Artisan Plastercraft, Keston firm, wins award for restoration work on the Grand Hotel, Birmingham

A plaster company has been recognized for its work on a 20-year project to restore a heritage-listed hotel that once hosted Winston Churchill and Charlie Chaplin.

Based in Keston near Biggin Hill, Artisan Plastercraft worked on the £45 million refit of the Grand Hotel in Birmingham, which originally opened in 1879.

The Grand Hotel in Birmingham. Photo: Artisan Plastercraft
The company worked on the stucco for the lounge area.  Photo: Artisan Plastercraft
The company worked on the stucco for the lounge area. Photo: Artisan Plastercraft

Director Michael Arney said: “This building is one of the best surviving examples of Victorian architecture in Birmingham.

“The Grand Hotel’s ornate period features have been restored, both inside and out, and one of Birmingham’s most beloved buildings has once again opened its doors as a lavish luxury hotel.

“It has been a long and enjoyable project for us, utilizing our expertise in traditional fiber and lime plasters, free cut lime casting, using traditional tools.”

It restored the fibrous plaster – decorative work that takes longer and is more expensive than traditional plaster – suspended ceilings in the Grosvenor Room and balcony and ballroom.

The balcony had water damage.  Photo: Artisan Plastercraft
The balcony had water damage. Photo: Artisan Plastercraft
Artisan Plastercraft has now won an award for his work.  Photo: Artisan Plastercraft
Artisan Plastercraft has now won an award for his work. Photo: Artisan Plastercraft
It was part of a 20-year project to restore the hotel.  Photo: Artisan Plastercraft
It was part of a 20-year project to restore the hotel. Photo: Artisan Plastercraft

The balcony ceiling had sustained significant water damage, so it had to be secured before it could be replicated.

The company then spent a year restoring new trim elevations for areas such as picture rails.

Workers also performed traditional plastering work to restore some walls and ceilings.

Artisan Plastercraft has now been recognized for its work on the building and has been named the winner of the Heritage Plastering category of the Finishes and Interiors Sector Contractors Awards.

The grand ballroom of the Grand Hotel in Birmingham.  Photo: Artisan Plastercraft
The grand ballroom of the Grand Hotel in Birmingham. Photo: Artisan Plastercraft
The hotel originally opened in the 1870s. Photo: Artisan Plastercraft
The hotel originally opened in the 1870s. Photo: Artisan Plastercraft

It was also nominated for the Gypsum Trophy Awards for contractors who achieve impossible feats with world-class materials.

The 185-room hotel has an illustrious past, playing host to royalty, the rich and famous.

King George VI, Winston Churchill, Malcolm X, Charlie Chaplin and James Cagney are just some of the notable guests who have been received there.

The restoration and renovation project was spearheaded by the Starwood Capital Group, a private investment company that partnered with Hortons’ Estate, whose founder Isaac Horton originally built the hotel in the 1870s.

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