Blair Castle Great Drawing Room Roof

Following on from Baron Maule's Room the Blair Charitable Trust asked Jonathan Gotelee to assess the roof over the Great Drawing Room, this was the original site of the Great Hall and built in the same era as Baron Maule's Room, but the Great Hall and the roof had been given a major reorganisation by John Winter for the 2nd Duke as part of the Georgian remodelling. The roof timbers are therefore 16th or 17th century but have been remodelled and now support an intricate 18th century ceiling by Thomas Clayton of Edinburgh.

The result of Winter and Clayton's work is an extremely ornate coombed ceiling where ceiling is fixed to the underside of the rafters and the slating to the upper side. Careful examination of the roof, slating, nails and Estate Archive suggested strongly that, apart from three short lived dormers installed by David Bryce and removed in the early 20th Century, the slating dated from 1754 and had never been removed. This created two problems; the Archive showed that the original slates were from Birnam in Perthshire and therefore are now unobtainable and any impact on the rafters from nailing slates on could damage the ceiling below causing it to fall down. The Great Drawing Room is part of the main visitor route through the castle, this could have had serious consequences.

The problem of slate sourcing was tackled by understanding the greater geology of the UK's slate beds, Perthshire slates are paler grey than the more well-known West Coast Scots slate types and the geological formation is similar to those of the Cumbrian slate beds, a Cumbrian slate was therefore chosen of a very similar colour and with a thickness and finish to mimic the original slates. The vibration problem was tackled by building a protective tunnel through which visitors passed but from which they could still see the Drawing Room's splendour and by making all fixings for joinery and slates with screws instead of nails.

The project was carried out under a large temporary scaffold roof which arched right over the castle from one side to the other.

The project was started at Purcell Edinburgh and completed at JGA.

Design Team

Architects: Purcell Edinburgh/JGA
Quantity Surveyor: Ralph Ogg & Partners
Structural Engineers: Elliott & Co
Mechanical and Electrical Engineers: Irons Foulner

<< Return to Projects Page

Blair Castle Great Drawing Room Roof
Temporary Scaffolding
Reslated Roof
Great Drawing Room and Clock Tower