With the most comprehensive conservation project in the Painted Hall’s history now close to completion, the extensive scaffolding in the Lower Hall, which enabled conservators and visitors alike to view the ceiling up close, has been dismantled.

It took nearly 6 weeks to carefully dismantle the scaffolding (it is said that if you were to place every article of scaffolding in a straight line, the length would be as long as 7 miles!). As the planks and steel tubes came down, a team of contractors followed with vacuum cleaners, ensuring that dust and dirt was kept to an absolute minimum. After the observation deck was removed, new LED lighting units, hidden from view deep within the high level windows, were tested for the first time.

In November, the beautiful 19th-century naval benches made for the Painted Hall during its time as the National Gallery of Naval Art (1824-1936) returned home after a spell of over 100 years in Royal Museums of Greenwich store in Kidbrooke. Furthermore, five replica benches have been produced by a specialist furniture maker in Somerset, Daniel Morris. The wood carving for the rope detail on the back of the benches is being produced separately. The carver was intrigued to find a mistake in the design of the knots in the original benches. He has offered to correct this in the new versions, introducing a dilemma over authenticity versus accuracy – see if you can spot the mistake when we reopen!

The installation of the furniture has been taking place this week, including the placing of 16 of the new day beds in the Lower Hall. The quality and comfort of leather upholstery made for the day beds has certainly exceeded expectations, as tested and certified by some of our volunteers, who had the opportunity to test last month.

16 brand new day beds have been introduced to the Painted Hall, allowing visiting to lie back and view the ceiling. 

Meanwhile in the King William Undercroft (below the Painted Hall), the final stone paving was laid around the Tudor archaeology and the installation of an Italian-made bronze glazed screen has taken place. This screen – the design of which is based on the glazing pattern of the leaded windows - will separate the interpretation gallery from the working Undercroft – acting as an environmental barrier. The balustrade around the archaeology will follow shortly. With the final touches still to go – stay tuned for more info and updates.