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Reconstruction of a Gothic-style garden temple

Feature

Photograph of the Gothic Temple, Painshill Park, before restoration. Copyright Painshill Park Trust. Photograph of the Gothic Temple, Painshill Park, before restoration. Copyright Painshill Park Trust.

The Gothic Temple

Site

Painshill Park, Surrey

Issue

The temple was on the point of collapse when Elmbridge Borough Council intervened to save the remaining structure in 1976.

Background

The 10-sided Gothic Temple, which dates from about 1760, was made of lath and plaster, painted to look like stone. It features in an engraving of 1760 by William Woollett, and was also photographed by Country Life magazine in 1958.

Elmbridge Borough Council had put in temporary props in 1976 to prevent the building from collapsing before it could be investigated and recorded.

Solution

The restored floor of the Gothic Temple, Painshill. Photograph by Sarah Jackson, summer 2006. Copyright: Sarah Jackson.The restored floor of the Gothic Temple, Painshill. Photograph by Sarah Jackson, summer 2006. Copyright: Sarah Jackson. In 1982 archaeologists recovered the remains of a stone floor and fragments of the plaster ceiling, which appeared to have been pink. They also exposed the temple's timber skeleton, gathering information on the exact materials and construction methods used in the 18th century.

The temple was the first of the garden buildings at Painshill to be restored in 1985.

It was reconstructed in wood and plaster exactly as Charles Hamilton had created it, although the softwood timbers were treated with resin and the roof was made of stainless steel, and given a drainage system, which the original building had not had.

painshill_cs_04_230The Gothic Temple, Painshill, viewed from the Amphitheatre. Photograph September 2004. Copyright Painshill Park Trust.

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