Visitors at Tintagel Castle can immerse themselves in history, myths and stunning scenery. The castle is set high on the Cornish north coast and is linked to the legend of King Arthur. For centuries this dramatic coastline has inspired many people.

Visitors can enjoy entering the castle and exploring the outdoor displays. These guide you through the history of the castle and the role that legends have played in shaping the site.

Whilst there, discover the remains of Tintagel’s early medieval settlement. You can imagine what life was like at Tintagel as you walk through the footprints of houses built between the 5th and 7th centuries AD.

The remains of a medieval walled garden and the beach below the castle can also be enjoyed by all who visit.

Run by the English Heritage, the site aims to bring history to life in an engaging way.

Tintagel castle foot bridge with sea background

Asbestos Sampling Survey and Testing Project

The Collections Conservation Team learnt that in the 1970’s, a floor tile within a display at Tintagel Castle, may have been attached to asbestos insulation board. With a winter clean of the exhibition due, to protect and meet their legal duties, the English Heritage team appointed Scientific Services. Our consultants needed to confirm if asbestos was present within the display.

This was an unusual and bespoke service request. Our Managing Director, Dr Tim Hamilton gained an understanding of the site and display set up. He then devised a strategy for safely completing the required sampling survey. The method needed to ensure that the exhibits were not damaged.

The display area was a small glass cabinet. It housed the tile, medieval objects and pottery fragments.

Display at Tintagel Castle with microscope

Scientific Services’ first job was to test the air inside the cabinet. Our consultants needed to ensure that it wasn’t contaminated with asbestos fibres. We ran an air test in front of the cabinet door. After sampling the air, our consultants counted the number of fibres present on a slide. The results were below the clearance indicator level of 0.01 f/ml.

Following this favorable result, Scientific Services then sampled the dust within the cabinet. We also analysed individual artefacts under the microscope. Our team placed each item removed from the display into a mobile, HEPA filtered safety cabinet.

This ensured that any potential asbestos fibres weren’t released into the air. Using a stereo microscope, our consultants looked for potential asbestos material contamination.

Throughout this process, we handled each piece of equipment with gloves. This protected items from the oily residue on our hands. It also prevented the transfer of potential asbestos containing materials.

Asbestos analysts at Tintagel Castle

Our analysis confirmed that only the suspect floor tile presented a potential asbestos risk. Our consultants removed the residue to the rear of the tile. This residue was double bagged and all items were returned to the display cabinet.

Once the display was closed, our team ran another air test in the surrounding area. This ensured that the fibre levels in the air hadn’t increased following the survey. A precautionary measure, but it confirmed that the area was safe for occupying.

The residue was transported to our UKAS accredited asbestos testing laboratory. Using polarised light microscopy, our analysts completed further testing on the sample, which proved to be negative for asbestos contamination. Having an in-house laboratory meant that Scientific Services could provide accurate, fast results. We confirmed the negative result within hours of attending site.

The collections team were able to start their required cleaning process, as needed.

Following this, our technical team issued a UKAS accredited sampling survey report. Copies of all air test reports were also emailed.

Customer Portal

The English Heritage team can view all reports on Scientific Services’ customer portal. This enables them to review and download reports whenever and wherever needed.

Ongoing Support

Scientific Services’ technical and customer service teams are available for any further advice should it be needed. Their knowledge and expertise in the field of asbestos can help to ensure that any future asbestos management duties are met.

“The collections team needed to be assured that the survey and testing project would preserve our artefacts, whilst obtaining the required management information. Scientific Services were knowledgeable, efficient and completed within agreed timeframes. This was important to ensure that we were ready for our summer reopening.” Mary Luckhurst, Collections Conservation Team, English Heritage.

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