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Construction costs and difficulties

The cost of materials

A schedule of costs accompanied the contract consistent with standard Office of Works prices, including:

  • carting away or removal by barge of material at 1 shilling and eight pence a time;
  • lime grouting at six shillings per cubic yard; Portland stone at two shillings and nine pence per cubic foot,
  • fir in lintels costing three shillings and four pence per cubic foot
  • and teak at five shillings sixpence per cubic foot.

Problems with building

Supplies of materials sufficient for only two days were to be kept on site to minimise risk of theft or breakage: the construction of King's was to be 'just in time'. The large number of workers employed on the project made security an obvious problem, one highlighted by the apprehension of a suspected murderer, an Irish labourer named Donovan, wanted for a double killing in County Cork.

A gatekeeper was provided in his own small hut on 20 shillings per week and sections of the site exposed to the public on the Strand and by Somerset House enclosed by a seven-foot high fence to reduce pilfering and the inconvenience of noise and dust to neighbouring homes and businesses.

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