May 2023

Palace View

It is now just over 25 years ago that the Windsor Castle restoration was completed after the disastrous fire. H+R’s principal involvement was in relation to providing investigative consultancy on the drying down of the affected structures after more than a million gallons of water was pumped in to extinguish the fire. A carefully devised programme of protracted monitoring was put together by H+R in support of the Architects, Donald Insall Associates and the Royal Household. This enabled a fast-track refurbishment to successfully take place under the ever watchful eye of the redoubtable late Duke of Edinburgh. H+R’s previous experience of managing post-fire refurbishment on significant buildings such as Cullen House in Moray, Uppark and Hampton Court Palace was invaluable at Windsor and has developed since on post-fire projects such as Glasgow School of Art and Clandon House

To quote from Adam Nicolson’s book ‘Restoration’

“Towards the end of the year, Hutton + Rostron took over as environmental consultants, pursuing a far more aggressive strategy towards banishing the wetness from the building. Tim Hutton, ex-soldier, ex-vet and a man with an intense and crusading enthusiasm for the need to treat a building as an organism, brought a sudden new dynamism to the problem of damp. ‘You must think,’ he says, about the way a building breathes to understand its health in the way a vet might understand an animal. This is something that has suffered intense trauma. Nurse it back to wholeness. Think how it might heal itself. If someone had fallen into a river and freezing cold water and was suffering from hypothermia and shock, you wouldn’t just stand there and say, “There, there, never mind.” You’d do something about it, wouldn’t you? What would you do? You’d take their wet cold clothes off, wouldn’t you, and start to dry them out.’

If that was medical talk, there was a military air to Hutton + Rostron’s operations. A system of electronic wetness monitors was pushed into the walls all over the fire-damaged site and then linked by telephone to the H + R headquarters near Guildford. Electronically and telephonically produced sections, colour-coded for different levels of humidity, were printed out for all members of the project team and the Royal Family to get a visual fix on the problem. Specially trained Rot-hounds, a labrador and a spaniel, were sent sniffing for dry rot all over the site.”

During May, H+R have been heavily engaged by one of the largest house builders in the UK on a framework contract to investigate and advise on many water penetration issues affecting new-build houses and flats. H+R’s expertise in hazardous mould growth, interstitial condensation, plaster, beetle infestation, moisture movement and drying-down has been to the fore

The usual eclectic range of projects has filled the gaps between mainstream work for institutions, heritage organisations, contractors, developers, estates and private clients. This has included a Lock Keepers cottage for Willmott Dixon, the Marx Memorial Library, the Lockerbie Sawmill, the Roman Wall in Horncastle, Redcar Central Station, The Royal Society of Sculptors, Kingston Prison and Leyton Cricket Pavilion!

Buckingham Palace gratitude

Author: Carissa
Published on Last updated 17th September 2023

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