May 2010

In 2010, the Chapel underwent an extensive restoration programme, including repairs to the intricate black and white marble floor.

This unique floor is made up of individually cut floor stones and includes a number of naval motifs. At its centre lies a ship’s anchor, and a rope design (said to match exactly the diameter of an anchor cable of the first-rate ship of the line) stretches the length of the Chapel.

Some of the floor stones were very loose and it was discovered that years of mopping the floor had washed away the lime mortar from between the marble pieces, making them unstable.

Replacing stones is a delicate business and many different factors need to be considered; even the temperature has to be correct. Work had to be carried out when the Chapel was still open to the public, which gave visitors an ideal opportunity to watch conservation in action.

It is always important to match stone carefully, and to source it, if possible, from the same quarries that supplied the originals. However, when first laid the perfectly matched Carrera marble stood out because it was so clean. Architects Giles Quarme & Associates decided to insert replacement stones as new so that they remain easy to distinguish.

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