Restoration Intern Gold Mine

7 July 2015

Completely cash-strapped and struggling, Lady Kinloss, the eldest daughter of the third and final Duke of Buckingham, and victim of his extravagant tastes and spending splurges, had installed a flat roof in the Large Library in a hashed attempt at repair. In 2009, this inauthentic and inadequate felted mono-pitch roof needed urgent attention. Architects predicted that the ceiling in its deteriorated state would last only one further year. School children were protected from the plaster rain of withering rosettes in the meantime by the attachment of a net to catch the debris. I’m not sure how they would have been protected from falling timbers…

It was two years until the money could be raised via SHPT and another year until the library was reopened in September 2010, just in the nick of time for the new academic year (I imagine that it is much easier said, than done!).

Paint analysis conducted during the restoration project stripped layers of bland, clinical whites from the mansard roof, peeling back the school’s legacy to find original, glittering gilding. This has now been restored with 15,000 pieces of 23-(and-an-all-important-) half-carat gold leaf costing £3.5 million.

This ‘gold mine’ of a mansion hides many more opulent secrets, in its vibrant history of rise and fall and restore.