London Canal Museum in King's Cross has just completed a project to restore the walls of its main staircase to natural brick appearance. The extensive and attractive natural brick walls are one of the most popular features of this historic venue, which was built in the 1860s as an ice warehouse. When the options were considered for improving the appearance of the main stairs, one of the few parts of the building that had not been refurbished for some years, the trustees decided to go "back to beautiful brick" and engaged a specialist contractor to blast off the layers of paint and then re-point the walls with traditional lime-based mortar.
The work involved scaffolding and cladding to enclose the site of work, during which time the museum remained open as usual with minimal disruption. Visitors used an alternative staircase to reach the timber-roofed first floor.
Also included in the project was a new lighting installation using the latest LED technology to provide for brighter, more reliable, and very energy-efficient lighting, appropriate to a "green" museum rated "silver" in the Green Tourism Business Scheme. Redesigned cable routes minimise the "clutter" effect.
The improvements will benefit all the museum's visitors including those attending corporate and private functions such as receptions, dinners, conferences and wedding receptions. The staircase, previously of very utilitarian décor, is now a another attractive feature of this waterside London venue.