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Turkish Baths Project is Hot Stuff

The Turkish Baths in Harrogate is one of only seven dating back to the 19th century that can be found in the UK, and it is one of the most historically accurate. Redecorating such a building requires a combination of skill, patience, a keen eye for detail and exceptional product knowledge. It was Wharfdale Decorations ability to demonstrate these qualities that contributed to them being crowned Supreme Winner at the Johnstone’s Painter of the Year Awards.

The Turkish Baths, Harrogate, was constructed and opened as part of the Royal Baths Complex in 1897. Designed with Islamic art-inspired arches and screens, vibrantly glazed brickwork, painted ceilings and terrazzo floors, it offered Turkish Baths, medicinal water dispensaries, hydrotherapy, mud baths and steam rooms. Nowadays, visitors are able to combine a sense of the building’s history with a more contemporary spa experience.

Repairing the damage

The importance of the Turkish Baths Harrogate lies in its rarity, decoration and ornate detail. Wharfedale Decorations Ltd was tasked by Harrogate Borough Council to restore the original beauty of the building, and work took place across 15 weeks while the building was closed during the coronavirus lockdown. It included re-varnishing the original curtain rail changing rooms and re-stencilling the walls and ceilings.

David Casey, contracts director at Wharfedale Decorations Ltd, said: “It was a privilege to be asked to complete the redecoration at the Turkish Baths. Stencilling was the biggest and most important part of the project. The stencils that were in situ were brittle, crumbling, discoloured and generally not fit for purpose anymore, so we had to take those down and remake them.”

The walls and ceilings of the building hadn’t been decorated for more than 25 years and long-term exposure to steam, water and salts had taken its toll. To start the process, Wharfedale Decorations Ltd removed the original stencils and reviewed hundreds of historic pictures of the building to retrace them onto a thin layer of plastic, before using craft knives, craft boards and unquestionable levels of skill to remake the stencils. The team treated the walls to withstand the considerable amount of steam and water in the rooms, before re-applying the stencils and repainting.

Long-standing protection

To protect the walls and ceilings for years to come, the team used Johnstone’s Trade Acrylic Durable Matt – a, water-based emulsion that provides protection on surfaces susceptible to condensation. The paint is formulated to offer a Class 1 Scrub Rating,. It gives a hardwearing, non-yellowing finish.

The Wharfedale Decorations Ltd team also used PPG’s colour matching service for support with the colour scheme throughout the building.

Award-winning work

In recognition of the impressive work, Wharfedale Decorations Ltd was named the winner of the Hospitality and Leisure category at the Johnstone’s Painter of the Year Awards 2021, as well as successfully competing against five other category winners to take home the crown of Johnstone’s Painter of the Year Supreme Winner. The team was rewarded with a new personalised van from PPG.

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