Mosaic restoration takes centre stage

A LARGE Victorian mosaic which has been hidden away for nearly a quarter of a century is to take pride of place in the new Barnsley Civic.

Thursday, 20th September 2007, 2:59 pm
Updated Friday, 21st September 2007, 9:50 am

The century-old mosaic floor, in the Eldon Street entrance, has been carefully repaired and cleaned by specialist restoration experts.

A team from Cliveden Conservation Workshop successfully revealed ornate mosaic work which has not been seen since the Civic’s last major refurbishment in the 1970s.

The team, which has worked on a wide variety of similar projects, including 74 St James’s Street in London, St Paul’s and Winchester Cathedrals and numerous National Trust-owned properties, had to use all their skills to repair the worn surfaces and restore the mosaic.

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The process took a highly skilled team several weeks to complete.

Barnsley Civic is halfway through a 15 million revamp which will see the grade II listed building transformed into workshops, studio and exhibition space, offices, meeting rooms, art and craft shops as well as the Design Centre and the council’s Community Information Service.

Guy Edwards, project director of Cliveden Conservation Workshop, said: “The objective was not to make the floor look brand new, as this would have left it out of keeping with the rest of the building, but to conserve and repair the pattern of the white marble mosaic with its patterned black tiled border and central motif in each section of the entrance hall.

“Mosaic floors of this nature were very popular and highly fashionable during the Victorian period but very few remain intact today. The Civic’s example features a predominantly white floor surrounded by an ornate black border and central motif.”

The mosaic will be cleaned and waxed in the next two weeks once all surrounding building work has been completed. It will be on public display when the civic reopens later in the year.