DRICON protecting Stirling Castle art for Scotland’s future

Historic Scotland has completed work on all six apartments of the Royal Lodgings at Stirling Castle, including a recreation of the 16th century wooden ceilings. The boarded ceilings and moulded ribs forming the coffers used oak protected with Arch Timber Protection’s DRICON fire retardant.

The team at Historic Scotland chose DRICON for the project because it would provide reliable and proven fire-proofing without affecting the natural appearance of the wood.

“We met with Arch to discuss our requirements, and found them very helpful, and able to meet all our needs. Some treatments will restrict the finish that you can use, so one of the reasons we chose DRICON is that it gave us full flexibility – we were able to use DRICON-treated timber for both painted and unpainted areas, and not even be aware that it was there,” says Ruth Vaughan, Project Architect for the Stirling Castle restoration and Senior Architect on the Major Projects Team for Historic Scotland. “Our contractor sourced the oak from Timbmet Glasgow, cut it into sections and then liaised with Arch to get the timber treated with DRICON. The whole process went very smoothly.”

Jacqui Hughes, Arch Timber Protection’s Fire Retardant Sales Manager, says of the restoration work: ‘“We were delighted to be involved in such a prestigious project, and it is fantastic to know that one of our products will be protecting a piece of Scotland’s heritage for many years to come. DRICON is the only BBA-certificated fire retardant treatment for timber and provides the perfect proven fire protection for interior applications such as this.”

The most dramatic part of the restoration is the ceiling of the King’s Inner Hall, which was originally decorated with glorious painted oak carvings known as the Stirling Heads. The team at Historic Scotland set out to make a full set of copies based on the 34 remaining oak carvings, each measuring a metre across, to recreate the 16th century brightly-painted ceiling.

The £12 million project, which began in September 2008, will open in June 2011, just in time for the castle’s summer visitors. The original Stirling Heads will be displayed in a special gallery on the first floor of the castle's refurbished royal palace, along with a partly painted modern head, allowing visitors to see the difference between the unpainted and painted wood. For a sneak preview of the inside of the six royal apartments see the short Historic Scotland film on YouTube (www.youtube.com/historicscotlandtv).

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