Category Archives: Listed Buildings

Church Fire Damage Repair

Summary = St John the Baptist Church in Royston was devastated by a fire. Bakers of Danbury have carried out phase one of works which included securing the structure and stripping the fire damaged materials which were beyond repair. Bakers are currently working on the second phase.

Location = Royston, Hertfordshire

Challenge = National lock down due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Solution = Bakers of Danbury were initially tasked with phase one of works which began May 2019 and involved six weeks stripping all fire damaged material and making the structure safe after it had suffered a devastating fire in the early hours of the 9th December 2018.

The fire which started in the tower devastated the tower and bell ringing chamber and caused significant damage to the medieval nave roof, in particular the west end of the roof. The church also suffered from subsequent water damage as a result of extinguishing the fire, which cause the floor to collapse.

After completing phase one of works, Bakers were awarded phase two of works which began at the fire damaged church in February 2020. Later the following month, due to the nature of the works and the confined working space, the project had to be put on hold during the national lock down due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In May the works resumed with the introduction of social distancing measures, sensible planning and safe working procedures which were implemented by Bakers' SHEQ Manager, Contract Manager and Site Manager for the project.

During phase two, a new tower roof with steel supporting girders was installed and covered in lead. New window reveals (in Clunch) were installed within the tower and repairs were made to the tower internal walls, particularly at the belfry level where it had been seriously damaged by the instense heat. Within the tower a quatrefoil window was replaced with one handcrafted by Bakers' sister company Collins and Curtis Masonry.

Lower down the tower, Bakers repaired the walls by stitching them with large pieces of Clunch. Re-pointing the stonework further restored and strengthened the tower. New copings in Barnack stone were installed to the tower parapet and new ashlar indents were also incorporated.

To the naive roof, which suffered significant damage, Bakers repaired the original inner wall plate and introduced a new outer wall plate to support the rafters. New rafters were installed where the fired had damaged the original ones beyond repair. Those original principal rafters which were salvaged have been repaired and supported by installing large stainless steel brackets (individual brackets weigh 175 kg each).

All timbers have been ice blasted to remove fire and smoke damage, taking particular attention to preserve historical graffiti which although had been damaged by the fire, was still legible. A new lead roof (code 7) will be installed and all rainwater goods will be replaced with cast aluminum.

Ice blast cleaning has been carried out in isolated areas of the church which suffered fire and smoke damage, for example around the windows and doors. Various cleaning trials have been carried out throughout the interior and exterior of the church. Phase 2 of works will be completed to deadline, January 2021. Bakers are working in close collaboration with the Project Quantity Surveyor to monitor overall contract values, variation costs and the final contract sum.

To keep up to date on similar conservation projects carried out by Bakers of Danbury visit our Latest News page or the Bakers of Danbury Facebook page.

Restoration of Oldest Church Remains

Summary = Restoration of apsidal remains, said to be the oldest church in Britain.

Location = Colchester, Essex

Challenge = The weather was causing erosion to the original core structure of the walls.

Solution = Restoration works have recently been carried out by Bakers of Danbury Ltd, to the remaining stonework belonging to what is said to be the oldest Christian Church in England.

The remains of the Church next to Colchester Police Station in Essex, are believed to date back to AD 320, toward the end of the Roman occupation in Britain. Originally excavated more than 40 years ago, the apsidal remains consist of septarian stone together with reclaimed roman tiles and pamments.

Commissioned by Colchester Borough Council and supported by Colchester Archaeological Trust, Bakers of Danbury’s stonemasons repointed the stone wall foundations with Lime Mortar and restored all visible stonework, using traditional methods which have been handed down generations of the 140-year-old company. Despite the starkness of the pointing against the older, dirtier masonry, Bakers' stonemasons matched the original core mortar as closely as possible.

The recent restoration works will protect the remains for many years to come, by preventing further erosion which can occur when the weather gets into the original core structure of the walls. All oak marker posts which mark the positions of the aisles and partition have been replaced with new.

Philip Wise, Colchester & Ipswich Museums said;

“These works will help to safeguard the future of these important Roman remains for the people of Colchester.”

Although Colchester Archaeological Trust agree the ruins are a “probable Romano-British Church”, the building was associated with two cemeteries one pagan and one Christian, which help support alternative theories around the buildings original use - perhaps later being converted to a Romano-British Church. These theories suggest it may have been originally been a pagan temple, a Roman mithraeum (Roman temple) or a hall for funerary feasts predating AD.320. The remains were awarded Scheduled Monument status by Historic England on 07 October 2020, ref 1470104. For more information visit historicengland.co.uk

To keep up to date on similar conservation projects carried out by Bakers of Danbury visit our Latest News page or the Bakers of Danbury Facebook page.

Grade II Listed Barn Conversion

Summary = A Grade II Listed barn conversion to provide entertainment suite, garages, kitchen/ bar area and gymnasium.

