Buckingham Palace roof to be repaired - 200 years after leak found

Buckingham Palace in March 2020 - Getty
The queen was given permission to replace the north roof at Buckingham Palace almost two hundred years after the first leak was recorded.
Conservationists will now strip off and replace the original 19th century roof and rebuild structurally defective chimneys.
At the end of January, both outside and inside were drilled to determine the composition of the cover.
In planning documents, experts from Martin Ashley Architects from Twickenham said: "The existing asphalt roof is in very poor condition, with a faulty solar reflective cover and severe blistering and cracks on the asphalt surface.
"The works are largely a comparable renovation of roof coverings.
"The range is currently covered with 20th century asphalt with a solar reflective paint covering and, as mentioned above, was originally covered in Stanhope's Composition, an early form of asphalt roofing.
"It is not clear how many roofing plans were carried out between 1829 and the mid to late 20th century, but it is believed that the roof has always remained a flat asphalt surface.
"Therefore, the proposed replacement with modern polymer-modified asphalt is considered completely suitable for the application."
The Westminster City Council agreed that the work can now take place and granted approval in late May. It follows an application last summer, but some parts of the design have been optimized and supplemented.
The northern part of the palace dates from the second major development phase of the central London location, in which Buckingham House was converted between 1820 and 1837.
The work was originally started by architect John Nash under King George IV, followed by Edward Blore from 1831 to 1835. Much of the building was completed from the outside in 1827, but the design of low wings with higher pavilions met with much criticism.
A year later, the ends were raised to fit the main block, and the existing roof structure is still understood until 1828-9.
Nash was dismissed by the then prime minister for spending too much after spending nearly £ 500,000 on the building.
After its removal, expert advice was obtained in 1831 to report on the cost, condition, and security of the palace.
Doubts were raised about the suitability of the roof at the time, which was made from Stanhope's Composition - a mixture of Stockholm tar, dried chalk powder and sifted sand - and was an early precursor to asphalt.
A report at the time said: "The architects doubted the durability of the roofs from Stanhope 's composition.
"Rain had already entered the southwestern tower cover, and although cracks in the composition could easily be closed, there was no guarantee that they would not be repeated.
"So replacing a more durable cover was recommended."
This year, experts asked whether the roof erected by Nash should be removed completely. They agreed that it should be replaced with a copper or lead alternative, but it was never done.

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