Westminster Hall’s floors damaged after 250,000 mourners visit Queen lying-in-state
Westminster Hall has been left with damage to its floors after 250,000 mourners came to see theQueen lying-in-state, it has been reported.
The number of people who visited topay their respects to the late monarch was hailed as “remarkable” – with thequeue to see the coffin winding its way around London streets to Southwark Park.
Measures were taken to protect Westminster Hall’s 180-year-old Yorkstone floor during the period of mourning, with a carpet glued down onto it.
This was done to lessen the impact to the oldest remaining part of the original Palace of Westminster.
However, the floor still suffered some damage – although a spokesperson for the House of Lords did not deem it serious.
The spokesperson toldThe Telegraph: "As a consequence of the high-level continuous footfall through Westminster Hall during the lying-in-state some delamination to the Yorkstone floor has occurred.
"It has exposed some areas of bare stone that will blend in with the surrounding areas over time. This does not present a structural risk.”
Delamination is usually where stone has cracked, with one layer separating away close to the surface. It means the colouring is different to the stone around it.
The spokesman played down fears that the damage could be permanent, however.
“That will blend in over time as it is exposed to the air so as it becomes unnoticeable,” they said.
Westminster Hall is the oldest building on the Parliamentary estate – built by King William II at the end of the 11th century.
Some members of the House authorities are said to be concerned about the management of the stone floor, which managed to survive a devastating blaze in 1834.
During restoration works that year, a fire broke out in the Palace of Westminster – sparked by underfloor stoves that ignited panelling in the House of Lords.
Both Houses of Parliament were destroyed but Westminster Hall was saved partly due to the efforts of fire fighters, plus a change in the wind direction during the night.
The thick beige carpet laid to protect the floor during Queen Elizabeth II’s lying-in-state also helped deaden the sound of the queue of people that snaked its way continuously through the hall.
The Government confirmed that more than 250,000 people paid their respects to the Queen in Westminster Hall during the four full days of the lying-in-state in September, with the queue having to bestopped several timesafter it exceeded the planned 10 miles.
It was reported that some waited in line for 24 hours to enter the Hall.
Michelle Donelan, the Culture Secretary, said: “It was a great sense of the community coming together. I always think of our late monarch as the glue that brought society together.”
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