Experts this week began a study aimed at finding the best way to clean up the Palace of Westminster in London, the extensive group of building beside the River Thames which accommodate the Houses of Parliament.
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Background: Experts this week began a study aimed at finding the best way to clean up the Palace of Westminster in London, the extensive group of building beside the River Thames which accommodate the Houses of Parliament.
The "Mother of Parliaments" has been housed on the site for centuries, but the old palace was largely destroyed by first in 1834. The present structure, in elaborate Gothic style and covered with statues, was built between 1840 and 1860 to designs by Sir Charles Barry.
The past century has covered it with a layer of black grime for removed from the architect's romantic conception. The tests now being carried out will show which method offers the best prospect for restoring its former magic - water-brushing, dry grit blasting or wet grit blasting.
Wet cleaning usually gives the best results, but there are fears that it may damage the iron and wood structure beneath the stone. The experts are also worried that the noise of the cleaning operation may drown the voices of the legislators inside.
SYNOPSIS: The Houses of Parliament in London may lose their century-old coating of black, grime of cleaning experiments prove successful. The Palace of Westminster which houses the British Parliament, was built between 1840 and 1860, after an earlier palace on the site was destroyed by fire.
The new building were designed by Sir Charles Barry. a Gothic enthusiast who covered his work with statures, pinnacles and traceried windows. The mass of detail is a big headache for the cleaners. They are experimenting with wet and dry sand-blasting, and scrubbing with water, to find which method does least damage to the structure.
They also have to find a method which is quite enough not to drown the voices of the legislators debating inside.