Category Archives: Latest News

£1 million refurbishment

Bakers of Danbury recently completed a £1 million refurbishment project to improve and extend nine alms houses, some of which date back to the 18th century.

The 18 month project saw nine properties within the Old Square, Colchester, Essex undergo the following improvement works:

  • Demolition of 3 single storey extensions
  • Construction of 3 two storey extensions
  • Reconstruction of 2 existing flat roofs with external patio/balcony
  • Complete new kitchen installation
  • Complete new wet room installation
  • Landscaping to enhance the area - communal gardens and planting areas
  • Substantial internal alterations to improve circulation and space
  • Demolition of old sheds and garden walls
  • Removal of raised walkway and stairs
  • New energy efficiency measures installed
  • Soundproofing
  • efficient and controllable heating
  • enhanced fire precautions
  • Scooter charging facilities

Former Colchester Mayor, Alderman and farmer, Arthur Winsley, who died in 1726, left much of his property to a new charity to house 12 men who had: “lived well and fallen into decay”. The 81 Winsley’s Alms houses are now home to more than 100 people.

In line with the Founder’s wishes expressed in his will, every year the Trustees hold a service in Winsley’s chapel and have their annual meeting and dinner on the same day. Acting Trustee Irene Kettle said:

Our Founder’s legacy is important to us and we are very proud of the history of Winsley’s, but it is essential to remember this is a thriving, friendly community and a place which must grow and improve. In this way, we can ensure the legacy of Arthur Winsley and Others, lives on.

At a ceremony held in January 2019 at Winsley’s Square, off Old Heath Road the renovated properties were blessed by the Rt Rev Roger Morris, Bishop of Colchester and officially opened by The Mayor & mayoress of Colchester. Residents were invited to take a look around.

The architect on this project was Nicholas Jacob Architects, and Trustee Andrew Waters led the project.

The King of Prussia Gold Medal

Bakers of Danbury are delighted to announce that The King of Prussia Gold Medal was recently awarded for the structural and restoration works carried out to St Peter and St Paul's Church. The Church Architecture Awards 2018 are run by the National Churches Trust and the Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association (EASA).

Works carried out to the 12th century Grade I Listed church included a 20m long foundation piling, roof repairs and masonry repairs throughout the church.

Structural movement to the south aisle of the 12th century, Grade I Listed church had caused substantial damage to walls and roof finishes. As a result, a major restoration of the aisle was necessary, with associated masonry works to the tower and re-roofing of the nave and chancel.

Bakers of Danbury carried out underpinning of the South Aisle to St Peter and St Paul's Church, during which 20m long foundation piles were carefully positioned, so not to disturb any archaeology below ground.

A new tiled roof was installed to the aisle following timber repairs, along with structural repairs carried out to the south aisle. The nave, chancel and aisle roofs were retiled with a specially selected blend of new handmade tiles to replace the old.

Bakers also carried out consolidation and pointing of the tower, and fitted new Kent rag stone (supplied by Baker’s sister company Collins and Curtis Masonry Ltd) which replaced damaged stone on the windows, parapet and turret. We also removed a damaging cement covering to the parapet top, and reinstated the original and unique brick copings.

 

Newsletter (Winter 2018)

Our Winter 2018 newsletter looks at projects recently undertaken by Bakers of Danbury and it's sister companies Collins and Curtis Masonry and Pickford Builders.

Bakers of Danbury Ltd have had another very busy and exciting year across all of our companies. Our projects have won a number of prestigious awards again this year, including the following:

  • Civic Trust 2018 AABC Conservation Award (restoration of a redundant church Quay Place, Ipswich)

  • Civic Trust 2018 Commendation (conservation and alteration works to the Charterhouse, London)

  • National Churches Trust - The King of Prussia Gold Medal 2018 Highly Commended (major restoration project to St Peter and St Paul, Upper Stoke in Kent)
  • We have recently completed a new build consisting of four apartments on Mill Lane opposite Maldon Promenade, Maldon, Essex. The apartments are on the market now.

