hard mortar containing black ash, meant that the building could not ‘breathe’.
  • Reinstating the Tudor appearance to many parts of the palace.

Some of the works carried out:

  • Removal of the Victorian timber sash windows with stone windows.
  • Carrying out of extensive brick repairs and repointing.
  • Removal of the black ash mortar and re-pointing in a softer lime mortar.

Further information

For more information on this project, including images, please download the Adobe PDF below.

Other building projects

Click on the links below to view profiles of some of our other building projects for 2007-8

Learn about conservation

What is building conservation?

Downloadable Resources

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    Tudor brickwork - project profile
    (Adobe PDF, 498KB)

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