Tag Archives: danbury

A Quacking New Duck House

Bakers of Danbury's in-house joinery workshop recently built and donated a new duck house to the village. Bakers of Danbury takes pride in supporting both our local community and the communities in which we work - sometimes through sponsorship or even offering a helping hand. We thought our ducks needed a new home!

On Friday 1st February representatives of Danbury Parish Council, Bakers of Danbury Ltd, children from the ECO Council for St John’s C of E Primary School, children from Heathcote Preparatory School and some local residents all braved the cold, wet and snowy weather and met on Eves Corner Friday morning to watch the ducks officially take up residence in their new home.

Stuart Berlyn, Chairman of Danbury Parish Council said;

“Once again Bakers of Danbury has supported the village and Parish Council with this fantastic donation to celebrate their 140th Anniversary. So much thought and hard work has gone into this duck house. It's the poshest duck house we've ever seen, but only the best for our ducks!”

The duck house design has taken inspiration from the The Parish Church of St John the Baptist. St John’s stands high on Danbury ridge, as a landmark whose spire is visible from the A12 and from many local vantage-points.

Peter Smyth, Managing Director of Bakers of Danbury Ltd said;

“The guys in our church department, who overlook Eves Corner, felt sorry for the ducks in their wonky house with holes in it.

So, we decided to ask our in-house joinery workshop to build a new duck house. We asked our Bench Joiner Robin Palmer to build the duck house, because he has taken his lunch by the pond almost every day, since he joined Bakers over 14 years ago!”

The church duck house design seems very fitting for Bakers, as they are well known for their conservation work to churches, ancient monuments and cathedrals, as well as work to listed buildings and private homes. Bakers have recently carried out conservation works to both St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey amongst other ecclesiastical buildings.

Bakers’ in-house joinery workshop handcraft bespoke joinery and furniture. The joinery shop meets all the joinery requirements of the company, as well as taking orders directly from clients for projects such as bespoke kitchens, dressing rooms, furniture for business reception areas and bespoke ecclesiastical items. The duck house is something a little out of the ordinary them!

Bakers took advice from The Essex Wildlife Trust who suggested the duck house should be installed in time for early spring as the Ducks will be looking for nesting sites then. The duck house has two nesting boxes – a door for each box can be found at either end of the house. Each nesting box has a floating ramp leading from the house into the water.

Bakers joinery shop made the duck house from weatherproof ply with a felt roof and a spire covered in Cedar shingles. Over time the Cedar will go a dark grey, more like the colour of St John’s Spire. The tower has been thoughtfully designed to capture the rain water on a felt roof within the tower and redirect it back out from under where the tower meets the church.

The duck house sits on metal stilts with the wooden legs sitting above the water level to prevent the wood from sitting in the water and rotting. It took a whole day to paint the duck house which includes details such as a mallard duck, flowers and detailed stone quoins, very much like those on St Johns. Peter Smyth said;

“We've been trying to give a bit back to the village, as we've just celebrated our 140th anniversary last year. Bakers have always been on Eves Corner, so we bought the Christmas tree to go on Eves Corner last year, as a thank you to the village too.”

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!