    We were pleased to have been awarded extra masonry conservation works at the College of Arms in London. The College of Arms is a royal corporation acting on behalf of the Crown in all matters of heraldry, the granting of new coats of arms, genealogical and heraldic research, recording of pedigrees and matters relating to the flying of flags on land.

    We have also been awarded additional conservation works at Coalhouse Fort, Tilbury, Essex. Coalhouse Fort was built between 1861 and 1874 to protect England from invasion by the French and used again during WW1 and WW2.

    We look forward to starting a number of new projects in the New Year including an extensive refurbishment of a fire damaged barn in Essex, the rebuild of St John's Abbey precinct wall in Colchester, stone repairs to Rivenhall Place, reroofing and masonry repairs to St John the Evangelist Church in Bury St Edmunds, an installation of a new kitchen, w/c and mains services to St Catherine's Church in Littlington and timber repairs to a both a house in Layer Marney and a barn in Blackmore.

    You can also keep up-to-date with Baker’s latest news by visiting our latest news page and our Facebook page!

    Click here to open our latest Newsletter

    Bakers of Danbury Winter 2018 Newsletter

    A Christmas Tree for the Village

    A Christmas Tree for the Village

    Bakers of Danbury Ltd donated a 20 foot Christmas Tree to the village this year to show the company's appreciation to the village for it's support over the 140 years. 2018 marked Bakers of Danbury's 140th anniversary. Bakers have always been based on Eves Corner in Danbury, Essex. Many local men and women have either worked for Bakers or have relatives who worked for Bakers many years ago!

    In 1878 William Baker opened business as a “Millwright, wheelwright, carpenter etc” with only £50 and a horse and loaned cart. William Baker worked on many mills local to Danbury. Although with the demise of mills there were few mill jobs after the 1890’s, at which point William Baker concentrated on building and a small amount of church works. Today the company is very similar with recent projects ranging from the conservation and restoration project in Westminster Abbey completed earlier this year, to the new build of four apartments in Maldon.

     

    Essex Youth Build site visit

    Essex Youth Build visited All Saints Church in Terling on Wednesday 25th July to learn about the conservation works underway.

    The small group of 16-19 year olds who are currently studying City & Guilds course with Essex Youth Build attended All Saints Church for a site tour and Q&A whilst Bakers of Danbury Ltd were carrying out conservation and restoration works to the church.

    Conservation and Restoration works to All Saints Church include the following:

  • Stripping cedar shingles for full height of spire
  • Carrying out timber repairs as found and putting back new oak shakes
  • Remove weathervane, repair, decorate and re-guild
  • Repair stone clock and sundial and prepare redecorate and guild as existing
  • Stone replacement to quoins
  • Replace existing lightning conductor tape with new.
  • Heather Cutler who is part of the All Saints’ Terling Spire Project Team said

    “Thank you for your time and terrific input to making yesterday’s visit, to the work currently being undertaken at All Saints’ Terling, both interesting and safe. I do hope the lads got some ideas for future careers in heritage construction and I wish them well for their futures."

    If you would like to arrange for a small group of students to visit a working site to learn more about conservation and buildings works please do not hesitate to contact Kate Gunner by emailing kate.gunner@bakersofdanbury.co.uk

     

    Newsletter (Summer 2018)

    This newsletter looks at projects recently undertaken by Bakers of Danbury and it's sister companies Collins and Curtis Masonry and Pickford Builders.

    As many of you will know, or will have seen from our website, local press or national trade magazines; Bakers of Danbury celebrates it's 140th anniversary this year, so it seems somewhat appropriate to remind ourselves about the history of the business in our Summer Newsletter.

    William Baker founded the business at the current Eves Corner site on 11th June 1878, with £50.00 and the loan of a horse and cart as a millwright, wheelwright and carpenter, working mainly on the local mills. As the mills fell into decline however, the business adapted to work more on local houses and churches whilst training and employing skilled local craftsmen.

