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Hampton Court Palace unveils new Base Court with the help of Purcell Miller Tritton

Hampton Court Palace is commemorating the 500th anniversary of King Henry VIII’s accession to the throne in spectacular style from April 2009 with a number of events and activities to be held in Base Court, Henry VIII’s great Tudor courtyard, through the restoration work of leading architect and historic building consultant, Purcell Miller Tritton.

As Design Team Leaders, Purcell Miller Tritton (PMT) initially undertook a feasibility study to assess whether or not it would be possible to reinstate an authentic paving scheme to the base court as the magnificent outer quadrangle had undergone a number of changes throughout its lifetime. Little evidence of the Henrician paving scheme had survived, but photographs of Sir Christopher Wren’s original plans still remained and so it was agreed that these would form the basis of the new design.

The challenging scheme saw PMT work closely with all members of the project team and entailed not only resurfacing work, but also the conservation of existing building fabric and the incorporation of archaeological investigation, recording and protection strategies. In fact, during the project to restore Base Court, archaeologists at Hampton Court Palace unearthed the earliest surviving building ever discovered at the historic site. These exciting archaeological finds were carefully excavated and recorded by a team from Oxford Archaeology.

The new surface, laid in limestone from Purbeck and Kentish Rag quarries, has been carefully constructed using reversible traditional bedding and jointing techniques to replicate the historic project. Integrating new drainage within Wren’s historic brick culvert scheme, Base Court now also contains the means for servicing Historic Royal Palaces’ flexible interpretation requirements and future major events thanks to improved disabled access and power, lighting, sound and IT infrastructures.

Commenting on the project, Mark Goldspink, CEO of Purcell Miller Tritton said, “We are delighted to have been involved with this unique project that faithfully restores Sir Christopher Wren’s original work. This is the latest scheme which PMT has worked on for the Historic Royal Palaces since 1996 and we hope that there will be many more.”

Hampton Court Palace’s celebrations for the 500th anniversary kick off in spectacular style with visitors invited to become a courtier at Henry VIII’s palace and join a living Tudor world every day at the palace in 2009. Other events and exhibitions taking place throughout the year include; live Tudor cookery, Tudor music concerts and performances by Rick Wakeman, as well as a special pageant to mark the weekend of his coronation in June.

Email: Samantha@barlowcomms.co.uk


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