Tag Archives: Church works

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”.

 

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.

 

Westminster Abbey

Under the instruction from Ptolemy Dean Architects Ltd (Westminster Abbeys Surveyor of the fabric) Bakers are currently carrying out roof works to 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, next year. After being hidden from public over 700 years, the Triforium will become “The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Galleries”.

70ft above the Abbey floor, the new gallery will provide visitors with magnificent views down over the Abbey buildings and the Palace of Westminster. Roof works carried out by Bakers involve 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 is also being carried out, with a combination of new and refurbished lead downpipes, hoppers and chutes being fitted. A new hopper, corbel stone and 22 metre downpipe has been introduced, formed to mirror the Christopher Wren era hoppers that are already in use.

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

Other works include careful rehoming of monuments and statues from other parts of the Abbey onto the Triforium floor.

With the improvements to the rainwater goods, Bakers will undertake the renewal of the below ground drainage within the Great Cloister, which will also include the exciting addition of a fountain to be positioned in the centre of the Cloister, formed on York Stone paving with a lead cistern fountain. These works will continue into Spring 2018.

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."

Highly Commended – National RICS Awards 2017

After winning the RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) East of England Awards 2017, Building Conservation Category earlier this year, our project was entered into the National RICS Awards Grand Final.

We are pleased to announce that our project achieved “Highly Commended” within the Building Conservation category of the National RICS Awards, which took place earlier this month. The Regional and National RICS awards were for the specialist restoration and new contemporary design extension and mezzanine floor to Quay Place, Ipswich (formerly St Mary-at-the-Quay). To find out more about the project Click here .

RICS described Quay Place as:

An exemplar conservation project, combining traditional approaches with cutting-edge innovation. The CCT have a proven track record of exemplary conservation and imaginative re-use of Churches that have fallen out of use.

St Mary at the Quay posed significant structural questions that had to be overcome in order to provide the building with a sustainable future.

An impressive structural engineering solution was enacted to remove hugely unsightly and rudimentary previous stabilisation works and which was cleverly integrated to provide the structure for additional office space.

Conservation repairs have been neatly undertaken and a new extension almost seamlessly added in matching materials. The new use provides a haven of calm within this busy area and it is felt this project will act as a catalyst for the completion of the areas redevelopment.

 

BAKERS SAY FAREWELL

Bakers have reluctantly said farewell to one of its long standing members of the team. Peter Delderfield, who joined Bakers 26 years ago, worked for us as a very skilled Stone Mason and Site Foreman, experience which is hard to come by nowadays.

Peter will be sorely missed, both by his colleagues and clients. He has been a credit to Bakers due to his enthusiasm, hard work and dedication.

I’m sure all who know or have worked with Peter Delderfield over the past 26 years, will join me in wishing him a wonderful retirement.

Thank you for all of your hard work over the years and congratulations Peter, we’ll miss you!!

 

Listed Heritage Magazine

We are delighted that Listed Heritage Magazine has featured a four page article on our works to The Charterhouse.

Having been hidden from view and closed to public for over 650 years - the Charterhouse, a historic London landmark was recently opened to public by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh (28 February 2017). The Queen also unveiled a plaque to mark the occasion.

In recent months Charterhouse underwent a large conservation, restoration and alteration project “Revealing the Charterhouse”, which included remodelling of the Grade I listed building to house a new museum and learning centre; which explores the history of the Charterhouse from the Black Death to present day.

The recently completed £4 million project, “Revealing the Charterhouse” was funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund and other generous supporters. The project aimed to share the Charterhouse heritage with public, as well as conserve and restore the Charterhouse itself, including the Chapel and the Charterhouse Square, to which the Charterhouse buildings surround part of.

To ensure that the whole project was carried out to the highest standard, Bakers of Danbury were appointed Principal Contractors. With over 135 years of traditional craftsmanship handed down through generations, Bakers of Danbury have long been associated with the regions fine historic monuments and buildings. Bakers of Danbury’s previous experience of working on the Charterhouse include mechanical and engineering with associated sensitive builders works and conservation works.

 

St Catherine’s Church, East Tilbury

Summary =A sympathetic extension and redecoration to St Catherine's Church, East Tilbury to provide a new kitchen area and toilet facilities. Works also included a new heating installation to both the extension and church, along with a full renovation of flooring, walls and roof to the main church.

Value = £330,000

Location = East Tilbury, Essex

Architect =Inkpen Downie Architecture and Design Ltd

Solution = St Catherine's Church, East Tilbury is an important survival from the 12th century. The site is associated with the first church established by St Cedd.

Works involved an extension and redecoration to St Catherine's Church, East Tilbury. The parishioners were consulted to set out requirements for the building which was to provide some basic amenities such as a kitchen and toilet facilities.

Designed to allow focus to remain on the existing Church building; the extension is a simple free-standing structure with no interference on the existing structure. The external walls are clad in weathered horizontal oak boarding, reminiscent of timber porches commonly found in Essex where stone is a scarce material. The roof is configured to allow the use of pan-tiles without encroaching on existing openings. The foundations are a shallow raft supported on piles, to minimise interference with burials and underlying archaeology.

When the opening to the west door was unblocked to provide access to the new extension, it revealed decayed and missing stonework. This was reinstated and repaired with great attention to detail.

Internally, a new heating system was installed within the extension and church and the floors, walls and roof to main church were all renovated.

The new kitchen and toilet facility, together with a new heating system makes the church more usable as a place of worship.

Works were completed January 2016. The new facilities have enabled the Church to open for teas and homemade cakes from Easter to October on the afternoons of the last Sunday in the month and on Bank holiday Mondays.

This project was recently Highly Commended at the Diocese of Chelmsford, Design Awards 2017 for Development and Restoration.

Photos credited to Inkpen Downie Architecture and Design Ltd

Bakers win RIBA awards

We are pleased to announce that, as principal contractor under the Architect, Richard Griffiths, we have been awarded RIBA East Award 2017 and RIBA East Award 2017 for Conservation for our work to The Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban over a 17 year period.

Bakers of Danbury have a long-running and on-going relationship with the Cathedral which we are very proud to be a part of and consider it a privilege to maintain this incredible building for future generations to utilise and appreciate.

To find out more about recent works to St Albans Cathedral click here.

 

St Christopher’s Church

Value = £162,000

Location = Willingale, Essex

Architect = Simon Marks - Purcell

Summary = Restoration of church roof, including strengthening and alterations to meet modern regulations.

Challenge = Fitting a new compliant roof structure into the old C14th roof timbers without disturbing the original structure and pegged joints, or affecting the existing plaster and lath ceiling. Every new rafter had to be fitted bespoke, shaving millimetres off at various points along their lengths to allow it to fit in the roof space available.

Solution = Works included stripping tiles and battens and re-roofing using bat-friendly felt, batten and tiling with hand-made Tudor tiles. Carrying out timber repairs and strengthening to the roof structure. Installing secondary roof structure in softwood to meet modern regulations regarding rafter spacing. Adjusting and adapting rainwater goods to suit new roof.