Tag Archives: Bakers of Danbury

Westminster Abbey

Summary = Roof works to the medieval South Triforium and the Great Cloister within Westminster Abbey.

Value = Approximately £1,450,000

Location = Westminster, London

Architect = Ptolemy Dean Architects Ltd

Challenge = Access issues and restrictions due to the main access route into site being through the Great Cloister - a busy area of the Abbey accessible to the public from 9.30am every day.

Solution = Under the instruction from Ptolemy Dean Architects Ltd (Westminster Abbeys Surveyor of the fabric) Bakers carried out roof works to the medieval South Triforium and the Great Cloister within Westminster Abbey.

70ft above the Abbey floor, the new gallery provides visitors with magnificent views down over the Abbey buildings and the Palace of Westminster. Roof works carried out by Bakers involved stripping the existing roof, recasting original lead and re-leading part of the South Triforium and part of the Main Cloister.

A full overhaul of the rainwater goods was also carried out, with a combination of new and refurbished lead downpipes, hoppers and chutes fitted. A new hopper, corbel stone and 22 metre downpipe was introduced, formed to mirror the Christopher Wren era hoppers that were already in use.

Bakers increased the gradient of the Triforium roof by increasing the fall of the lead bays (compliant with lead sheet association guidelines). Other structural repairs included reinforcing 300-year-old oak primary rafters using a flitch plate repair and other associated structural repairs to the oak roof.

Other works include the provision of a new access hatch and fall arrest system, stone repairs and indents to internal and external elevations and the careful re-homing of monuments and statues from other parts of the Abbey onto the Triforium floor.

The new freestanding external access ladder with a handrail was crafted from European Oak. It was a good project for our recently qualified joiner Jack Darvill to work on.

With the improvements to the rainwater goods, Bakers also undertook the renewal of the below ground drainage within the Great Cloister, which will also included the exciting addition of a fountain positioned in the centre of the Cloister, formed on York Stone paving with a lead cistern fountain.

Works were completed Spring 2018, in time for the opening of a new museum and gallery, located in the Abbey's medieval Triforium. After being hidden from public over 700 years, the Triforium became “The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Galleries”.

Jim Vincent, Clerk of the Works at Westminster Abbey said:

Bakers of Danbury have successfully managed access issues and restrictions whilst carrying out the works at the Abbey. The main access route into site is through the Great Cloister, which is a busy area of the Abbey accessible to the public from 9.30am every day.

We have found Bakers of Danbury to be considerate of the public and employees of the Abbey and have undertaken the works to the Abbey with the utmost care and attention at all times and look forward to continuing our working relationship with them in the future. The high standard of work is commensurate with the status of the building and is what is expected of contractors working at Westminster Abbey."

St Swithun’s Church, Great Chishill

Summary = Conservation and alteration works to St Swithun’s Church, Great Chishill

Value = approximately £238,000

Location = Great Chishill, South Cambridgeshire

Architect =Barker Associates

Solution = Bakers of Danbury recently carried out conservation and alteration works to St Swithun’s Church in Great Chishill, which involved extensive conservation of the church tower including repointing and replacement of external flint, refurbishment of the clock dials, replacement of the oak belfry louvres and new lightning protection.

Further works to the base of the tower included the addition of a disabled w/c facility and the provision of new mains water and drainage to the church.

 

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”.

     

    Newsletter (Winter 2017)

    We have had another very busy and exciting year across all of our companies, with works to some of our country’s most iconic landmarks including Westminster Abbey, St Pauls Cathedral and St Albans Cathedral to name just a few.

    At the beginning of this year we had the honour of being invited to meet the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh at the formal opening of The Charterhouse. The “Revealing the Charterhouse” project was a £4 million project for which Bakers were Principle Contactors. It involved the remodelling of a Grade I Listed building to house a new museum and learning centre as well as other conservation and restoration works.

    2018 will mark the 140th anniversary for Bakers of Danbury, established in 1878 by William Baker with £50 and a horse and cart. The company initially carried out works to local mills but with the demise of the mills in the late 1890s, William Baker concentrated on works to churches and house building. Most houses William Baker built were with bricks from his own local brickfields.

    140 years later, Bakers of Danbury continue to engage in a very similar portfolio of works ranging from conserving our regions listed buildings and monuments to new build projects including houses and schools.

    We continue to work hard to maintain the company’s excellent reputation as we look forward to another 140 years. On behalf of all of our Directors I wish you and your family a peaceful but merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.

    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

    St Mary’s Church, Stotfold

    Summary = A major renovation to where large areas of external stonework had failed at St Mary's Church Stotfold.

    Value = approximately £160,000

    Location = Stotfold, Bedfordshire

    Architect =Barker Associates

    Challenge = This failure was mainly due to the fact that it was constructed using ‘Clunch’ stone which in its day was sourced locally, but being a very soft and pervious stone has not stood the tests of time.

    Solution = The replacement stone was produced by our sister company Collins & Curtis Masonry. Clipsham Stone was used in place of Clunch for an all weathering stone which will stand up the elements better overtime.

    All other stonework to ornate tracery sections to windows and door surrounds was replaced with Chicksgrove as good quality Clunch is now becoming difficult to source.

    The results to the church has been a fantastic success and we have since secured additional works internally which start in January 2018.