AUG 01] PHOENIX INITIATIVE NEWS
Phoenix Whitewash Uncovered
City Council’s conservation officer George Demidowicz has
answered the question perched on the lips of every visitor to
Priory Garden – why has one of the walls been coloured white?
GEORGE DEMIDOWICZ AND STONE MASONS FED WILKES AND JON HILL
is being quizzed about the wall’s white finish every day by an
increasing number of people being attracted to the site, but he
says the reasons are simple.
a distance it looks like white paint, but it is actually a
limewash that gives the wall that colouring,” he explained.
was coated in limewash when it was originally excavated but
over time the weather has removed many of the layers.
wanted to give it the authentic appearance of the inside of
Coventry’s first cathedral and we are extremely pleased with
also gives a layer of protection to the wall which is very
important as it is exposed to all the elements of British
worked for three months to restore the wall, which stands
parallel to Priory Row, and their predecessors’ work can now
be appreciated because of the limewash.
white colour brings out the original masons’ marks which are
best seen beneath the bridge.
marks date from the original masons who worked on the
cathedral in the 12th century and formed some of the oldest
crafted objects that can be seen in the city – every
different symbol represents their individual signatures.
are six or seven different markings, like a Z or asterisk,
which the masons used to signify that it was their piece of
stonework going into the building.”
of visitors have already viewed the garden which is part of the
£45 million Phoenix Initiative since it was opened in April.
new Visitors Centre, which will house a fragment of mediaeval
wall painting from the apocalypse, will open later this month.
Initiative director Chris Beck said:
am pleased that George has explained the reason for the
colouring of the wall as it is the first thing I am asked
about whenever I step out of the office!”