Coat of render to spruce up 116-year-old hall

St Bathans Hall is receiving a restorative facelift.

The exterior of the 116-year-old mud-brick building is eroding and restoration work began nearly a year ago.

Department of Conservation Central Otago manager Mike Tubbs said work would begin this week on applying a special coating of mud and lime, known as a render, to the facade of the hall.

‘‘The render the contractor will apply is not an enhancement,'' Mr Tubbs said. ‘‘It is, as near as it's possible to achieve, a replica of the render that would have been applied when the hall was finished in the early 1890s.''

The coating would be applied in such a way the form of the mud bricks would be clearly distinguishable.

Its composition, texture and colour would be as close to the original as possible.

The aim was to halt the deterioration of the exterior and provide a waterproof covering.

‘‘After all, the St Bathans Hall's slowly eroding exterior doesn't look like what it would have in the 1890s, and through most of the 1900s. It'll be great to see it restored to what it did look like and know that it's well protected for the future,'' Mr Tubbs said.

The restoration had a budget of $198,000 and had New Zealand Historic Places Trust approval.

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