TION 19th century flooring to its original splendour.

Lastly, previous temporary repairs were carried out using coloured epoxy resins, which was visually unappealing. As a result, some of the tiles had suffered so much damage their inner core began to show.

Commenting on the process, Adrian Attwood, Executive Director of DBR, said: “As it receives nearly a million visitors per year, the Palace of Westminster required high-quality restoration work which would involve replicating the exact original design of the tiles and ensuring they would remain intact for as long as possible.

“We also had to make sure we could conduct these repairs over the years with minimal disruption to Parliament’s numerous employees and visitors. To do this, we set up a controlled environment, consisting of tents and vacuum air filters, which were designed to protect everyone and everything within the space, including the works of art.”

Once the tiles were recorded to an agreed methodology, which included a combination of physical and photogrammetric surveys, the project then required a great deal of skill from DBR’s stone masons. They had to work with 1.5mm joints, manage dust and moisture control, carry out repairs to the subfloors to deal with cracks and maintain the fine tolerances in the floor layout.

While it was certainly a challenging task, the incomparable craftsmanship of the team combined with a flexible and collaborative client approach, meant the end result was one of the most successful restorations the Palace has seen in decades.


FOR PARLIAMENT The journey to restore the encaustic tiles was a long one, and the challenges were many, however DBR successfully salvaged the renowned floors of St Stephen’s Hall, Central Lobby, Peers’ Lobby, the Royal Gallery and the Lower Waiting Hall, as well as numerous corridors.

Remarking on the first tiles laid nearly two centuries ago, Pugin wrote a letter to Herbert Minton of Thomas Minton & Sons, in which he said: “I declare your St Stephen’s tiles are the finest done in the tile way, vastly superior to any ancient work; in fact, they are the best tiles in the world and I think my patterns and your workmanship go ahead of anything.”

Echoing this statement, DBR’s Adrian Attwood concludes: “Despite multiple fires and even war, this iconic landmark has stood strong over the centuries. The marvellous encaustic tiles found throughout the Palace can be considered as much a work of art as the glazing, murals and statuary, and we are honoured to have worked with Strategic Estates to help restore one of the site’s most beautiful and historically significant architectural features for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.” SPOTLIGHT | 21 Credit: ©UK Parliament Jessica Taylor

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