All posts by Kate Gunner

Westminster School

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

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.

Farleigh Hospice Christmas Tree Recycling

Bakers of Danbury were very proud to be the main sponsor for the 2019/ 2020 Farleigh Hospice Christmas Tree Recycling Campaign which raised a massive £37,500.

2019 was the sixth year that Farleigh Hospice has organised their Christmas Tree Recycling campaign. Growing in popularity every year, the Christmas Tree Recycling campaign raised a over £10,000 more than last year.

Without the help of all of the volunteers who collect the trees over the first weekend in January, it wouldn't have been possible. The volunteers collect the trees and drive them back to chipped and recycled - some are used in local parks and some to make fuel.

Farleigh Hospice asked Bakers of Danbury in 2018 if we would like to be the first ever sponsor of their Christmas Tree Recycling event, as they had seen we actively support local charities. We have been proud to be the main sponsor for the campaign over the last couple of years, and look forward to doing the same this year. To date Farleigh Hospice Christmas Tree Recycling events have raised the following;

  • 2015 - £3,700 collecting 450 trees
  • 2016 - £5,000 collecting 613 trees
  • 2017 - £12,000 collecting 1,400 trees
  • 2018 - £20,000 collecting 2,100 trees
  • 2019 - £27,000 collecting 2,800 trees
  • 2020 - £37,500 collecting 3,500 trees
  • Debbie de Boltz, Fundraising Manager for Farleigh Hospice wrote:

    A huge thank you for sponsoring our Christmas Tree Recycling Campaign again this year. I am delighted to tell you that we collected in excess of 3,500 trees and raised over £37,500, which is a truly fantastic amount of money.



    You are helping us to continue providing hospice care and support to anyone affected by a life-limiting illness or bereavement across mid Essex. Thanks to you we can help people to live as actively as possible from the point of diagnosis to the end of their lives, by providing physical and emotional care, free of charge. We can support people in their own homes and provide bereavement services to anyone who needs them within our community.



    We rely on your support to help us raise the £6 million we need every year (over £16,000 a day). With the number of people needing specialised palliative care and bereavement support growing every year, your generosity is more important now than ever. It is because you care that we can.

    To find out more about the services Farleigh Hospice provides visit www.farleighhospice.org

    St Mary’s Church, Saffron Walden

    Summary: The re-ordering of St Mary's Church in Saffron Walden involved our specialist joinery workshop manufacturing and installing English Oak bespoke DDA and Dementia friendly toilet, storage cupboards, children's library and a pew storage area.

    Location: St Mary’s Church, Saffron Walden

    Challenge: Attention to detail was important in this project as it was all made of English Oak then stained and fitted on site.

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

    The west main entrance was re-ordered to incorporate new storage units in bespoke manufactured in English Oak by Bakers of Danbury’s Specialist Joinery department. We also manufactured and installed a bespoke all-person DDA / Dementia friendly WC, with baby change area in English Oak. In the North Aisle we introduced a pew storage area, bespoke servery facilities, flower arranger’s sink and storage area. All were crafted by our Joiners from English Oak in our joinery workshop, 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. To watch a film of our skilled Joiner hand carving a crocus detail click here.

    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.

    The re-ordering project to St Mary the Virgin in Saffron Walden was Highly Commended in the Diocese of Chelmsford, Design Awards in 2019.

    Take a look at our short film on woodcarving

    traditional_hand_carved_detail

    BBC Essex interview

    Bakers’ Contracts Manager for the Church Works Department Adrian Ward, was interviewed by June Woolerton on the BBC Essex Sunday breakfast on Sunday 19th January 2020.

    Click here to listen to the interview on BBC Essex

    The interview began with BBC Essex's June Woolerton asking Adrian about Bakers of Danbury's history, in particular about William Baker who set up the company over 140 years ago. Adrian and June discussed the similarities between the business William set up in 1878 and Bakers of Danbury today, which include the company culture and work ethic, as well as the type of work carried out and the need to move with the times, in order to maintain the company.

    Adrian explained that essentially, moving with the times is how Bakers became involved in the specialist conservation and repair of churches. William Baker was a “Millwright, wheelwright and carpenter”, but with the demise of mills, there were few mill jobs after the 1890’s. At which point William Baker concentrated on general repairs and construction of local properties, as well as church works.

