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Asbestos find delays Chaplin's World project

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Asbestos find delays Chaplin's World project
Le Manoir de Ban: asbestos holds up museum project. Photo: Chaplinmuseum.com
12:11 CET+01:00
A 55-million-franc project to turn the Swiss home of Charlie Chaplin into a museum is being delayed after the discovery of asbestos in the building, according to a media report.

Chaplin's World was set to open in 2015 at Le Manoir de Ban, a mansion in Corsier-sur-Vevey in the canton of Vaud, where the mythic movie actor and director spent the last 25 years of his life.

But it will take at least three months to remove the asbestos, an unforeseen development, according to Philippe Meylan, architect and promoter of the project.

“There is absestos in the paintings, the floors, the joints . . . everywhere,” Meylan is quoted as saying by the 20 Minutes newspaper online.

Previously it was thought to be in just the roof.

The material was routinely used as a fire protectant in Switzerland up until the early 1990s until it was banned because of associated health risks from asbestos fibres.

These fibres, if inhaled, can cause potentially lung disease.

Workers removing the material from the house have to wear masks and special coveralls, Meylan said.

The cost of removing the asbestos is estimated between 200,000 and 3000,000 francs ($220,000 -$330,000), he told 20 Minutes.

The latest holdup comes after backers of the museum project, including the Chaplin family, have struggled for 10 years to get approval and financial backing.

Michael Chaplin, son of the actor and a Swiss resident, is president of the museum, which has backing from 10 municipalities in the Vevey area.

Private partners include companies set up by the Chaplin family to protect the name, image and rights attached to Chaplin's work — Association Chaplin, Bubbles S.A. and Roy Export Company Establishment.

Investors from Luxembourg and La Compagnie des Alpes, a skir resort and leisure park operator, were reported earlier this year to be involved in the project. 

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