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Weston Park renovation underway after flood causes ceiling collapse

By Rory Smith | Shifnal | Attractions | Published:

A 17th century dining room at a historic mansion is being renovated after its ceiling collapsed when an upstairs bathroom flooded.

The team from Highgate Decorators

Specialist designers have started repairing and refurbishing the room at Weston Park, which includes removing priceless works of art for the first time in 60 years.

The damage occurred when water from a flooded bathroom poured through cracks in the plaster and caused a small section of the ceiling to collapse in the summer of 2018.

Managers at the popular country estate in Weston-under-Lizard, near Shifnal, said residential guests and a salvage operation prevented major damage to the room.

About 70 people are contributing towards the project, with the painting being a particularly intensive task. At times there have been 12 painters working alongside each other led by Highgate Decorators.

The team from Highgate Decorators

There are also ceramics that have been protected and the late Regency ormolu and cut glass chandelier, weighing about half a tonne and circa 1825, has had to be lowered to the ground.

As well as being a room filled with artwork from painters such as Anthony van Dyck, Thomas Gainsborough and Hans Holbein the Younger, it also stands at double height and is used for entertaining guests as it has done for centuries.

The ornate plaster-moulded ceilings are 23ft high and the windows are on a lower and upper tier. Supporting the work is a team of people that includes a design committee, historic research team, a colourist, an interior designer and skilled crafts people.

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In line with the work carried out by the Weston Park Charitable Foundation since it took over the park in 1986, the project aims to respect the history of the room while still being reflective of current times.

The team from Highgate Decorators

Colin Sweeney, Weston Park CEO, said: "After months of work, we are very pleased with how the scheme is coming together.

"As a room that has historically been designed to entertain, the new scheme complements the past whilst bringing the dining room with us into its next generation of use and enjoyment."

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The last time the room was decorated was in the 1960s by the late Countess of Bradford. The current scheme has been influenced by extensive research carried out by Weston Park’s curator Gareth Williams.

Gareth also sits on the design committee along with Rose Paterson, former head of trustees, Christina Kenyon-Slaney, newly appointed head of trustees and Colin Sweeney.

Renovation work has started on the dining room of Weston Park

The interior design is being done by Lucinda Griffith, who has worked on many of the bedrooms at the manor and has previous experience in the heritage sector.

Paint specialist Charles Hesp of Hesp Jones and Co was consulted when choosing the shades of paint being used for the project.

The new design will be revealed to guests for the first time when Valentine’s weekend events take place on February 14 and 15.

Rory Smith

By Rory Smith
Reporter - @rorysmith_star

Senior reporter based at the Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley, Telford.

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