Greater London South East Network

Old Royal Naval College Painted Hall SLP

Getting to the top with a Shared Learning Project

Four U3A South East London members are working as part of an SLP team taking photographs of the people involved in the conservation of the ceiling of the Painted Hall in the Old Royal Naval College. So far we have taken more than 380 photographs and will continue to photograph everyone working on the project until completion in 2018. The pictures will form a unique record for the archive and are already being used for publicity and social media purposes.
The conservation work is an enormous challenge with 3,400 square metres of painted surface to return to pristine condition. The total costs have been estimated at £8.5 million and currently there is another £2 million to raise to complete the project.
At the moment, the scaffolding is complete in the vestibule and recently two of us, Richard Beck and myself, were able to climb the 90 foot scaffolding to photograph the conservers at work. Our climb involved both vertical ladders and access steps, so not the easiest climb, but It was an amazing experience to view the ceiling and the pediments being cleaned. This part of the project will not be open to the public so we felt privileged to be there.
In the spring, once the major part of the scaffolding is erected in the hall itself, visitors will be able to climb stairs to the top for a close up view of the ceiling and the conservers at work. Tickets for this will go on sale shortly with the proceeds going to the conservation fund. If you are interested in the painted hall and the project look out for the ticket sales and don’t miss this unique experience. There may be an opportunity for U3A SEL members to take part in the preview tours in which case the opportunity will be advertised through MailChimp.

Roger Mead

Article first published in the U3A South East London Newsletter