Behind the Scenes, Conservation
7 June 2016
Recent visitors to the castle will have noticed that there is quite a bit of conservation work taking place across the site at present, most notably at the James IV arch which forms part of the castle’s iconic forework.
Military architecture dominates the entrance of Stirling Castle and, in their own way, successive military engineers from the 16th century onwards demonstrated flair and finesse in providing defences to replace medieval walls. The response to the Jacobite Risings of the late 17th and 18th century ensured that the defences were kept repaired and renewed.
Our team of year-round conservation staff look after every crevice and cobble of the castle and during one of their routine inspections a blockage was discovered to a rainwater pipe associated with the drainage of the tower’s artillery battlement. The effects of water entering and moving through the stonework, and resulting freeze/thaw cycles over time had loosened some individual stones. The area was immediately scaffolded to allow these issues to be dealt with and the works are expected to be completed in June.
Over in the Palace, during scheduled inspections of chimneys and decorative stonework our colleagues discovered a worn support to one of the statues which requires a metal support to ensure stability for the future.
Whilst we recognise that it is not ideal to have works take place during peak times, our visitors understand the need for us to respond to these issues. They have also been remarkably interested in the work being carried out. Another perk of the works was greatly appreciated by visitors to our recent In Vogue event who were given tours of the foreworks and assailed the platform to the top of the tower, under the health & safety supervision of our conservation colleagues of course.
Historic Environment Scotland is an industry leader in promoting traditional skills and is committed to maintaining a diverse conservation workforce in-house. In this case it is paying dividends as our experts can identify defects to the buildings and respond immediately to carry out effective conservation works. Our apprenticeship programme also extends the legacy of these vital traditional skills for centuries to come.
You can find out more about the work of our conservation team here