The Great Hall Floor Restoration
Adlington Hall is a historical house and needs a lot of maintenance to keep the original structures in perfect condition. This month we have been undergoing maintenance on the Great Hall floor.
Adlington Halls Great Hall
Two years ago, an area of the Great Hall floor became unusually ‘springy’ beneath the Canopy of Estates. Deep scores on the surface of the soft area, are believed to have been made decades ago, when an antique grand piano toppled over. The piano leg gave way after being moved too forcefully. Compression damage beneath the floor was suspected and it appears to have been the case, coupled with natural ageing.
Action was needed to rectify the spring and we sought the services of heritage conservation specialists, H+R Consultants, Manchester. H+R appointed contractors Aura Construction of Stockport, who have vast experience of working with Grade 1 listed buildings. The suspended floor construction is to be restrengthened, retaining the historical timber.
The low brick walls supporting the central oak bearers, will be rebuilt using the existing bricks with fresh lime mortar and also protected from damp, with Welsh slate DPC. Several ageing joists are to be partnered up with new English oak joists for strength. Aura Construction let us know their start date, so we set about storing safely away, all the Great Hall and the North Door Foyer display items.
History of the Great Hall Floor
The Great Hall, where our weddings take place, is Mid-Saxon in origin and carbon dating has placed the in-situ, Great Oak Trees at around 800 AD. We are also home to England’s most important, 17th Century musical instrument, the Great Organ which Handel played and composed on in 1740. So having such historic treasures of national importance, protecting everything from clogging work dust is essential. Aura have carefully installed a dust canopy over the floor with a dust extraction unit. Perfect!
The most fascinating discovery of the works so far is that the Great Hall floor is entirely constructed using reclaimed wood from Adlington Hall’s numerous alterations. The majority of the wood is centuries old and most have Tudor workings on them. The Great Hall oak floor surface, was once actual flooring from the 1757 Georgian Ballroom. Although demolished in 1928/29, it’s fantastic to still be using an important part of that very special and glamorous room.
The construction of the famous cockfighting pit, that was beneath the Great Hall floor remains a mystery. The grit and sand floor is still present, but exactly how High Sheriff Richard Crosse-Legh (1754-1822), gained access to utilise the pit it is now lost in time. The probability is, that when the floor was last repaired around 1928/29, the access hatches were removed. Cockfighting was banned outright in England and Wales and in the British Overseas Territories with the Cruelty to Animals Act 1835.
Work commenced the 6th of October 2015 and will be finished this week. We all look forward to seeing the breathtaking vistas and murals again very soon.