Preserving Tiles in London: Restrictions and Conservation

When it comes to using tiles in London, there are certain restrictions that must be taken into account. Products such as firearms, explosives, and ammunition require a special license to be introduced to the UK. Generally, restrictions mean that buildings must remain in line with the local area by using tiles, thatched roofs, or slates of the same color, weight, and style. Modern production techniques have made tiling more practical.

Tariffs of up to 73 percent have been imposed on Chinese ceramic tiles exported to Europe at illegally low prices, which has caused harm to European producers. Recent work has focused on preserving the patterns and colors of traditional tiles, even if the exact layout of the tile scheme has been modified to incorporate modern requirements. Only a few heritage tiles from the London Underground end up in the London Transport Museum, where they are “preserved” in the museum sense of the word. Porcelain makers scan real terrazzo tiles and laser print them on the material, but the printed image will never have the depth of a piece of Carrara marble that has been manufactured for 200 million years.

Although much of the original mosaic has been lost, some are preserved in preserved panels, allowing tiles to be preserved to a certain extent. The London Underground managed to persuade them to use square-edged tiles that combined colors well for the tile covering. According to this holistic definition of conservation, conservation officers and the London Underground prefer to disassemble and replace a station if the tiles are too damaged to retain them, as they consider this to be more “honest” or authentic compared to the original design and keeps the architectural details and spaces intact. The magnitude of the task of maintaining all the mosaics in the network is daunting, although not all stations are tiled.

As can be seen in the image, the pattern of the tiles has been faithfully copied, but the original tiles were in good condition, so it is disappointing that the new coating has been made. There is no officially agreed feasibility measure, but a general rule that has been applied in London Underground tiling projects is that if the surface is 70% in good condition, also undefined, then tile repair is preferred over removal. On platforms with tiled walls, many difficulties can arise when trying to preserve an entire mosaic over an extended period of time. Of course, this approach cannot be said to preserve the original tiles, but in cases where the original design is preserved, it can be argued that it respects the architect's original intention.

However, these approaches to tile conservation fall within the context of a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) system. The works were carried out due to contractual obligations of an infringer to increase a station's environmental score. The use of excessive mosaics is much cheaper than other approaches discussed and Covent Garden station is not on the list, so London Underground could find no argument to keep the original tiles that an infraco would accept.