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Flooring by WelshSlate features in a new gallery at the British Museum.

Natural slateflooring by Welsh Slate was specified for the refurbishment of a gallery at theBritish Museum for a multitude of reasons.

Some 172m2of various sizes of Cwt Y Bugail dark blue grey floor slates from Welsh SlateLtd, part of the Lagan Group, were used on the redevelopment of the museum's“Middle Room”, one of the oldest rooms in Sir Robert Smirke's Georgian museum.

They werespecified by Purcell architects, the museum's conservation architects and leadconsultants, based on their working knowledge of the product which is producedfrom Welsh Slate's quarry in Llan Ffestiniog in Snowdonia.

Purcell partnerElizabeth Smith said: “The Welsh Slate flooring was specified to match historicfinishes within the museum. It lends historic integrity to the proposals andmakes the room harmonious with other areas of the museum. It also provides adurable and beautiful finish.”

She added: “Wework on lots of historic and listed British buildings and Welsh Slate is aregular feature in these.”

The Welsh Slateflooring, in a fine rubbed finish to give a smooth sheen, was installed oversix weeks by specialist sub-contractor WB Simpson & Sons for maincontractor Coniston, the museum's framework contractor for more than 10years.

WB Simpsondirector Steve Valler said: “The project was a little more challenging thanusual as there were manholes and temperature and climate-controlled showcasesto work around but the Welsh Slate flooring performed very well.“

The projectinvolved an initial strip-out of the Middle Room, including the removal of theexisting floor and other significant structural alterations, to facilitate thenew Waddesdon Bequest gallery display.

This is a collectionof nearly 300 objects, left to the museum in 1898 by Baron FerdinandRothschild. It comprises medieval and Renaissance pieces, depicting afascinating picture of the development of the art market in the late 19th Century.

A Conistonspokesperson said: “As with all refurbishment works at the British Museum, therefurbishment - to include a complete new slate floor, a full decorationpackage, new M&E services and exhibition cases - was required to be completedto the highest standards, with exacting finishes to meet not only the client'srequirements but those of English Heritage due to the building's listed status.” 

The new galleryspace was designed by Stanton Williams to significantly improve the display ofobjects from the Waddesdon Bequest and to enable the collection to be betterunderstood and enjoyed by the public.

To achieve thisPurcell and Stanton Williams worked closely with the museum's curatorial teamon elements such as the re-use of the historic joinery to receive objectdisplays and alterations to the floor structure and finishes to receive the newshowcases.

A modern, bespokeAV and architectural lighting system was also installed as part of therefurbishment. 


Photo: � The Trusteesof the British Museum.

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