Recent collapses of sections of auditorium ceiling at London’s Apollo Theatre and Piccadilly Theatre, and the potentially significant consequences of ceiling failure, highlight a need for structural engineers to develop a close understanding of historic plasterwork and options for its maintenance and remediation.
This two-part article provides an introduction to the subject, as well indicating where more detailed guidance can be sought. Part 1 outlines the historical development of the most common forms of traditional ceiling construction and summarises typical causes of deterioration and failure. Part 2 will discuss surveys, assessment and methods of conservation.
The author wishes to express his thanks to Conisbee in addition to the acknowledgements made in the printed article.