It took two weeks to painstakingly remove the 200-year old Chinese wallpaper from the Yellow Drawing Room in The East Wing of the Palace
25 February 2020
The Royal Family has revealed a glimpse of the multi-million-pound refurbishment at Buckingham Palace. The royal residence is currently undergoing an essential overhaul in order to ensure it is ‘fit for purpose for the next 50 years’. The East Wing of the Palace is most notably affected, including the Chinese Drawing Room, the Yellow Drawing Room and the Centre Room. Revealed on Instagram, the palace revealed curious ephemera found beneath the floorboards, including old cigarette packets and a newspaper clipping, dating back to 1954.
Buckingham Palace was first built in 1703 for the Duke of Buckingham, before becoming the London residence of the British monarch in 1837, when Queen Victoria ascended the throne. Refurbishments began in 2019 and are set to last up to a decade, costing £369 million.
This is no ordinary lick of paint – 3000 artworks have been temporarily removed from the palace, as well as priceless furniture and tapestries. The antique Chinese wallpaper, which covered the Yellow Drawing Room, has been meticulously removed, in order to be preserved for another 100 years. The wallpaper was first brought to the Palace by Queen Victoria, who acquired it from the Royal Pavilion in Brighton. It was stored in an attic and forgotten about, until Queen Mary discovered the hand-painted wallpaper whilst rearranging the East Wing following the First World War.
The essential works will modernise electrics, plumbing and heating at the palace, which has barely been updated since the 1950s. Asbestos, discovered in the West Attic, is also being removed.
Buckingham Palace is not the only landmark in London undergoing a facelift – Big Ben is also currently enclosed underneath a sheet of scaffolding, as the famous clock tower undergoes extensive restoration. The works are set to be completed in 2021.
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