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Shakespeare’s Globe is a renowned performing arts venue and cultural landmark located on the south bank of the river Thames in central London. It was constructed between 1993 and 1996 to be an approximate recreation of the Elizabethan playhouse for which William Shakespeare wrote his plays in the early 1600’s.
The main fabric of the building is of English oak timber construction infilled with lath and plaster panels. It is an “authentic” 16th-century timber-framed building as no structural steel is used. The Globe also has the first and only thatched roof permitted in London since the Great Fire of 1666.
Artisan Plastercraft was initially engaged to survey the current condition of the lime plasterwork. With around 2,000 individual lime panels of various shapes and sizes, the job was an extensive one. The survey was carried out over the course of four months, attending weekly site inspections. Our written and photographic report highlighted 135 panels where restoration was recommended.
See here for more information on our historic plaster survey service, where Shakespeare’s Globe is listed as a case study.
Several samples of lime render were collected during the survey and sent away for analysis to establish the exact specification and composition used in the construction and to enable us to recommend a suitable product for the restoration work. We provided a selection of materials to the team at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre to choose from, with Lime Green’s Ultra and Lux lime plasters being selected for use. For the restoration of internal areas, such as the stairwells and gallery ceilings, we utilised a traditional lime putty supplied by Chalk Down Lime.
Over a six-month period the defective panels were stripped back by our experts to allow new, hand riven timber laths to be fitted, and then apply lime plaster as a three-coat system with a Tallow lime wash to finish.
“Sustainability, safety and strength were key for us when carrying out the remedial works at the Globe Theatre,” says Deborah McGhee, head of building operations at Shakespeare’s Globe. “The finish looks great and it appears to be a really easy product to work with, seeing it being expertly applied by Artisan Plastercraft. We are incredibly pleased with the results.”
Further information about the theatre building, its visitor activities and forthcoming live performances can be found on Shakespeare’s Globe website.