One of the Nash Staircase’s most striking features is the stained glass inner skylight.
The stained glass skylight and fish scale decorated dome before the project began.
As part of the Through the Roof Project we have been investigating its provenance and having the both this lantern and the outer protective lantern repaired and conserved. We have been using a company called Holywell Glass to provide the conservation services to restore the stained glass.
In September the outer skylight was removed allowing us access to the inner skylight, the first access for several years.
The skeleton of the outer skylight after the glass had been removed. This was the first time in over 40 years we have had access to the inner skylight.
It soon became apparent how dirty the glass was.
Hand-cleaned area of glass just after the outer skylight was removed.
In fact it was so dirty the only way to clean the dirt off ready for removal was with the gentle suction setting of a Henry hoover.
The stained glass was so dirty we had to carefully hoover it with a Henry!
The glass was carefully removed and stored to allow key building and restoration work to take place surrounding the skylight and for the glazing bars to be restored.
During November, Steve Clare from Holywell Glass came back to site to reinstate the stained glass lantern. The wooden frame had been refurbished and painted and a temporary deck was installed on the Nash Staircase scaffolding so that Steve could install the glass safely.
The restored and painted timber glazing supports for the inner skylight. You can also see the working deck which was installed so that work could be carried out safely.
The first job was to carefully clean the glass revealing a beautiful pink colour scheme.
The stained glass before it is cleaned by Holywell Glass.
A cleaned piece of glass next to one that has not been cleaned.
Cracks were carefully repaired, or, where repairs could not be made, replacement new pieces of glass were cut and installed. Lead repairs were also made to the existing frames.
Some pieces of glass were too badly damaged to be repaired, instead a new piece of matching glass had to be cut and installed.
Marking out the size and shape of the new piece of glass.
Cutting the glass to shape.
Lead soldering the glass into place.
Cleaning up the solder.
The completed repair.
After the glass had been repaired and cleaned it had to be taken up the scaffold to the skylight. There is only one way to do this safely – each piece has to be carried up by hand!
Each section had to be carefully carried up the scaffold – that’s 6 ladders to navigate and 20 panes of glass to get up there!
Each piece was carefully installed and fitted.
The first panes are in!
A view of the stained glass from the interior working deck
Another view from the working deck.
When the stained glass was all in place, it was covered with wood to protect it until the refurbished outer lantern is installed.
The skylight carefully covered in wood to protect it while it awaits its protective outer skylight to return.
In total it only took two days for all the glass to be cleaned and reinstated. Looking at the two images below you can see what a difference a simple clean can make! I can’t wait to see the effect of the cleaned skylight when the scaffolding in the Nash Staircase comes down!
The hoovered stained glass before being cleaned.
The cleaned and restored skylight in all its glory.
All the photos is this post were taken by our lovely Volunteer Roof Photographers Richard and Angela Knisely-Marpole.