The situation today is that a new mast, constructed in mild steel, is being manufactured in Deal. After manufacture, it has to be sent to Gillett & Johnston, Clockmakers, to install various moving parts and set the Timeball mechanism to work. We are hopeful this should be completed by the end of next month. Once we are past the mast replacement state, the TBT will remain completely scaffolded, ready to start work on the outside.
A full survey has been carried out on the 201 year old building which has highlighted that damp is trapped between the external rendering and internal plastering. Both the materials used in the past are totally unsuitable. The present plan is to remove the external rendering and some of the internal plasterwork to get the building to breathe and get to the worst areas of damp. Other measures will be put in place to increase internal ventilation especially out of season. It may be that the render is not replaced but left to breathe and depending on the state of the brickwork, left bare.
There is a long list of defects but the key items are to replace the mast, cure any roof leaks and make a start on solving the damp issues. The courtyard at the back will be worked on to remove one of the sources of damp. At present, we plan to open in mid-August. We should be able to open with the scaffolding up but not before the ball has been set to work and the upper floor internal scaffolding removed.
We are very keen to open this season even for a brief period. We are committed (tbc) to participate in Heritage Open Day on Saturday 18th September. Our next important key event is the New Year Timeball Drop.