Anticipation has been building at Drayton Hall as we gear up for the final phase of the portico rehabilitation project, which includes preservation contractors from Richard Marks Restorations, Inc., beginning the careful demolition and removal of modern concrete that has compromised the structural integrity of the portico for years. An extensive research and planning process was carried out to ensure that the new building materials will meet the present day demands placed on the house without negatively impacting the historic building materials that survive from the 1740s.
Last week, our Curator of Historic Architectural Resources Patricia Lowe Smith shared the good news with Drayton Hall staff:
I am excited to tell you that I just received the official Notice to Proceed for the portico project. (Cue champagne corks!) You may have already noticed some materials being delivered to the house in recent days, and you will see more of that through the end of the week. Before any demolition takes place the workers will be implementing a very thorough protection plan that will include lots of foam, plastic sheeting and plywood to protect the house. A plywood wall will be erected in the basement to shield visitors from flying dust and debris, and the view will be obscured from the great hall(s) by plastic sheeting and plexi glass that will be used to keep dust and flying objects from damaging anything.
We are working to schedule a meeting for the guides to discuss the project and its potential impact on tours in detail. All staff are welcome to attend this meeting. At this point I can tell you that the contractors are being as careful as they can to plan for the most noisy and potentially disruptive work during early morning or evening hours. I hope to have meeting details to you shortly, but in the meantime you are welcome to contact me with any questions.
Visitors can expect to see preservation in progress through October 2015. The house will remain open for tours during this time, and we hope you will pardon our dust as we carry out this important preservation work. Watch for frequent updates on our blog, Facebook, and Instagram pages, and you’ll also be able to see the project unfold hour by hour on our website where we’ll be posting time-lapse photographs of work underway. When the dust settles it will be our pleasure to welcome you onto Drayton Hall’s iconic portico once again.