Unusual buildings and their quirks

A close up of the ceiling in the chapel of the mausoleum showing the flaking ceiling and mould

Extraordinary buildings give us extraordinary issues to grapple with and that's why the upper floor of the mausoleum has recently had more conservation.

An error in design?

Since being restored in 2010, condensation was building up in the lunette arches, which we needed to fix before damage occured.

We're not sure if Jamed Wyatt's original design was ever completely worked through, especially as another architect, George Dance, was supervising the construction and finer details, but it is likely that the windows were probably meant to have air gaps to allow the natural circulation of air to do its job.

However, due to the isolation of the site and the way we need to care for it in the 21st century, we have to protect the beautiful stained glass windows. This would never have been an issue in the 18th century.

Results of condensation at Darnley Mausoleum
Close up of the mould caused by condensation around the lunette windows at Darnley Mausoleum, Cobham
Results of condensation at Darnley Mausoleum

 

Doctor's orders

We installed ventilation into the outer windows so they continue to protect, but also allow circulation of air within the dome.

We had to erect scaffolding to allow us to re-decorate the 12m high dome in lime wash as part of our routine care of the building.

 

Why did you do this during summer and not winter?

The materials we use are affected by the weather, especially the cold and the damp, so we had to do this work during the warmer months. Whilst carrying out the work during the summer, we were able to show some conservation in action.