    William became very successful as the company worked on most of the local churches and also built many of the historic houses around Danbury, usually using red bricks from his own local brickyard. In time, William’s sons Frank and Charles took over the business and continued with works to churches and housing, with the business being further handed down in the family and then into private ownership, becoming Bakers of Danbury in 1971.

    The current company continues to train and employ local people and continues to benefit from a highly skilled, loyal and motivated workforce enabling us to have the pleasure of working on many prestigious buildings producing the quality work for which it is very well known.

    You can also keep up-to-date with Baker’s latest news by visiting our latest news page and our Facebook page!

    Click here to open our latest Newsletter

    Bakers win Civic Trust awards

    Two projects for which Bakers of Danbury were the principal contractor have won Civic Trust Awards - The Civic Trust 2018 AABC Conservation award and a Civic Trust 2018 Commendation.

    The Civic Trust 2018 AABC Conservation award was awarded for the restoration of Quay Place in Ipswich. The Civic Trust Awards described the restoration project as being

    "A project which demonstrates the highest standards of historic building conservation, and makes an outstanding contribution to the quality and appearance of the built environment"

    Formerly the church of St Mary-at-the-Quay but now called Quay Place, was until its recent regeneration a redundant medieval Church. The Grade II listed church which was believed to have been built around 1450 and 1550, is located next to Ipswich’s quayside. It suffered from war damage, damp, a decayed roof and leaning walls until the 17 month restoration programme gave Quay Place a new future as a centre for both heritage and well being activities, café and an event space alongside therapy provision.

    The specialist restoration works include the structural stabilisation and incorporation of a large contemporary mezzanine floor for office space. A new contemporary design extension provides further offices and consulting rooms. Bakers of Danbury's sister company Collins and Curtis Masonry supplied all new stone for the restoration and new build. Measurements were taken onsite to produce templates, which were then used to manufacture the replacement features to arches, jambs, tracery, cills and copings in their workshops. Traditional methods of masonry were used to manufacture the stone details.

    The Civic Trust 2018 Commendation was awarded for conservation and alteration works to the Charterhouse in London.

    The large conservation and alteration project “Revealing the Charterhouse” included remodelling of the Grade I listed building to house a new museum, learning centre, cafe, reception area and public toilets, as well as conservation and restoration works to the external fabric of Charterhouse Chapel and the re-design of Charterhouse Square.

    Click here to find out more about the regeneration of Quay Place in Ipswich and Revealing the Charterhouse

     

    Alan Titchmarsh Dedicates Fountain

    After recently completing roof works and the renewal of below-ground drainage within the Great Cloister to Westminster Abbey; Chris Norman, Contracts Manager for Bakers of Danbury Ltd, was invited to attend a Dedication Ceremony during which the new Cloister Garth Fountain was dedicated to the famous 18th-century landscape gardener Lancelot “Capability” Brown.

    Positioned in the centre of the Great Cloister to Westminster Abbey, the lead cistern fountain sits over an old monastic well in the garth. It is formed on York Stone paving provided by Bakers of Danbury’s sister company Collins and Curtis Masonry Ltd. The fountain was designed by Ptolemy Dean, the Abbey’s Surveyor of the Fabric with the assistance of TV gardener Alan Titchmarsh, who also attended the dedication and gave reflection.

    The Closter Garth Fountain marks the tercentenary of the birth of landscape gardener Lancelot “Capability” Brown. Known as “England’s greatest gardener”, “Capability” Brown designed over 170 parks and gardens – for many of which water plays a big part in their design. He was nicknamed “Capability” because he used to tell his clients their property had “capability” for improvement. Some of his work can still be admired in Kew Gardens in South West London, Chatsworth House in Derby, Warwick Castle and Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. Later he was Master Gardener at Hampton Court Palace and Richmond.

    The Ceremony took place following the Evensong taken by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall. A week later Alan Titchmarsh attended Westminster Abbey again, this time to meet the Queen during the formal opening of “The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Galleries”, a new museum and gallery located in the Abbey's medieval Triforium.

