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Mosaic flooring hasn’t gone down the pan!

By June 10, 2020No Comments

Diespeker was recently involved in the refurbishment of two toilet floors, at Bexleyheath and Falconwood stations. Maybe not the most glamorous job we’ve undertaken, but a fascinating reminder of our history with mosaic flooring. One of the earliest examples of our work is the Roman Cube mosaic created for the National Portrait Gallery in 1896, still at the entrance to the building to this very day!

The mosaic floors in question were uncovered at Bexleyheath and Falconwood stations. These are on the Bexleyheath Line which runs for 13km from Lewisham to Dartford. Bexleyheath station opened in 1895 – apparently a brass band marched from Bexleyheath to Barnehurst stations in celebration! Back in the 1890s this was a completely rural area filled with orchards and agricultural fields. Falconwood station wasn’t opened until 1936 after the area had started to expand and become more populated, with the subsequent need for another station to accommodate the growing numbers of commuters.

Hollywell Building Services were carrying out refurbishment works at the stations, including the toilets. The toilet floors had been coated at some point with a levelling compound. It became apparent to the Holywell team that there was something of interest underneath so Holywell called Diespeker in to check it out. After careful investigation, we suggested removing the compound and once the floors were taken up, lovely mosaic flooring was revealed underneath.

The main task for the Diespeker site team was to match the mosaics. We were able to source an extremely close match – it is really difficult to tell the difference between the new pieces of marble and the original pieces. The new pieces were carefully laid by hand and repairs made as necessary, then the revitalised surface polished to reveal the true colours, which included a stunning turquoise. Once this was completed to the team’s satisfaction, the floors were sealed. The refurbishment of the flooring in both stations was completed in under three weeks.

Although we can’t put an exact date on them, the original floors were probably laid at the same time. Potentially this was when Falconwood station was built in the 1930s.

As well as the expertise of our team, Diespeker is fortunate in having massive stocks of many different varieties of marble at our premises, giving us the ability to quickly match marble and terrazzo for refurbishment projects like this.

Thanks to London Borough of Bexley: The Bexleyheath Railway