Restoring the Palm Houses - part II
Protective cladding now shelters our iconic Palm House buildings, but behind-the-scenes, progress is being made on the restoration of these magnificent buildings: glass is being replaced, stonework restored and rusting ironwork brought back to life.
The Edinburgh Biomes project will protect global plant science and conservation through the restoration of the Palm Houses, ensuring the future of these A-listed historic structures and the precious plants that they house.
Watch the short film below to learn more about the vision, complexities and challenges of this crucial project.
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Restoring the Palm Houses
- Read video transcript
Video Transcript Time Description [Amy Murray, Head of Edinburgh Biomes Programme] There's an urgent need for us to restore the Palm Houses here at the Royal Botanic Garden of Edinburgh. The reason being that they really are old structures, they're Victorian structures. They're really ready for refurbishment so that they can go on for the next hundred years. They house our living collection of plants which are very precious. Right on top of that is an important historic building, they've been there a long while, they really do need restoration now. This is the first time we've carried out this level of restoration to the Palm Houses, we've had to very carefully restore the cast iron work, the glass that's in there is, it's thin, and it's old, we want to replace it with something a bit more technical. We do need to keep as much original stonework as possible, but we really do need to patch and repair various areas. [Colin Reid, Senior Project Manger, Balfour Beatty] We started on site in September, 2022. The plants had all been removed by the work team. We then put our protection layer down onto the ground, we're erecting a scaffold, that's give us access to the roof and all the ironwork. So all the glass is getting replaced, the paint will be removed from all the ironwork on site, and then all the ironwork gets repainted. We'll be inspecting the ironwork for any defects, any damage, any corrosion, repairing it, replacing it. Whilst always maintaining as much of the original structure as possible. At the same time we'll be doing structural repairs, or stonework repairs, to the existing stone. Once the glass has been installed, the scaffolds will come down and that will release the works that have to be done down at ground level. so the trades that we have working on the site include the scaffolders, we have ironworkers, we have glaziers, we have stonemasons, there's some minor jointer work, there's lead work.
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