On 7 January, 2019, work will begin to replace the carpet in the ornate First Class Dining Saloon of the SS Great Britain.
The new carpet has been woven with British wool by Wilton Carpets, based in Salisbury. Using traditional techniques, the company has replicated the custom-made Brussels carpet that first laid the floor of this historic and luxurious space. From 7 to 10 January, installation will be undertaken by CW Jones Carpet & Flooring, based in Bedminster.
The Dining Saloon’s original carpet was made by the Bristol-based manufacturer Messrs C. & F. Mogg, based on Clare Street in 1830. Records and drawings held by the company show the design of the original flooring, allowing Wilton Carpets to produce as accurate a replica as possible. The vital work of updating the carpet will help the SS Great Britain Trust to continue providing an authentic experience to visitors and to conserve the ship for future generations.
The work is expected to continue until Thursday, 10 January, and access to the Dining Saloon will be restricted during this time. Visitors are encouraged to make the most of their annual ticket - providing free, unlimited return visits - and come back again soon to see the results of this maintenance work.
Paul Harrison, Head of Technical Services at the SS Great Britain Trust, said: “We’re very glad to be working with Wilton Carpets. Their work combines traditional practices - such as in their 100-year-old narrowloom machines - with the most up-to-date methods of manufacture. This made them the obvious choice for us here at the Trust, where we strive to conserve and exhibit one of the greatest examples of Britain’s heritage using modern technology and engineering.”
Previous work in historic places by Wilton Carpets have included Brighton’s Royal Pavilion. Referring to a watercolour painting of the room from the time, the company designed and produced a convincing replica of the original 1821 carpet of the Pavilion’s Music Room Gallery, helping to renew the space’s “palatial feel”.