Swindon Borough Council Corporate Projects team are embarking on a programme of external restoration and repairs to Lydiard House this summer. Swindon based firm Beard Construction, specialists in historic buildings, have been appointed as the council’s main contractor and began works on 20th July.
The program of work includes render repairs to the building’s 19th century north wing and repair to the lead parapet gutter. This wing was built in around 1830 and incorporated the kitchens and servants quarters. Today it forms part of the conference centre and hotel facility which is managed by the council.
In the coming months Beards will strip away old paintwork off the rendered areas of the North wing, repairing the render underneath and repainting it with a breathable mineral paint. Masonry repairs will also be carried out to the parapet wall and chimney stacks together with carpentry repairs and redecorations to all timber windows.
The council will also carry out masonry repairs to Lydiard’s two grand classical facades where the honey coloured Bath stone has deteriorated. Here too, windows will be repaired and redecorated and the tower wall walls will be made good with lime plaster and painted with limewash.
At the back of the house, where the remains of the older Elizabethan manor can still be seen, the limewash will be re-coated. Limewash is a very ancient water- based paint made from crushed limestone and is considered to be the ideal choice for old buildings. Unlike modern barrier paints, it works by sinking into the surface, it then hardens by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to form crystals of calcium carbonate, which give the limewash its deep matt appearance and protective qualities.
These external works are part of a series of repairs and improvements the council are investing in at Lydiard. In 2019 the Corporate Projects team carried out a number of repairs and improvements including replacing the aging oil fired heating system in the ground floor State Rooms with a more efficient and environmentally controlled system and refurbishment of the 17th Century metal framed windows at the back of the house.
The council hope to complete the current repairs towards the end of October, subject to weather conditions and any further Covid19 restrictions which may be imposed.