    In the interview Adrian tells June about the works Bakers of Danbury has carried out to some of London's landmarks, which include St Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and St Brides church, as well as works carried out within Essex which include working on Chelmsford Cathedral and local churches.

    June told Adrian she had seen Bakers’ vans around the county looking after churches, and asked Adrian about the works Bakers carry out to churches. They discuss the typical works necessary to conserve and restore local churches, as well as alteration works which are sometimes carried out to help ensure a village church remains the centre of the community, in addition to worship.

    A Christmas Tree for Danbury

    Bakers of Danbury donated a large Christmas Tree to the village of Danbury again, and at the beginning of December Danbury Parish Council invited the whole community to an event to switch the Christmas Tree lights on.

    After Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Essex had switched the lights on, everyone enjoyed singing Christmas Carols together then enjoyed warm refreshments and mince pies in the local Sports and Social Centre where Father Christmas had parked his sleigh to meet local children. Baker's Contracts Directors Mark Holland and Ron Lowe were introduced to Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Essex, who thanked them for all that the company does for the local community, mentioning the new duck house Bakers made for the village earlier in the year.

    You can keep up-to-date with other initiatives within Baker's Corporate Social Responsibility Programme, which we set up to help support both our local community and the communities in which we work by visiting our Corporate Social Responsibility Page or by liking our Facebook page!

    The Danbury Focus Magazine featured an article in their January Edition about the village Christmas Tree Lights Switch on. The article read;

    The community of Danbury enjoyed a Christmas event hosted by Danbury Parish Council for the whole village to enjoy, on the evening of Thursday 5th December. The event was attended by record numbers this year, according to the Parish Council Chairman Stuart Berlyn. After everyone had counted down, Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Essex switched on the lights, to illuminate the Christmas tree which had been generously donated by a local building company Bakers of Danbury Ltd. Everyone enjoyed singing along to traditional Christmas carols around the Christmas tree, accompanied by the wonderful Salvation Army Band.

    After the carols were sung everyone enjoyed warm refreshments and treats at Danbury Sports and Social Centre, and the children of Danbury were delighted to meet Father Christmas who had landed his sleigh and reindeer in the Sports and Social Centre car park.

    Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Essex said;

    “It was an honour to be invited to switch on the Christmas tree lights for Danbury tonight. It is wonderful to see such a tremendous sense of community, with so many local residents enjoying tonight together. I would like to thank all involved; Danbury Parish Council, Danbury Society, Bakers of Danbury, The Salvation Army Band, The Rotary Club, Danbury Mission, St Johns Church and other members of the community, who have all played a part in making tonight possible. With so many people doing great things for their village, it’s a great way to start Christmas Festivities!”

    Newsletter (Winter 2019)

    Although we are Principal Contractors in Essex we have projects across the East of England and London. Our Winter 2019 newsletter looks at a selection of projects recently undertaken by Bakers of Danbury as well as our sister companies Collins and Curtis Masonry and Pickford Builders.

    The Winter Newsletter looks at recent projects which include a grade II Listed barn conversion (to provide an entertainment suite, kitchen and bar area and gymnasium), recent repair work to the spire of St Mary's Church in Shoebury, a new build extension to Westminster School (to provide a presentation/ reception room, four new offices, new stairwell, lift and a new block of visitor w/c), enabling works recently completed to Chelmsford High School for Girls, a new build extension to Grays Convent School as well as many projects our onsite joinery workshop are working on.

    The Winter Newsletter also looks at recently completed and current works carried out by our sister companies Collins and Curtis Masonry Ltd which is based in Ipswich and Pickford Builders Ltd which is based in Dunmow. Collins and Curtis has been busy supplying masonry to many projects which include stone products for private houses, a number of churches and memorials. Pickford Builders has been busy carrying out insurance repair works for a number of national insurance companies, as well as other general building projects which include the current conversion of a former industrial building into eight residential apartments in Braintree.

    Click here to open our latest Newsletter. You can also keep up-to-date with Baker’s latest news by visiting our latest news page and our Facebook page!