Tag Archives: Essex

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.”

Westminster School Extension

Summary = Bakers of Danbury Ltd are currently building an extension to Westminster School. The extension includes meeting and teaching space as well as offices for school staff. Bakers have completed phases one and two which involved the demolition of the existing building and an archaeological dig. We are currently working on phase three.

Location = Westminster, London

Architect = Ptolemy Dean Architects Ltd

Challenge = Access is restricted due to working on a live school. Westminster School is the only ancient school in London which still occupies its original site. The site of the new extension is very closely surrounded by Grade I Listed buildings, some dating back to the 11th century.

Solution = Phase one involved the careful demolition of the modern concrete music centre in Little Dean’s Yard. The demolition was carried out carefully to protect the Grade I Listed buildings surrounding the site.

Careful demolition and breaking out was also carried out on the reinforced concrete foundation to the music center to protect the archaeology below ground.

During phase two Bakers oversaw archaeological excavations, which were carried out in conjunction with Pre-Construct Archaeology. The archaeological excavations uncovered part of the original kitchen to the Monks Abbey dating back to the 11th century. A section of the new build floor will be cantilevered glass - creating a platform from which to view the archaeology below ground level, which was exposed during archaeological excavations.

Working under the instruction of Ptolemy Dean Architects Ltd, Bakers of Danbury are currently working on phase three of the project. During this phase Bakers will be using traditional building techniques and materials to create a new build extension. The new extension will be constructed with handmade bricks, reclaimed tiles, lead roofing and handmade timber and lead windows. The extension will house a new teaching/ meeting area and offices for the school staff.

Bakers will also carry out internal renovation works and external restoration works to a number of surrounding school buildings.

This project will also include a full M&E package which includes the new build extension and existing school buildings, as well as landscaping to Little Deans Yard, which lays the front of Westminster School.

 

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

    Hand Carved Village Signs

    Bakers of Danbury have hand carved and restored village signs going back many years now. The earliest village sign on our records dates back to 1960, for the of village Pebmarsh in Essex.

    Bakers of Danbury’s Joinery Workshop still regularly undertake village sign projects - from refurbishment and redecoration; to a full design service for brand new village signs.

    Village Sign Refurbishment:

    Village sign refurbishment works involve collecting the sign from its village location, cleaning, sanding and repairing any defects using hardwood timber. We will hand carve where necessary, then carry out a full re-decoration which will include hand painting the village sign. When the refurbished village sign is returned to its former glory, we will reinstate the refurbished village sign back at its village location.

    Design of New Village Signs:

    For brand new village signs, our full design service includes sitting down with the client to bring their thought’s to life. We will produce detailed drawings of the village sign. The design will be to scale (life sized) to give the client a real feel of what the final sign will look like.

    Once the detailed drawings are approved, Bakers of Danbury’s specialist joinery department will hand carve the new design out of hardwood. Hand carving a village sign can take some time depending on its detail.

    Once we have a completed hand carved village sign, it will be hand painted using special exterior paint to give the highest quality finish. Finally, the installation will take place at the village sign location.

    Recent projects:

    We have recently refurbished, repaired and decorated a National Beacon for the village of Purfleet. The beacon itself was refurbished and it's post repaired. We carried out a full decoration of the sign and installed a new concrete base.

    We have recently refurbished signs for Halstead, Woodford Green, Roxwell and East Bergholt.

     

    Shop Display Units

    Summary: Shop display units handcrafted from MDF and Oak with a sprayed paint finish and stained oak edge

    Location: Chelsea Harbour Design Centre, London

    Architect: Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler Interior Design, Decoration and Antiques

    Challenge: Short lead time

    Solution: Bakers of Danburys’ Specialist Joinery Workshop handcrafted eight display units for Colefax & Fowler’s new Interior Design Shop which is located in Chelsea Harbour, London.

    The display units were constructed from 30mm MDF with a lino top covering and an oak edging applied to the unit tops.

    The units were finished in a factory spray with a stained oak edging. The project had a short lead time. To enable the project to meet its completion deadline the whole team had to work very closely and our joiners worked some overtime.

