Condition Survey – Update

The Condition Survey, funded by English Heritage and The Pilgrim Trust is almost complete and we shall soon know the size and likely cost of the task ahead. There have been many meetings with the various consultants involved and we hope to see the comprehensive results of their work at the beginning of May. Meanwhile, we have seen the preliminary results from a number of the individual reports.

These include the bat & bird survey, asbestos survey, drain survey, paint analysis, material analysis and the measured survey. The rest are due to be completed by the end of April 2012. An extension was granted from English Heritage whilst some further investigations were carried out. Full details of the consultants involved can be found here.

The Paint Survey

These investigations by Lisa Oestreicher were commissioned by the Trust to establish the colour and type of paints used within the Winsford Cottage Hospital since it was opened. The paint survey will help inform the programme of repair and conservation. One aim in particular was to establish the original colour scheme that was used when the hospital was opened in 1900.

Twenty-one paint samples were taken from internal and external surfaces, including walls, doors, skirting boards, fireplaces and drainage downpipes. Samples were removed with the aid of a scalpel blade, dental drill and conservation chisel.

The samples were mounted in polyester resin and very thin cross-sections were prepared. A high powered microscope was used to examine them under normal light and ultra-violet light. Once the sequence of paint layers was established micro-chemical tests were undertaken to identify the pigments used in each layer.

Lisa discovered that enough of the historic paintwork survives to gain an understanding of how the hospital was decorated at various times in its history.

Wall Colors

Immediately following construction of the hospital the walls in the Entrance Hall, Men’s Ward and Operating Theatre were distempered a brilliant shade of white. It is most likely that the wall surfaces in the other wards, circulation spaces and adjoining offices and treatment rooms were treated in a similar manner. It is also likely that the ceilings throughout the hospital were likewise plainly distempered white.

Paint Finish – Woodwork

The Men’s Ward was the only room found to have traces of the original paint on its woodwork. The first colour used in this room was a yellow- green traditional lead based paint applied over a red lead primer.

Original paint was not found on woodwork in other spaces, but Lisa concludes that the plain nature of the hospital and the identification of the same wall treatment in more than one room suggests that the woodwork throughout the building may have been decorated using the same colour. One exception to this may have been the oak fireplace surround in the Entrance Hall.

Corridor Door Hinge Strap

Paint Finish – Iron Work

Against this yellow-green background the ironwork door hinges were painted a greenish-brown colour originally.

A little more work is needed to do exact colour matching but it is hoped that as part of the repair and restoration of the grade II* listed cottage hospital, the building will once more be painted in the original colour scheme.