Dust the canopies and polish the chandeliers -Banqueting House reopens after conservation work

Dust the canopies and polish the chandeliers -Banqueting House reopens after conservation work

31 March 2016

On 1 April 2016, Banqueting House on Whitehall reopens to the public after a three month closure as part of a major conservation project to repair and conserve the exterior of the building.

Historic Royal Palaces, the independent charity that cares for Banqueting House and five other royal palaces, carried out the first phase of these works as part of a long term programme to carefully conserve both the interior and exterior of this magnificent building. 

Over the last 15 months the Inigo Jones building (1619-22) has been  fully scaffolded and under wraps as repair and conservation work took place  outside. Specialist stone conservators tended to the ornate exterior conserving and repairing stonework across the façade. Lead workers sand-cast lead roof coverings in the traditional craft ways. The sash windows were repaired and painted. The flag-poles were repaired, pigeon sand lightning protection repaired.  A state-of-the-art misting fire suppression system has been installed in the roof to protect the priceless Rubens ceiling from fire. New secondary glazing has been installed offering vastly improved protection and better views of Banqueting House from the street. At the same time, conservators used detailed UV photography to understand previous restoration treatments and what conservation may be required in the future. New exterior lighting has been installed offering more stunning views of the Portland stone facades after dark.

The Inigo Jones designed building is the last remaining building of the Palace of Whitehall. Banqueting House was the jewel in the crown of what was once the largest palace in Europe. The Palace of Whitehall was a royal residence until it was destroyed by fire in 1698. Banqueting House is famously the site of Charles I’s execution in 1649. Its lavish artwork was painted by Peter Paul Rubens and is the only Rubens ceiling still in its original location in the world.

Banqueting House will now remain open to the public and for functions and events throughout the year while we prepare for the phase 2 work on the interior. In summer 2016 there will be a brand new visitor experience ‘The Lost Palace’ which will retell the stories of the lost Palace of Whitehall and Banqueting House. 

Notes to editors
For more information and images please contact Pauline Stobbs in the Historic Royal Palaces Press Office pauline.stobbs@hrp.org.uk or 020 3166 6166

Historic Royal Palaces is the independent charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace and Hillsborough Castle.  We help everyone explore the story of how monarchs and people have shaped society, in some of the greatest palaces ever built. We raise all our own funds and depend on the support of our visitors, members, donors, sponsors and volunteers. With the exception of Hillsborough Castle, these palaces are owned by The Queen on behalf of the nation, and we manage them for the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. Historic Royal Palaces cares for Hillsborough Castle under a separate contract with the Northern Ireland Office. Registered charity number 1068852. For more information visit www.hrp.org.uk


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