The meeting was opened at 1030 a.m. and Chairman Richard Wright advised of four apologies and welcomed back a “recovered ” John Taylor. He also advised of a new member Chris Shott, who introduced himself and was welcomed to the group.
Under “Initial Notices” Mike South pointed out the “Emergency Exits” in case ever needed. Chairman Richard looked for a suitable person and camera for the Group Photograph and Peter Wilson volunteered his services. In a red letter day for Peter he also agreed to become Vice Chairman this season and our Chairman for next season receiving deserved acclaim.
Today saw the return of Mr Steve Caldwell who spoke to us last November about his time living and working in Windsor Castle. This visit saw him show an incredible D.V.D. about ” Windsor Castle After The Fire”. The actual documentary showed the fire on November 20th 1992 and the response to it.
Windsor Castle is the largest and oldest occupied working castle in the world and official residence of our Monarch. It was originally built in the 11th century after the Norman invasion and improved and enhanced at various times by monarchs such as Edward III; Charles II and architect Hugh May; George III and IV who renovated considerably.
The fire in 1992 began in the Queen’s private chapel when a curtain was ignited by a spotlight pressed against it and spread at great speed. It took fifteen hours for the fire to be extinguished with 1.5 million gallons of water used to fight it. Staff, tradesmen, royalty, the fire brigade and other volunteers all helped move furniture and works of art from endangered apartments.
The Restoration took five years and cost £36.5 million with the monies raised by private donations, charging entrance costs into the castle and also the income received from opening Buckingham Palace to the public. It finished a short time before the Queen’s Golden Wedding Anniversary on November 20th 1997.
The Restoration Project entailed great amounts of planning, coordination and the bringing together of a superbly skilled, dedicated workforce and tradesmen to achieve what seemed impossible!! The Restoration Committee Chairman was the Duke of Edinburgh and included representatives from various Heritage and Architect Groups. During the project the opportunity for major new architectural work was taken and overall it appears a superb job was carried out.
Members thoroughly enjoyed the film shown and raised questions at its conclusion. The Vote of Thanks on behalf of 37 attendees was given by John Corby.
NEIL RAMSHAW SECRETARY.