The Royal Lodge in Berkshire is home to Prince Andrew.
We were invited to attend to strip and re-polish the 2 English oak carved staircases and the oak carved main front doors. Our first meeting with the designers and also the client took place at the property where we discussed colours and finishes. It was suggested we carries out a sample for the next meeting (to take place at Buckingham Palace). We were asked it we could prepare samples on something in the Royal lodge for that meeting. Having looked around the property we decided the best thing to do was to unscrew the solid English oak hand carved “Stairgate” from the bottom of the stairs, bring back to our premises and work on that.
Sure enough once our samples were finished we took the 4 foot wide carved oak stair gate on the train down to Euston (Yes we did get quite a number of odd looks). Then into a taxi where we told the driver “Buckingham Palace please.” He chuckled and informed us that we couldn’t just stop outside the palace but he’d drop us close by… We chuckled and told him that we were expected and to drive us though into the palace yard.
After quite a protracted conversation with him telling us that he couldn’t, he wasn’t allowed to, he’d be arrested etc we convinced him that we were expected and it would not be problem. Sure enough once we arrived and went through the necessary security he was allowed to drive in. Not only did he wait there, in the yard, for us to finish our meeting he then drove us back to the station at no charge saying he would dine out on the story for months.
Anyway, the meeting went well and the samples were approved. At the appropriate time in the contract we attended the site to restore the oak to its former glory.
This consisted of washing down with solvents and applying rubbers of traditional French polish on a “rubber”.
Prince Andrew visited the site during our time there and we discussed finishes and our processes. We seem to have made quite an impression on him as later that year we invited him to visit our works so show him how we carry out our work and explain in greater detail the art of French polishing.
He spent the afternoon with us and we hope he had a good time.