Conserving and maintaining a national treasure
ESK was awarded the contract for the complete repair and repainting of Bletchley Park’s mansion, one of the original buildings which dates back hundreds of years. It had not been redecorated for more than 30 years so ESK removed all unsound paintwork and carried out numerous timber repairs which will protect it for another 12 years.
‘Block B’, a new exhibition area, was reopened by the Duke of Kent on 10 June 2004, in time for the D-Day landing celebrations. In the run-up to such an important event, it was ESK’s responsibility to ensure it would be ready. ESK was tasked with its entire internal and external refurbishment, so it could house most of Bletchley Park Trust’s historic collection, and provide education facilities and a restaurant.
Unoccupied for over a decade, Block B had fallen into disrepair. External masonry and brickwork were in a poor condition and a leaking roof had caused extensive water damage inside. ESK renovations included:
- removing crumbling external coatings
- stabilising surfaces
- applying a fungicide treatment
- using a double coat of Dulux All Seasons masonry paint to provide protection for up to 15 years
- repairing water damage inside the building
- applying a stain sealer
- painting it to give an acrylic eggshell finish
- returning all rooms to their original 1940s decor , which included painting ceilings black.
The ESK restoration team was honoured to also renovate the famous ‘Hut 4’, which housed the Japanese and western Europe cryptography teams up to September 1942, when they moved into the main building. As Hut 4 is an elderly wooden construction and required specialist redecoration, ESK chemically stripped the original coating and replaced it with an application of a water-borne coating called Bradite WC42. This is a flexible paint that was necessary because it allows movement in the substrate, which is typical in this type of construction.
“ESK have performed well and coped with our programmes which have to be flexible to accommodate visitors and conferences.”
David Dowsing, Operations Director, Bletchley Park