    Colefax & Fowler are a repeat customer of Bakers of Danbury, we look forward to working with Colefax & Fowler again in the future.

     

    English Oak Storage & WC

    Summary: English Oak bespoke DDA and Dementia friendly toilet, storage cupboards, children's library and pew storage area

    Location: St Mary’s Church, Saffron Walden

    Architect: Kay Pilsbury Thomas Architects

    Challenge: Attention to detail was important in this project as it was all made of English Oak and stained on site. There was no room for error!

    Solution: One of the largest parish churches in Essex, the building dates mainly from the fifteenth century.

    Bakers of Danbury’s Specialist Joinery department manufactured and installed a bespoke DDA and Dementia friendly toilet, storage cupboards, children's library and pew storage area. All were crafted by our Joiners from English Oak in our joinery shop, it was then taken apart and wrapped flat pack for transit, before being fitted by our onsite carpenters.

    Great attention was paid to the highest spec soundproofing, with all panels either insulated with a solid block board or infilled with bricks to eliminate noise. The WC door alone weighed over 100kg.

    Every post included a hand carved crocus detail to the top. The complete project was very detailed and complex with hand carved designs, modern sliding doors and bespoke detailed cornice which ran around the top of the complete project.

    To watch a video of our skilled Joiner hand carving a crocus detail Click here.

     

    American Oak Panelling

    Summary: American Oak panelling measuring 220 m2 for a School of Science on Euston Road, London

    Location: Grafton House, Euston Road, London

    Client: Forrest Gate Construction

    Challenge: The oak panelling was across four floors. Each with a different layout

    Solution: Bakers of Danbury’s Specialist Joinery Department were asked to supply 220m2 of American White Oak for a refurbishment to Grafton House in London.

    The project was a conversion of an existing building to a modern science school.

    All of the panels and oak had to be class 0 fire rated. Baker’s Joiners painted and installed over 2000 meters of oak strips which were fixed to painted black 12mm MDF with spacing’s of 20mm to give a shadow gap appearance.

    The project was split across four floors and each floor had a different layout, so a full site survey was necessary to ensure each floor was measured correctly.

     

    National Trust, Rainham Hall

    Summary: Conservation and restoration of National Trust Rainham Hall. Conservation and restoration works were carried out to three floors of Rainham Hall and its Coach House. Works included the redevelopment of the Coach House into a tea room.

    Value: Approximately £2,000,000

    Location: London Borough of Havering

    Architect: Julian Harrap Architects LLP

    Challenge: Provide wheelchair access to first floor of Coach House whilst retaining the aesthetic look of the building.

    Solution: Prior to the conservation and restoration project, the building had been in disrepair and on the Historic England at Risk Register. It had been completely inaccessible to the public.

    Constructed in the early eighteenth century, the Stable Block at Rainham Hall included a stable with a hayloft above with a brew house adjacent. When work started, it became clear that the roof had undergone various repairs and rebuilds in its history; leaving it with a poor structural integrity. Bakers of Danbury carried out structural roof repairs and re-tiling.

    During the conservation and restoration of National Trust Rainham Hall a temporary staircase gave visitors the chance to see the works up close during a number of 'Hard Hat' tours.

    Bakers of Danbury’s inhouse Specialist Joinery Shop built and installed a timber-clad vertical lift shaft with a spiral cantilevered staircase. The design of the new lift core, located in the within the Grade II Listed Brew House, echoes the large copper vats used in the 18th century brewing process.

    To the Main Hall, Bakers of Danbury undertook a large renovation project including a full M&E overhaul. Bakers of Danbury also installed new w/c and carried out conservator decorating.

    Externally Bakers of Danbury carried out re-pointing and brickwork repairs to all elevations.

    In October 2015, the Stable Block at Rainham Hall opened to the public as a café and community space.

    The conservation and restoration of National Trust Rainham Hall was shortlisted for the RICS Building Conservation Awards 2018.

     

    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

    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