PICTURES: Restoring Blackpool's Empress Ballroom to all its glory

Empress Ballroom
Empress Ballroom
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Ornamental experts are continuing the painstaking work to fix the damage to one of the jewels in Blackpool’s vast crown.

Technicians are chipping away at fixing the panels which adorn the ceiling of the Empress Ballroom in the Winter Gardens.

Expected to cost in the region of £750,000, the repairs are being done after a plasterwork panel fell from the ceiling back in September, causing a series of high-profile gigs to be cancelled.

Kelly Lawrence, a Digital Technician at plasterwork specialists Hayles and Howe, said: “The team investigated to see how the panels were made. Plaster panels which are intact are selected to match the broken panels and carefully cut from the ceiling, then transported to the Hayles and Howe workshop in Bristol. Any panels with patch repairs are done on site where the panel remains in place.

“For a replacement panel, a mould of the existing panel is poured in the workshop using silicon rubber which allows perfect reproductions to be made.

“The new panel is cast using plaster, hessian mesh and timber laths for reinforcement and left to set overnight.

“The panel is then carefully removed from the silicone mould and transported to site. The broken panel is removed from the ceiling and the new panel is fitted in its place.”

A Winter Gardens spokesman said no more events are expected to be affected and restoration will continue around events taking place.