Belfast’s Crown Jewel Receives Makeover

One of Belfast’s most famous bars, The Crown Bar, is receiving a conservation make-over thanks to a team of conservators working with the National Trust.

Experts from the conservation charity will work around the clock to ensure that the bar remains open, while visitors during the day will also get to see conservation in action.

Key areas of work will include improvements to the glass, mirrors, woodwork and ornate tiles to ensure that this world famous bar is in the best possible condition.

Claire Magill, Conservator with the National Trust said: “This fine example of a high -Victorian gin palace welcomes hundreds of thousands of overseas guests and is a favourite night spot for locals.

“The Trust has looked after the Crown Bar since 1978, with the last major restoration taking place back in 2007. Since that time we have seen this landmark attraction welcome more visitors than ever.

“Given the amount of foot fall, the magnificent bar has seen some wear and tear. This has left the famous snugs looking dull, not to mention the pollutants from city centre traffic, which have covered the external tiles in dust.

“The ceiling is also experiencing carbon deposits from the original gas lighting, with sooty grey halos directly above the lights, and the heat is causing some damage to the famous papier maché ceiling. If we don’t act to protect these precious features then the damage could become irreversible.

“The woodwork and mirrors will also be meticulously cleaned and conserved by local specialists, many of whom worked on the recent Mount Stewart restoration project. So it’s great to see how that expertise can continue to benefit our amazing places in Northern Ireland.”

The restoration project is being delivered in partnership with Mitchells and Butlers who operate and manage the Crown Bar. Local construction and fit-out company Gilbert-Ash is the main contractor. They successfully undertook the restoration work on The Crown Bar in 2007.

The project will run from early September until mid-October, with the bar remaining open to visitors throughout the conservation process.

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