Rosslyn Chapel is free from scaffolding for the first time since a major conservation project began in 1997.
In 1995 a report warned of serious damage to the ornate stone work at Rosslyn Chapel from dampness, the scaffold structure over the roof was erected in 1997 and allowed the stone to dry out naturally until it was removed in 2010.
Stone repairs have been carried out since then to make the roof water tight and to repair the external walls, pinnacles and buttresses.
Ian Gardner, Director of Rosslyn Chapel Trust, said: “This is a great moment as the far-sighted conservation project in the chapel comes to an end and the scaffolding, which had become a near permanent feature, has all been removed.
“For the first time since 1997, visitors can now enjoy a clear and uninterrupted view of the exterior of the building, which, like the rest of the chapel, is rich in carvings and details.”
Much of the project involved trying to reverse earlier conservation work, carried out in the 1950s, which actually led to the building suffering damp problems, with water found to be running down the walls and a mouldy-green asphalt roof. The erection of the roof canopy was to allow it to dry out properly.
Rosslyn Chapel had been attracting steady visitor numbers of around 30,000 a year, but that number had doubled by 2005, and reached a peak of 176,000 in 2007, after the big-screen film starring Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou was released.