Challenge = The original Grade II Listed barn was in need of structural under pinning, together with timber frame and roof repairs.

Solution = Bakers recently carried out a conversion of a barn and stable block to provide an entertainment suite, garages, kitchen/ bar area and gymnasium which involved extensive timber frame and roof repairs, as well as structural underpinning.

All existing timber weather boarding was removed and repair work and straightening carried out to the existing timber frame. Repairs were made to the brick plinth and the roof completely stripped and restored with reclaimed peg tiles.

Bakers' joinery workshop hand crafted new doors, oak staircase and sepele sash casement windows to match the existing

To hear more about other projects similar to this Grade II Listed barn conversion visit our Latest News page or the Bakers of Danbury Facebook page.

Barn conversion

Summary = Barn conversion to provide a Grade II Listed luxury home.

Challenge = The original barn was in need of structural and roof repairs.

Solution = Bakers of Danbury carried out a conversion of a Grade II Listed barn to provide a luxury domestic dwelling. The original timber frame was repaired, carefully cleaned and retained.

The bedrooms were constructed on two mezzanine floors at each end of the barn, linked by a contemporary steel and glass walkway accessed by a steel, oak and glass staircase. The works included a hi-tech electronic lighting and sound system and underfloor heating.

To hear more about this and other projects visit our Latest News page or the Bakers of Danbury Facebook page.

Alteration and Restoration Works

Summary = Alteration and restoration works to a Grade II Listed home.

Challenge = Retaining existing structure whilst repairing decayed and damaged roof timbers.

Solution = Bakers recently built a hand-cut oak timber framed extension as well as carrying out other alterations and restoration works to the Grade II Listed Marygolds Barn in Essex. Believed to date back to the late 16th century, Little Loveney Hall lies within a well preserved medieval moat.

Bakers' team of carpenters, bricklayers, plasterers and groundworkers led by Matt Edwards and Terry Barber have carried out extensive internal restoration and alteration works which include new floors and finishes, plastering between the rafters using thermalime, re-pointing to the inglenook fireplace and repair and re-pointing to the central chimney stack, which has three diagonal shafts.

A new Oak timber framed extension was hand-cut, traditionally jointed and assembled on site. It provides a kitchen and dining room extension as well as a first floor bedroom with en-suite.

New heating, plumbing, electricity and lighting systems have been installed. Externally Bakers have carried out timber frame and timber roof repairs which include repairing the main rafter and truss and strengthenning and repair work to the primary beams. Repairs were carried out to the dormers and new sepele sash casement replacement windows were manufactured in Bakers of Danburys Joinery Workshop and installed on site to match the existing. A new render was applied with pargeted panels to match the existing.

To hear more about this and other projects visit our Latest News page or the Bakers of Danbury Facebook page.

Restoration of a Fire Damaged Farmhouse

Summary: Restoration of a fire damaged Grade II Listed farmhouse.

Challenge: Due to extensive fire and smoke damage the home needed internal and external restoration, as well as structural strengthening.

Solution: Bakers of Danbury recently carried out the restoration of a fire damaged Grade II Listed farmhouse. The oak frame was rebuilt to around 60% of the house, using traditional methods. Repairs carried out to the remaining oak frame included oak rafter repairs, joist repairs and structural strengthening to the whole roof.

Peg tiles were salvaged and reused. New peg tiles were introduced to match the original tiles. Traditional Lath & Lime plaster was applied to the walls.

Fire damaged timbers were removed and replaced with green oak using traditional joinery methods. Where possible good quality timber was salvaged.

To hear more about this and other projects visit our Latest News page or the Bakers of Danbury Facebook page.

Renovation and Internal Refurbishment

Summary = Renovation and internal refurbishment together with a new build pool house extension. To ensure the finished home was of the highest quality; the owners also stipulated bespoke high quality joinery and furniture to be installed throughout.

Challenge = This Grade ll Listed seven-bedroom house was in need of a substantial renovation and sympathetic internal refurbishment throughout; including heating and electrical installation, extensive external works and the demolition and rebuild of a new pool house.

Solution = The owners were aware of Bakers of Danbury's reputation for providing high quality craftsmanship and were pleased to find out, not only could Bakers of Danbury design the bespoke joinery and architectural timber work, but also can manufacture everything for the project by using their in-house joinery workshop

In total the team designed, manufactured and installed the following:

  • Internal bespoke fitted wardrobes
  • Internal doors, similar style to the original doors to comply with new fire regulations
  • Two new bespoke staircases with balustrades
  • Sash windows to match those existing and refurbishment of those windows that could be restored
  • Wall panelling to match the existing in the playroom and lounge area
  • Ornate radiator covers
  • In addition to the extensive joinery work, Bakers of Danbury also demolished and re-built the pool house. With new underground drainage, the new pool house now boasts tiled changing rooms throughout, themed lighting and handmade double glazed windows and French doors with fanlights to match the rest of the property.

