Essentially, the problem stemmed from the fact that the property had progressively suffered damage by neglect for many, many years. Externally, the ornamentation of the capitals at the top of the four giant columns at the front of the building had vanished completely and the facade itself was cracked, peeling and crumbling. The windowsills, pediment capitals and other external ornamentation had either been eroded or, at best, had been severely damaged by pollution.
Internally, the problem was even more severe. Some of the walls had splayed outwards and the movement was threatening to continue. In some places the roof had collapsed: in others it was leaking so that water was running down several of the walls and the cellars were flooded to a considerable depth.
Plaster had stripped from most of the walls which, in some cases, had also suffered structural deformation: two sets of staircases were unsafe whilst many floorboards were rotten. Only a small number of rooms in the southernmost terrace had escaped damage and gave evidence of the potential for restoration. All in all, the prognosis seemed poor.