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New Place Project Update, July 2015

Work progresses at New Place, where restoration work on Nash’s House is starting to take shape.

It’s been an interesting week on the New Place site as restoration work on Nash’s House is starting to take shape. The team have been working on the South Gable Elevation, where the plan is to install new wooden panels into the wall to replace some of the previous restoration work which was conducted on the house in the early 1900s.  Some of the old panels have become damaged, so it is imperative for these to be replaced for conservation purposes in order to secure the wellbeing of the house.

Conservation Nash's House

The team are doing this is by using timber as the primary support, and a hemp-lime composite for the main building material.  Although the idea of using hemp might seem quite strange today, it has been used for centuries for building work and with many other products such as textiles.  Growing hemp was even encouraged by Henry VIII and politicians during the 16th Century because it was such a useful commodity.

When the last restoration took place on the house in the 1960s, concrete and steel was used as a filler for the wall, but ultimately this meant that the house wasn’t watertight enough and resulted in some rotting of the timbers. So, our team have been mixing the hemp, lime and water together onsite to create a paste, which can then be moulded onto the new wooden frames and when dry and complete, this will help to make the structure water tight, air tight and stronger.

Conservation, Nash's House

It is a long process but definitely worthwhile in the end, going to show that maybe sometimes the old methods are the best methods!

Visit our website to find out more about what’s happening at Shakespeare’s New Place.