The Deputy Prime Ministers Chandelier

Refurbishing the Deputy Prime Ministers Chandelier



We have had the privilege of working on the contract to refurbish the government cabinet office at 70 Whitehall. Our part has been to rewire and refurbish the chandeliers. As part of this work programme I would just like to focus on one particular fine example which is the grand ornate brass armed chandelier which hangs in the deputy Prime Ministers office. Whilst we were not allowed to photograph within the government buildings then we can see the fine example here at the end of the refurbishment in our workshops. Deputy Prime Ministers Chandelier With a swirling array of beautifully cast brass arms and 25 lamp holders this was always going to be a challenge.

The Restoration and Rewiring Process

With a valuable old specimen like this great care and attention needs to be given at all stages of the process. The first part is to dismantle the chandelier so that the internal wiring can be replaced. With an old chandelier it is important to excercise caution when taking apart sections which have not been disturbed for many years. The threads can be ceased and if a component is broken then it is not a simple process to acquire a replacement as they generally need to be hand crafted.
After dismantling the individual parts are cleaned. Here it is important to take away dirt and dust but not to polish or shine the brass-work which would detract from its original aged beauty. The ornate detail can be seen in this image.
Detail of Brass DPM Chandelier After cleaning the internal electrical rewiring is replaced and the chandelier re-assembled. Whilst through the main stem and the roots of the arms the wiring is internal it moves to be external at the ends of the arms. For the external wiring then braided flex is used for good aesthetics and this is important to use as part of the sympathetic restoration process.
The use of the braided flex which is tied back with fine brass wire can be seen in this image. The braided flex is routed through to replacement lamp holders at the end of each arm. Detail of Brass DPM Chandelier

LED Bulbs and Saving Electricity

With a large chandelier with 25 bulbs then the electricity consumption cna be high. By example with 25 x 40 watt bulbs this would mean that the chandelier would use a massive 1kW of electricity so equating to something in the region of £250 per year just to light this one room. The solution here was to use 5w LED candle lamps which reduced the consumption by a credible 86%.

The Hanging Process

The other interesting aspect of this installation is taking the chandelier down and transportation to our workshops. This chandelier weighs well over 100kg and is of large proportions. This means that it is too heavy to lift down manually from the ceiling so as usual we utilised a winching technique. However, there were more complexities as the chandelier was too large to fit through the doors. As a result we had to use a crane and pass the chandelier through a window and down to ground level. This was a fine spectacle and certainly raised some eyebrows to see a massive chandelier passing through the sky on a crane. So these were the business as usual issues and now the chandelier hangs again with grace providing elegant illumination for government decision making.

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