Shaftesbury Theatre Chandelier
Have you heard of Shaftesbury Theatre? You might’ve even been there! Shaftesbury Theatre was originally named The Prince’s Theatre when it was built in 1911, but it is still as popular now as it was back then, maybe even more so, as it has become the largest independent theatre in the West End!
At Classical Chandeliers, we were given the privilege of the task to remove and clean a beautiful chandelier that hangs in the theatre. To clean the chandelier it meant the entire fixture needed to be removed from the ceiling; you can get an idea of its size from the pictures, now imagine how heavy it is! Every single row of crystals had to be individually removed as well as all the different aspects of the chandelier taken apart. Due to its size and lack of accessibility, we are one of very few companies who are able to fulfil this task because there aren’t many other companies that are able to perform successful restorations or cleaning jobs on a fixture of this magnitude.
The chains of crystals that are hung from the chandelier were in bad condition, so much so that many were falling apart which made dismantling and cleaning the chandelier that much harder! There were many eyes which were open, and it was essential that they be closed to prevent the chains falling apart more in the future. There was also the added complication that some crystals had been hung the wrong way round after a previous restoration. This was the cause of many problems because it meant that the crystal chains hung incorrectly from the chandelier, ruining the overall effect of the chandelier and causing damage to the chains and connectors between the crystals. Sadly this isn’t uncommon after a restoration job, where chandeliers might look like they have been fully restored, but in actual fact it’s a superficial restoration because the restorers either don’t really care, can’t be bothered or aren’t actually knowledgeable in restoration so inevitably do a bad job because of that.
It is essential, especially in cleaning jobs to take the chandelier apart because this ensures every aspect of the chandelier has been thoroughly cleaned. For this job it was especially important because looking at the fixture in the theatre it hardly appeared to look dirty or like it needed a clean, however this couldn’t have been further from the truth when we took it down and looked at the individual pieces! It was absolutely filthy! And not surprisingly so considering its position in the theatre but it did come as quite a shock!
Packing up the different parts of the chandelier and the care that is put into this aspect of the job is essential because if packed badly, the parts could become damaged and ruined. We were prepared for a large amount of packing, especially taking into account the size of the chandelier – the rings had a width of 2m! Thankfully we have our own trailer which makes jobs involving dismantling and moving large chandeliers so much easier! Especially with the number of boxes we ended up transporting the different parts of the chandelier in! Packing is also just as essential, if not more essential after the cleaning process because keeping all the different parts of the chandelier and the crystals clean before they are all restored.
Once the cleaning process had started, there was even more of a surprise as we made the discovery that a large proportion of the crystals had been splattered with paint! When the ceiling was last painted, the decorators hadn’t made much of an effort to protect the chandelier which resulted in there being white paint residue all over a large number of the crystals. Due to the chandelier being so high on the ceiling of the theatre, it meant that there was a lot of unknown factors to take into account, one of them being that there ended up being more repairs needed than anticipated because prior to dismantling the fixture, we had no idea what condition it was in.
Shaftesbury Theatre regularly puts on shows where people can come for an evening out, have a laugh and see something spectacular! The theatre has been putting on productions ever since it opened with The Three Musketeers in 1911, and apart from closing a few times for decoration, it hasn’t really closed since! Not even after it suffered several incidents of bomb damage during the Second World War!
The theatre has seen a lot of productions on its stage, many of them leaving a mark and allowing actors to go on to higher and better things! More recently, the most memorable is Hairspray, which opened in 2007 and quickly became the most successful production in the Shaftsbury Theatre winning many awards and staying on stage for 3 phenomenal years.
It is an absolute honour to have been able to contribute to this theatre in some way and add even more sparkle into the Grade 2 listed building which is already so full of history and drama! Despite it being a hard job, it was undoubtedly worth it and we are grateful we were enlisted the responsibility of cleaning such a beautiful and traditional looking large chandelier.
Since reinstalling the fixture, our efforts haven’t gone unnoticed as we have received compliments and high regards for the shine and sparkle that has now been returned to the chandelier.
“The chandelier has been met with much praise. It does look better than ever” Peter Goodman (Chief Electrician)
We are always keen to return a chandelier back to its original beautiful form, and if possible we love even more to make it better than it ever has been! Even theatrical chandeliers need cleaning from time to time! For more information on chandelier cleaning, please do get in touch. You have seen the pictures of this chandelier, size doesn’t matter for us when it comes to bringing back sparkle!