With regards to to preserving timbers, out of sight, out of mind is not a good ethos to follow. Damp, rot and woodworm has caused many buildings to crumble and deteriorate over the centuries. Before one of our founder’s Harold Maxwell-Lefroy invented a woodworm treatment in the 1920’s there was no cure or future for a woodworm infested building or piece of furniture. Antique dealers would sigh as they tossed a Chippendale wriggling with woodworm onto a fire; a sacrifice so the rest of their treasures wouldn’t become infested. To preserve buildings for the future, most timbers, especially those which are listed have been treated to safeguard the buildings for centuries to come. Rentokil has been protecting and treating building for damp, rot, woodworm and other nasties for decades.
Our archives record an interesting account of a job we were called out to in 1964. The privy of Her Majesty’s High Court judges fell through the floor on which it had been standing for many years in the Newcastle Assize Court. Plunging twenty feet below into the barristers’ robing room, luckily no one was injured, or tending to their personal business at the time of the incident. Rentokil were called in treat the decaying floor timbers and the building is still standing strong today.
Greater wisdom was shown by the benchers of the Middle Temple, London who looked to Rentokil for help in 1968 to give precautionary treatment to preserve the roof timbers from further attack by wood-borers. Harold Maxwell-Lefroy had been up into the rafters with pot and brush in 1924 and kept the enemies at bay for more than twice the term of the guarantee.
Almost 40 years ago today, on January 5 1972, Rentokil was granted a Royal Warrant to supply Timber Preservation Services and Products. Rentokil were already treating mice in the House of Common’s kitchen. The whole of the Palace of Westminster was surveyed and 750 trays of poison laid down. At Windsor Castle and Buckingham Castle centuries old upholstery was treated for moths. The pigeons lost their seats at Westminster when parliament was relieved of the pigeons and their acidic deposits.
Whether you are buying a home, or have lived in your house for many years, make sure you survey your property for signs of damp and rot. Or if you don’t want a nasty surprise, consider insurance protection against the risks of attack to timber by woodboring insects and wood-rotting fungi as well as the risks of rising damp.