Tag Archives: conservation

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."

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.