Conservation and Limewashing at Lavenham

Limewashing is a key part of our conservation of Lavenham Guildhall in order to keep it as the special place we all love and share a connection with. We work with local companies every five or six years to complete the limewashing as well as Lady Street next door.

Limewashing is a traditional preservative to lime plaster protecting it from moisture but keeping it breathable at the same time. 

Sadly over time pollutants and other destructive ellements cause damage to the building, both the timbers and the plaster.  The Guildhall is fortunate to have a range of intricate carvings dating from Sixteenth Century when the building was built which we endamatly want to preserve, so that future generations get to to enjoy the special places we all love.  We do this by coating the timbers and the plaster in a limewash which is done on a five year cycle. 

Black timbers? 

The use of oil based paints or tar would date to the Victorian times, it makes a very distintive look to a timber framed building, unfortunately it can actually cause more harm to the timber frames as it seals in the damp! This means woodworm and death watch beetle infestations are more likely to develop as the treatment isn't breathable. 

A bazaar at the Guildhall when Sir William Cuthbert Quilter lived here
Lavenham Guildhall at the time of Sir William Cuthbert Quilter
A bazaar at the Guildhall when Sir William Cuthbert Quilter lived here

Dangerous material

Limewash is a hazordous material which can cause irritation and damage to eyes and skin, so we have to be very careful when we are applying it. We protect nearby plants and wildlife on both our site and neigbouring properties.

Not every time is both the plaster and the timbers needed to be re washed with the lime; we did both materials in around 2012 and just the plaster in 2017.