Theatre checks needed in wake of ceiling collapse

Grant Prior 10 years ago
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Westminster Council is urging historic building owners to carry-out safety checks in the wake of the ceiling collapse at London’s Apollo Theatre.

Initial findings of a report into the incident have now been released into the incident when 76 people were injured when part of the roof came down during a performance of The Curious Incident of The Dog In The Night-Time in December.

The council blamed the collapse on the deterioration of hessian wadding embedded in the ceiling.

It has now sent letter to theatre owners in the West End outlining possible problems in other venues.

The council’s health and safety team is recommending that all suspended ornate ceilings are thoroughly inspected immediately.

In a statement, the council told the BBC: “Our investigation is still ongoing, however our inquiry to date has led us to understand why the ceiling at the Apollo Theatre failed in December.

“The principal cause was the deterioration over time of wadding ties which supported the ceiling, thought to be in place since its construction in 1901.

“As a result of this finding, we have a responsibility for health and safety reasons to issue guidance to owners of historic buildings, English Heritage, the National Trust and others regarding ongoing maintenance of similar ceilings.

“Our guidance outlines what precautions owners can take to ensure the safety of this ornate plasterwork, including thorough checks of suspended ceilings of a similar construction in order to preserve the unique heritage of our great London theatres and historic buildings.”

The Apollo will reopen on Wednesday with a play called Let The Right One In, based on the Swedish novel and film by John Ajvide Lindqvist.

 

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