    70ft above the Abbey floor, the new gallery provides visitors with magnificent views down over the Great Cloister, Abbey buildings and the Palace of Westminster. From the gallery, Alan Titchmarsh showed Queen Elizabeth the new Cloister Garth Fountain.

    The roof works carried out by Bakers which involved stripping the existing roof, recasting original lead and re-leading part of the South Triforium and part of the Main Cloister can also be viewed from The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Galleries.

    Around the sides of the cistern on several panels is a quote from Horace Walpole:

  • WITH ONE LOST PARADISE THE NAME
  • OF OUR FIRST ANCESTOR IS STAINED;
  • BROWN SHALL ENJOY UNSULLIED FAME
  • FOR SO MANY A PARADISE REGAINED.
  • With the inscription:

  • 1716 1783 LANCELOT CAPABILITY BROWN.
  • HE SOUGHT AN IMAGE OF HEAVEN.
  •  

    Bakers celebrate 140 years

    Monday 11th June marked Bakers of Danbury 140th anniversary.

    William Baker opened the business on 11th June 1878 as a “Millwright, wheelwright, carpenter etc”, with £50 and the loan of a horse and cart .

    With the demise of mills there were few mill jobs after the 1890’s, at which point William Baker concentrated on building and a small amount of church works. The first house William Baker built was at a cost of £170 in 1880. The many houses that followed were built with bricks supplied from William Baker’s brick yard.

    William Baker became very successful, carrying out general building works. In 1904 William Baker retired leaving the business to his sons - the business became “Baker and Sons”. Charlie Baker’s main interest was in building and Frank Baker’s main interest was in church restoration work. The restoration of the spire to the local church Danbury St John the Baptist in 1922 was their first major undertaking in church restoration work.

    Being the only builder of size in the area, Baker and Sons were approached by clients wishing to acquire land and have a house built in the area. For these houses, Baker and Sons generally made use of red facing bricks manufactured in their own brickyards, and therefore much of the architecture you see today as you walk around Danbury and surrounding villages can be identified as the work of Charlie and Frank Baker.

    The business was handed down to family members over the years and became “Bakers of Danbury Ltd” in 1971.

    BAKERS OF DANBURY TODAY

    Today, Bakers are still known for their expertise on historic and listed properties, and interestingly, many of the methods used in conservation and restoration work remain very similar to those used over a century ago.

    Bakers of Danbury has 5 Directors one of which is Antony Wood, the son of David Wood (Director from 1965 until 2005).

    Bakers are currently working on Westminster Abbey, and in the past 12 months have carried out restoration and alteration works to The Charterhouse in London, Westminster Cathedral and St Pauls Cathedral amongst many other projects. Recent projects have won the following prestigious awards; RICS National Award 2017 for Building Conservation, RIBA National award 2017, Civic Trust 2018 AABC Conservation award and a Diocese of Chelmsford, Design Award 2017.

    Other interesting projects include the soft capping conservation work to the Norman high flint walls of Walden Castle in Saffron Walden, Essex (2017), various restoration works to the Norman Colchester Castle, Essex (since 1985) and Colchester’s Roman Walls, repairs to a number of local windmills, and various restoration works and preventative maintenance carried out to St Albans Cathedral (since 1984) and Chelmsford Cathedral (since the 1960’s).

    Bakers benefit from a team of experienced stonemasons, carpenters, joiners and other tradesmen. The longest serving having worked up through our apprenticeship scheme has been with Bakers over 35 years!

    Listed Heritage Magazine – Westminster Abbey

    We are delighted that Listed Heritage Magazine has featured a two page article on our works to Westminster Abbey.

    Under the instruction from Ptolemy Dean Architects Ltd (Westminster Abbey’s Surveyor of the Fabric) we are carrying out restoration and repair works to the roof of the medieval South Triforium and the Great Cloister within Westminster Abbey.

    The roof works will be completed in time for the opening of a new museum and gallery, located in the Abbey's medieval Triforium, due to open later this year. After being hidden from public over 700 years, the Triforium will become “The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Galleries”.