Sewerby Hall

Sector: Buildings of Historic Interest

Main Contractor: William Birch,York

Architect: East Riding of Yorkshire Council

• Securing ceilings
• Lime Plastering
• Restoration of internal plaster mouldings
• Restoration of external mouldings

Sewerby Hall is a Grade I listed Georgian country house that dates from 1714. In 1936, in a ceremony led by aviator Amy Johnson, the hall and 50 acres of landscaped gardens opened to the public.The hall, which was recently given a new lease of life by a comprehensive phased refurbishment programme, now attracts over 150,000 visitors annually to the village of Sewerby, near Bridlington,EastYorkshire.

The principal contractors, William Birch of York, working for the East Riding of Yorkshire Council, managed the first phase of the works which involved the conversion of outbuildings into holiday-let units. During the second phase three plasterers from Ornate Interiors were on site most days over a nine-month period, carrying out a variety of internal and external treatments. Back at the Ornate Interiors workshop in Pudsey, near Leeds, additional staff manufactured mouldings to match originals and then transported them to the venue for fixing.

Internally, 25 rooms needed attention, including the historic Amy Johnson Room. Ornate Interiors craftsmen applied haired lime plastering to the walls and ceilings- a method dating back millennia which adds horse-hair to a lime mix to bind the plaster more effectively during the curing process, and which allows a building to breathe more effectively. Using the tried-and-tested penny-washer and screw method, they secured a number of ceiling areas where laths had been damaged. Thirdly, they carried out in situ restoration of a variety of mouldings, including ceiling panels and cornices.

Externally, many fascia features were reinstated. These included mouldings applied using Roman Stucco to the Courtyard and Clock Tower, cornices, architraves, keystones and raised bands to the window heads.

Janice Smith, Curator of the Museum of East Yorkshire based at Sewerby Hall, commented:
“ Ornate Interiors were a pleasure to work with. Their professionalism and craftsmanship, combined with a can-do attitude and sense of humour, made our restoration campaign an absolute joy. ”

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