Designed by Inigo Jones and built in the 1620s, the Grade I listed Queen’s Chapel was originally constructed for Henrietta Maria, Wife of Charles I, and is part of the Queen’s personal estate. The chapel is also one of Britain’s ecclesiastical treasures and preserving the historic facades and interiors requires conservation work every five years to protect this important part of the nation’s heritage.
Located on Marlborough Road close to St James’s Palace, the building is constructed of sandstone, so routine conservation requires a lime wash and sanding down to remove potentially harmful contaminants from the London atmosphere. Regular maintenance of the internal paintwork and finishes is also scheduled every five years.
All work must be carried out while Marlborough Road remains open and with no risk of damage to the structure or interiors and no structural load on the building.
The Solution from Millcroft
Leveraging our experience in the heritage and listed buildings sector, along with our in-house design team, we developed a bespoke scaffolding solution to provide conservation teams with access to the facades with a free-standing scaffold that did not touch the building or tie into it at any location.
To achieve this, the scaffold was buttressed on the north, south and east elevations to provide sufficient lateral size and weight to support the 15m height. On the west elevation on Marlborough Road, where there was insufficient space for a buttress, the access solution was tied into the north and south scaffolds to leverage the stability provided by their buttresses. This design required a careful sequencing of works to ensure that the buttressed north, south and east elevations were completed before the west elevation scaffold was erected. The same sequencing was deployed for striking the scaffold, with the west elevation dismantled first to ensure the safety of the Millcroft team, the royal household staff and the public.
For security reasons, the west elevation scaffold also included protection panels up to 2.4m in height, preventing the public from accessing the scaffold. Additional external scaffolds were also designed and erected for conservation of the chapel’s chimney stacks.
Internally Millcroft also installed three 8ft wide by 20ft high towers to provide access for restoration teams to work on the walls, ceilings and furnishings. Close attention to detail was required in planning the installation and removal of these towers to prevent the risk of any knocks or scrapes to the chapel’s delicate interior.