On Saturday 29th June, the City of Rochester Society presented its 2012 Conservation Award to the King’s Head Hotel in Rochester.
Every year, the Society makes an award to an organisation or individual who we feel has made the greatest contribution to conservation in the City during the year. On this occasion, there was a unanimous decision to give the award to Mark Lucas and his team for their incredible work in restoring/reviving the King’s Head Hotel in Rochester High Street.
This was Mark’s third Conservation Award, having previously won for his work on the George Vaults in 2002 and Cloudesley House in 2007. In receiving this award, Mark mentioned the exterior of the building that was in a very poor state when he took on the project. He said: “The labourer’s prepared the walls by removing all the loose and cracked plaster work. They were doing this while I drove to St Astier near Bordeaux to collect 60 bags of R100 St Astier plaster. We had to travel there as all stock in the UK was out and delivery time by the company was out of the question with a 4-6 week waiting time.”
Mark explained: “The R100 plaster is a lime based product with special water repellents for external use. In total a 5-6mm skin was plastered on and the original block lines reintroduced. After that, we used a breathable mineral paint system called Beeckosil developed specifically for this type of plaster.”
Mark also mentioned some marks found on some of the timbers inside the building. He’s been told that the burns on the timber frame leading into the small bar are ‘witch burns’ to ward off evil spirits. He added: “We are told that the owner would also take some of his hair and fingernails, put them in water and leave them in the fireplace to do the same.” Intriguing stuff.