    Inside the house a beautiful oak floor was salvaged from other rooms within the farm house and re-laid to make an impressive entrance lobby. Elsewhere, the original oak and parquet flooring was brought back to life after being taken up, re-laid, then expertly sanded and finished.

    As a result of the project, the home has truly been brought back to its former glory, with the attention to detail and high quality workmanship shining through. The owners described Bakers of Danbury as being “very professional, skilled and polite”.

    The owners were so impressed with the work carried out, that they asked Bakers of Danbury to return and restore their stable block.

    Westminster Deanery

    Summary = A refurbishment and roofing project at Westminster Deanery, which sits within the grounds of Westminster Abbey.

    Location = Westminster, London

    Challenge = Nationwide Lock down due to the Covid-19 pandemic

    Solution = Works continued safely on site during the Covid-19 lockdown, due to sensible planning and safe working procedures put in place on site. Bakers are currently midway through the £1.8 million refurbishment and roofing project at Westminster Deanery, which sits within the grounds of Westminster Abbey.

  • Westminster Deanery roof works
  • Roof works carried out by Bakers involved stripping the existing roof, recasting original lead and re-leading the roof adjacent to the West Towers of the abbey. The pitched tiled roof area was also stripped, with structural repairs undertaken and then retiled with a mix of reclaimed peg tiles and new handmade tiles . A full overhaul of the rainwater goods is also being undertaken, with refurbished cast iron and lead downpipes, hoppers and chutes. Bakers increased the gradient of the roof (compliant with lead sheet association guidelines).

  • Westminster Deanery refurbishment works
  • The entire deanery including a grand function room are being renovated which includes five bedrooms, a kitchen, utility, dining area and the Dean's study and offices, along with two bathrooms and the addition of one new bathroom. Upgraded electrical and mechanical installations are being completed, along with improvements to insulation wherever possible. Full decoration is also being undertaken externally, including the 15th Century elevation being stripped of many layers of paint to reveal the original brickwork façade underneath.

    A new hardwood doorway and canopy will lead to the refurbished garden, which will be landscaped and have new drainage installed before the Deanery is handed back at the end of this year.

    To hear more about this and other projects visit our Latest News page or the Bakers of Danbury Facebook page.

    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.

    Refurbishment of Spains Hall

  • Summary: Refurbishment of Spains Hall, a Grade I Listed Country home in Finchinfield, Essex including some alterations to the Great Hall to accommodate weddings and functions
  • Value: Approximately £1,500,000
  • Location: Finchingfield, Essex
  • Challenge: The house was in need of substantial restoration and repair, as very little work had been carried out on the house for decades.
  • Solution: Spains Hall is a beautiful Grade I Listed country house circa 1570, incorporating a timber framed medieval house C1400-50.
  • The sympathetic restoration, repair and alterations began in August 2008, during which many hidden original features were enhanced and brought back to their former glory. These features include the jib door, the Tudor well in the floor and the restored flamboyant Victorian wallpapers.

    The house was altered to add new facilities allowing the house to open to the public for the first time for business and hospitality use, including weddings and functions. The rooms which were altered for business and hospitality use included:

    • The porch
    • The Great Hall
    • The large drawing room
    • The dining room
    • The vestibule
    • The south staircase lobby
    • The tapestry bedroom and en-suite
    • A new w/c for disabled and elderly people inc. baby-changing facilities
    • New separate w/c facilities

    The refurbishment of Spains Hall included major restoration works in the Great Hall and remaining rooms. Within the Great Hall repairs were made to the primary beams and the supporting brick walls were strengthened. Where possible, carvings were cut from the decayed beam and fitted onto the new sections.

    Where carvings could not be salvaged, Bakers' in-house joinery workshop hand carved replica carvings. New oak floor joists were introduced, plank flooring installed and substantial wall panel repairs were made within the Great Hall, the large drawing room and the vestibule.

    A new kitchen was installed with large French doors and a fanlight. New bathrooms and en-suites were also installed.

    New mechanical systems, heating, plumbing, electrical power and lighting were sensitively installed as well as Audio Visual systems with speakers hidden within the wall panelling.

    The tapestry bedroom and en-suite were fully restored, to be used by the Bride and Groom for wedding functions.

    A large roof light was installed within the roof of the entrance hall to gain additional light. The small staircase was replaced with a large Georgian style sweeping timber staircase, to create a dramatic and welcoming entrance hall.

    The rear entrance was also remodelled to include a new large panelled entrance door and long side sash windows to let more natural light in.

    The external walls were re-pointed where the pointing had failed. Windows were restored which included stained glass repairs. Roof tile repairs and lead repairs were also carried out. The garden walls were also repaired, and a new opening formed with an arch leading into the formal gardens.

    The refurbishment of Spains Hall was awarded the RICS 2012 National Grand Finalist Award for Building Conservation