Tuesday 22 June 2021

Servants' Hall Progess

The Servants' Hall in the basement of Balintore Castle is my second favourite room after the Great Hall. The Great Hall is such an expensive restoration challenge, that I have started a GoFundMe page to help raise the required funds.   However, the Servants' Hall is a more practical proposition, although we only started working on this space relatively recently.

This blog entry is a significant checkpoint for the Servants' Hall restoration work, as we have now finished plastering the walls and finished plastering the ceiling. All the plaster had fallen off the ceiling due to water ingress, and most of the plaster has fallen off the walls. Any remaining plaster was on lathe-and-plaster which had been destroyed by dry rot. The bottom half of the walls (concrete render rather than lathe-and-plaster) had mostly survived, so we patched new materials into this. Permission had been obtained from Angus Council to use plasterboard on the upper half of the walls.

Greg gives surfaces he has newly plastered a coat of white paint to check the quality of the finish. After this, there may be some subsequent filling. Plastering the curved ceiling for days at a time was a particular challenge, and Greg put his neck out. However, he was very stoic about this and I only found out from his father Gregor much, much later.

The transformation had been a delight to view - with the space moving from the distinctly derelict to something one could imagine living in, courtesy of the smoother wall and ceiling surfaces.

You can see we have left a beautiful stone arch exposed. When fabric is lost, there is an opportunity to do something a little different, and I couldn't bring myself to hide this arch under plaster even though this was the original decorative schema.

servants' hall looking north

Another reason for taking these photos was to record the original colour of the room before we paint it again. The colour was a cream which can be seen on the bottom half of the walls. Obviously, much of this has become discoloured and stained over time. 

servants' hall looking south

servants' hall looking east

My favourite area of this favourite cruciform room is the cross-vaulting in the ceiling where two arches meet at 90 degrees. You can see the hooks for a chandelier here. The chandelier is currently being cleaned. We are still working on this room and it is getting more and more presentable on a daily basis. I am hoping to get a fire going in the fireplace to heat up the room. Even on a warm summer's day like today, it is always slightly chilly as it is partially below ground. Only very, very occasionally on a boiling hot day, is this chill actually welcome. :-)


  1. Great work, if only these walls could talk - the stories they could tell

    1. Indeed. No doubt this was the main talking shop about "them upstairs". :-)