Tag Archives: Chelmsford

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

    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.

    Remembrance Day 2019

    In time for Remembrance Sunday and Remembrance Day yesterday, Chelmsford City Council commissioned Bakers of Danbury Ltd to carry out a complete restoration to Chelmsford War Memorial, which sits to the front (north) of the Civic Centre. Restoration work started Monday 4th and was completed Thursday 7th November.

    We first erected a large scaffold and monarflex sheeting around the memorial to protect the pedestrian footpath and passersby from overspray when cleaning the Portland stone, provide the Stonemasons with access to the full height of the memorial and also to prevent unauthorised access. Our Stonemasons carried out a Doff Clean which uses pressurised steam and also re-pointed the Portland stone cenotaph, square plinth and stepped base.

    Nick Eveleigh, Chief Executive of Chelmsford City Council, said;

    The Council is fully committed to restoring War Memorials in its care that honour people who have laid down their lives for this country.”

    Chelmsford War Memorial was erected 1923, originally dedicated to those men of Chelmsford killed on military service in the First World. It was later dedicated to all those people of Chelmsford, both military personnel and civilians, who died during the Second World War. The north face of the plinth is inscribed with

    TO THE MEN OF CHELMSFORD WHO FELL IN THE GREAT WAR/1914-1918", the east face with "AND TO ALL CITIZENS WHO FELL IN THE WORLD WAR 1939-1945" and the south face with "OUR GLORIOUS DEAD".

    If you would like to find out more about Chelmsford War Memorial and the men and women the memorial id dedicated to visit www.chelmsfordwarmemorial.co.uk.

    Chelmsford High School for Girls

    Summary = Enabling works to Chelmsford County High School for Girls ahead of the construction of a new Sports Hall and teaching block, which will include additional science facilities

    Location = Chelmsford, Essex

    Challenge = Removal of an existing building in a live school

    Solution = Enabling works to Chelmsford County High School for Girls which included the following:

  • Removal of the existing building called Bancroft and infilling the site
  • Division of existing services from Bancroft, in order to keep the swimming pool and all other blocks operational
  • Clearance and re-levelling of work site, including embankment adjacent to science block
  • Sawston Village College

    Summary = Roof works and internal decoration to two college buildings

    Location = Cambridgeshire

    Challenge = The Grade II Listed buildings had to be protected from the weather whilst the roofs were stripped and replaced

    Solution = The project was divided into two phases and temporary roofs protected the Grade II Listed Henry Morris building during Phase one and the North Wing during Phase two of works.

    Phase one of works to Sawston Village College, an academy school founded in 1930, began April 2019. Works involved the installation of the temporary roof whilst the stripping and re-roofing of the Grade II Listed Henry Morris building took place. The existing pantiles were re-laid to the front elevation of the building and new handmade pantiles were installed to the back.

    Below the roof, the deteriorating lath and plaster ceiling to the main hall was replaced with new, which included the installation of new laths, scratch coat and a finish of thermalime plaster previously approved by the Conservation Officer. Existing facia boards were replaced and the cast iron gutters and downpipes were thoroughly sanded back to metal and painted. The bell tower underwent extensive repairs to the leaded lights, structural timber and boarding.

    The second phase of works included roof works to the North Wing of the College, similar to the roof works to the Henry Morris building. All roof works and internal decoration was completed in time to hand back to the College for the new Academic New Year.

    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 £1,500,000

    Location: London Borough of Havering

    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.

    Extension to Grade II Listed Property

    Summary = A new build double storey extension which consisted of a garden room, dining room and first floor bedroom with en-suite.

    Value = £150,000

    Challenge = The extension had to constructed sensitively, to ensure its in keeping with the existing grade II Listed property.

    Solution = Bakers worked closely with the property owner throughout the build, to ensure they take part in all decision making. The extension was constructed to a high specification, with cornice designed to match the existing and new box frame sashes and french doors handmade in house by the Bakers’ Joinery workshop. Ashlar lines were applied to the exterior render to match the exterior of the existing property.

    The property was occupied whilst all works were carried out. To minimise disruption to the household; the extension was constructed, with the breakthrough to the existing house being carried out towards the end of the project.

    The owners were so impressed with the work carried out, they asked Bakers to return to repair their storm damaged barn. Works to the barn are due to complete later this year.

    Kitchen/ family room extension

    Value = £150,000

    Location = Woodford, London

    Summary = Single storey extension to a Victorian period property consisting of a large kitchen / family room, utility room, downstairs shower and w/c.

    Challenge = The property remained occupied whilst all works were carried out.

    Solution = As the extension was for a new kitchen / family room; bakers provided the client with a temporary kitchen to use during works, until the new kitchen was installed and final breakthrough into the house completed.

    Trusses were supported on steel flitch plates to create a large open plan kitchen and family living area, with vaulted ceilings, exposed truss tie beams and floor to ceiling length windows to the rear, to enjoy views of the large garden. The shower room was tiled with traditional Victorian tiles to the floor and walls. The rest of the kitchen family room extension is tiled with natural stone floor tiles. The terrace is paved, with vertical sleepers to retain ground levels.

    Chelmsford Cathedral

    Summary = Replacement of sand cast lead roof, including structural roof timber repairs, masonry works, internal plastering and redecoration to the Victorian Song School, Chelmsford Cathedral

    Value = approximately £200,000

    Location = Chelmsford Cathedral

    Challenge = Works carried out to a very high standard of craftsmanship despite the inherent difficulties of working at a busy Cathedral with regular events requiring noise restrictions. Complex detailing of the new roof structure constructed over the existing roof trusses.

    Solution = The church department have spent the summer of 2017 removing the existing lead and boarding to the Victorian Song School roof structure which over the years had been sagging due to its poor construction methods.

    As it is part of a Grade I Listed building, the remit for the scheduled works was to construct a new steel roof frame over the existing timber structure below, which then had to be connected to hold the existing timbers in their current position. Once we had secured this in place it then received a complete new timber structure over the top, which was topped off with new lead. Internally new lath and plaster adorns the ceiling.

    This project involved Intensive site management and close liaison with Cathedral staff and project team.

    Looking at the job now, before and after doesn’t look like we have done anything, which is always a good sign with a restoration project!