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Apsley House, London - SSH Conservation

Apsley House was designed and built in London in the 1770s by Robert Adam for Lord Chancellor Henry. Its original address was Number 1, London, being the first residence on Piccadilly’s north side. Later, it was bought and transformed by Arthur Wellesley, the First Duke of Wellington, into a palatial residence.  The house remained the Wellington’s townhouse until 1947, when the Seventh Duke gave it to the nation. In 2004 responsibility for maintaining Apsley House was transferred to English Heritage, which continues to display and research the collections.

The Problem

In August 2014, Sally Strachey Historic Conservation carried out cleaning trials at Apsley House to determine the safest and most effective method of removing surface soiling without disturbing the historic treatment of copperas wash.

On site, careful planning was required for deliveries and for the protection of the internal areas of the building.  Dust was a particular challenge as there were valuable museum objects to be mindful of.

The main conservation programme in 2015 comprised of a sensitive cleaning programme, stone consolidation, repairs, protection and replacement to this important façade. 

The Solution

Restorative Techniques visited the site to investigate the building and trained staff on the use of ThermaTech® and ammonium carbonate poultices. SSH Conservation hired a ThermaTech® system and later purchased one to clean surface soiling while leaving the copperas wash intact. SSH conservators found the machinery easy to use, and the feedback received from clients and operators was extremely positive.

The Outcome

The façade and the public rooms have been returned to the way they would have looked when the Duke lived and entertained in his magnificent home known as 'Number 1 London'. The Wellington Museum is one of the most prestigious and visited locations of the city.

  • SSH Conservation working on stone restoration at Apsley House, London (1)
  • SSH Conservation working on stone restoration at Apsley House, London (2)
  • SSH Conservation working on stone restoration at Apsley House, London (3)