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Westminster Abbey Chapter House restored in 18-month project

18th May 2010

A repair and conservation project has secured the future of one of London's oldest buildings, English Heritage has revealed.

For the past 18 months, an effort led by the organisation has seen 20 stonemasons and master carvers clean, repair and conserve the gargoyles, flying buttresses, stone floral friezes and stained glass windows of the Chapter House at Westminster Abbey.

As well as restoration work, the project has replaced 32 of the 64 stone heads on the building's eight pinnacles after erosion caused the original Victorian ornaments to become unstable, while four new 'striking' gargoyles have been added.

Built in 1255, the building acted as a meeting place for King Henry III's Great Council and the Commons - the predecessors of the House of Commons. In 1866 it was reconstructed by architect George Gilbert Scott.

Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, commented: 'The Chapter House is one of England's most interesting and significant monuments, witness to great events in our early history and repository of the nation's history and memories for 300 years.'

This week, English Heritage launched an online catalogue of over one million historical documents and photographs related to some of the UK's most treasured buildings and archaeological sites.

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