June saw the completion of a year-long restoration stained glass restoration project at Ballater Railway Station, extensively damaged by fire in January 2015.
In July 2017 we were asked to remove what remained of the 24 external windows in the Royal Waiting Room, so that refurbishment work could begin. No window was undamaged, with smoke staining, heat cracking and melted solder prevalent throughout. The windows were removed from their charred timber frames, labelled and removed to our studio.
Working with the principal contractor Morgan Sindall, Aberdeenshire Council and conservation architect Georgina Allison, a scope of work was devised to replicate salvaged windows, retaining as much original material as possible. Although only around 10% of the original glass was undamaged, this was enough to recreate all the individual designs originally present, in conjunction with archive photographs and fragments recovered from the window frames and floor of the Royal Waiting Room.
Once all the windows were photographed and documented, rubbings were taken and they were then either stripped out to obtain undamaged glass, or archived. Several of the damaged painted sections were glued in order to trace them to produce replicas.
The bulk of the work in the project concerned the replication of paintwork in the external windows and internal doors. Glass matching, paint and stain testing and production of cartoons for tracing took place in December 2017 and the majority of the paintwork was completed by late February 2018. As there was so much painted work to fire, construction of the panels was staggered over several months in order to maintain a steady flow of work through the kiln.
The panels were leaded up, soldered and cemented in the run up to Easter. In total, the project required the production of 52 replacement stained glass panels, and rebuilding 5 salvaged panels.
After leading up and cementing, the panels were fitted in three stages. Working around decorator schedules, we fitted the external glazing in the Royal Waiting Room first. These panels have been protected by secondary glazing, as they were prior to the fire.
Two internal doors were glazed next, with 24 panels based on panels in a door salvaged from the Station a few years back, now in private ownership.
The final glazing work was to install 9 panels in the old tea-room facade. The lettering on these was based on historic photographs, and prior work on the panels by Michael Zappert Leaded Lights in Aboyne meant a suitable colour match could be obtained for the surrounding border.