Windsor Castle cost
Windsor Castle - five years from disaster to triumph
It took 1.5 million gallons of water to put out the fire
On November 20, 1992 much of Windsor Castle, the Queen's weekend residence, was destroyed by fire. More than 100 rooms, covering an area of 7, 000 square metres, were damaged in the blaze, which is thought to have been started by a spotlight shining on a curtain.
On Monday, five years of restoration work by teams of experts will be completed and the world's press will be allowed in to view the results.
The 1992 fire broke out during the course of maintenance work on the castle, which meant that many of its works of art and pieces of valuable furniture had been removed. Consequently, although there was extensive damage, few large items were completely destroyed.
Initial estimates put the damage at between 40m and 60m, which sparked a public debate about who should pay for the repairs. Windsor Castle is owned by the Government, not the Royal Family, so it seemed at one stage as if the taxpayer would have to foot the bill.
In February 1993, the then Prime Minister, John Major, announced to the House of Commons that he had accepted an offer from the Queen to pay tax on her private income, starting the following April.
She had also agreed to restrict those members of the Royal Family paid from the public purse to herself, the Duke of Edinburgh, and the Queen Mother. She would fund the other members herself.
The Queen said she would meet 70% of the cost of the restoration work and decided to open up her home at Buckingham Palace to the public in order to generate extra funds. For eight weeks during the summer of 1993 people queued in their hundreds to have a glimpse inside the palace for the first time. They were charged 8 per head which, coupled with increased souvenir sales, generated more than 2m towards the restoration project. Similarly, an entry fee was also introduced for people who wished to enter the grounds of Windsor Castle.
The work was originally expected to be completed by spring 1998 but has actually finished ahead of schedule. The completion of the restoration work will now coincide with the fifth anniversary of the fire.
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