Taking time to find the perfect match

Behind the scenes work to any building is inevitable at some point, a leaky pipe needs fixing, or wiring replacing, or any number of other tasks issues can come up that involve cutting into an otherwise pristine (or at least smart and consistent) wall or ceiling.

Thankfully such issues are uncommon around the home, and even if they do occur changing tastes and regular redecoration cycles can mean the removal of a strip of wallpaper isn’t too big a problem in a modern home.

But what if your home – or administrative building – is more than 150 years old and Grade II-listed? The age means your wallpaper is a lot less likely to still be in production, but the listing means the décor cannot be changed.

This was the issue faced by the team carrying out the internal refurbishment of our Victorian Bridge Chamber.

A strip of wallpaper needed to be removed from the ceiling of the Court Room, to enable an upgrade to the ventilation system. The works were essential if the room was to be brought up to modern standards of comfort, but the damage to the wallpaper was a challenge – after all, you can’t simply pop to the local homeware store for a roll of historic wallpaper.

After a lot of research, we managed to match our wallpaper with this:

Can you tell which piece is old and which is new? Admittedly, the frayed edges give it away, but the wallpaper is pretty much identical – and it has a heritage to match.

The replacement paper is the Spencer design from Anaglypta, a firm synonymous with wall and ceiling coverings. It is the oldest design in the company’s range, having been in constant production since 1903, when it was initially sold in 21 inch by 12 yard rolls for a price of 19 shillings.

The firm itself is almost as old as our Bridge Chamber, having been founded in 1887. It has a distinguished history and is now based in Gainsborough, which is just along the road from the Trust’s Springthorpe Estate in Lincolnshire, but that’s a story for another day…

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