Tag Archives: church

Newington Green Meeting House

Summary = Restoration, refurbishment and a new build basement level extension

Value = approximately £1,100,000

Location = Stoke Newington

Architect = Richard Griffiths Architects

Challenge = Limited access and limited space for storing materials

The restoration, refurbishment and a new build basement level extension to Newington Green Meeting House in north London is well underway. The £1.1 million project started February 2019, and is on track to meet the project deadline of February 2020.

Built in 1708 the Grade II listed Newington Green Unitarian Church is one of England's oldest Unitarian churches. It has had strong ties to political radicalism for over 300 years and is known as the “Birthplace of Feminism” due to its connections to activist and writer Mary Wollstonecraft. The Dissenters, a group that campaigned for religious freedom, social reform and the abolition of slavery, also used the Meeting House.

A grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund has given the Meeting House the opportunity to future-proof and preserve its iconic heritage legacy. The project will provide a new visitor centre to enable local schoolchildren, researchers and community groups to make the most of the building’s rich heritage.

Bakers are also restoring the Schoolroom and constructing a basement to accommodate facilities including a meeting room, three w/c, a plantroom and lift shaft going from basement level to the first floor. To construct the basement, Bakers have excavated 4m deep, formed a new steel reinforced slab, carried out underpinning and structural steel works to support the ground floor walls. An underground drainage and tanking system were installed to the basement level as well as a ducting and airflow system.

As part of the restoration works the existing external render will be removed to enable localised brick repair, before new render is applied. Roof repairs will take place and a new roof light installed within the apse roof (a semi-circular recess at the end of the chapel). A new raised entrance ramp and reception area into the chapel will be formed and an extensive AV package installed.

The entrance into church is temporarily at the back of the building whilst works continue. The front of the church is restricted to site access only by using ply hoarding and pedestrian barriers. Internally the work areas are sheeted up and alternative routes made to channel visitors and staff to the site office and segregate works from other areas. There is a separate compound for storing materials and a site office has been located within the limited space available.

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
  • Architect: Kay Pilsbury Thomas Architects Ltd
  • 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

    £1 million refurbishment

    Bakers of Danbury recently completed a £1 million refurbishment project to improve and extend nine alms houses, some of which date back to the 18th century.

    The 18 month project saw nine properties within the Old Square, Colchester, Essex undergo the following improvement works:

    • Demolition of 3 single storey extensions
    • Construction of 3 two storey extensions
    • Reconstruction of 2 existing flat roofs with external patio/balcony
    • Complete new kitchen installation
    • Complete new wet room installation
    • Landscaping to enhance the area - communal gardens and planting areas
    • Substantial internal alterations to improve circulation and space
    • Demolition of old sheds and garden walls
    • Removal of raised walkway and stairs
    • New energy efficiency measures installed
    • Soundproofing
    • efficient and controllable heating
    • enhanced fire precautions
    • Scooter charging facilities

    Former Colchester Mayor, Alderman and farmer, Arthur Winsley, who died in 1726, left much of his property to a new charity to house 12 men who had: “lived well and fallen into decay”. The 81 Winsley’s Alms houses are now home to more than 100 people.

    In line with the Founder’s wishes expressed in his will, every year the Trustees hold a service in Winsley’s chapel and have their annual meeting and dinner on the same day. Acting Trustee Irene Kettle said:

    Our Founder’s legacy is important to us and we are very proud of the history of Winsley’s, but it is essential to remember this is a thriving, friendly community and a place which must grow and improve. In this way, we can ensure the legacy of Arthur Winsley and Others, lives on.

    At a ceremony held in January 2019 at Winsley’s Square, off Old Heath Road the renovated properties were blessed by the Rt Rev Roger Morris, Bishop of Colchester and officially opened by The Mayor & mayoress of Colchester. Residents were invited to take a look around.

    The architect on this project was Nicholas Jacob Architects, and Trustee Andrew Waters led the project.

    The King of Prussia Gold Medal

    Bakers of Danbury are delighted to announce that The King of Prussia Gold Medal was recently awarded for the structural and restoration works carried out to St Peter and St Paul's Church. The Church Architecture Awards 2018 are run by the National Churches Trust and the Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association (EASA).

    Works carried out to the 12th century Grade I Listed church included a 20m long foundation piling, roof repairs and masonry repairs throughout the church.

    Structural movement to the south aisle of the 12th century, Grade I Listed church had caused substantial damage to walls and roof finishes. As a result, a major restoration of the aisle was necessary, with associated masonry works to the tower and re-roofing of the nave and chancel.

    Bakers of Danbury carried out underpinning of the South Aisle to St Peter and St Paul's Church, during which 20m long foundation piles were carefully positioned, so not to disturb any archaeology below ground.

    A new tiled roof was installed to the aisle following timber repairs, along with structural repairs carried out to the south aisle. The nave, chancel and aisle roofs were retiled with a specially selected blend of new handmade tiles to replace the old.

    Bakers also carried out consolidation and pointing of the tower, and fitted new Kent rag stone (supplied by Baker’s sister company Collins and Curtis Masonry Ltd) which replaced damaged stone on the windows, parapet and turret. We also removed a damaging cement covering to the parapet top, and reinstated the original and unique brick copings.

    St Peter & St Paul’s, Stoke

    Summary = Structural and restoration works carried out to St Peter and St Paul's Church, a 12th century Grade I Listed church including 20m long foundation piling, roof and masonry repairs.

    Value = approximately £450,000

    Location = St Peter and St Paul's Church, Upper Stoke, Kent

    Architect = Rena Pitsilli-Graham

    Challenge = Structural movement to the south aisle of the 12th century, Grade I Listed church had caused substantial damage to walls and roof finishes. As a result, a major restoration of the aisle was necessary, with associated masonry works to the tower and re-roofing of the nave and chancel.

    Solution = Bakers of Danbury carried out underpinning of the South Aisle to St Peter and St Paul's Church, during which 20m long foundation piles were carefully positioned, so not to disturb any archaeology below ground.

    A new tiled roof was installed to the aisle following timber repairs, along with structural repairs carried out to the south aisle. The nave, chancel and aisle roofs were retiled with a specially selected blend of new handmade tiles to replace the old.

    Masonry repairs were carried out throughout St Peter and St Paul's Church.

    To the historically important tower, we carried out consolidation and pointing of the masonry and fitted new Kent rag stone (supplied by Baker’s sister company Collins and Curtis Masonry Ltd) which replaced damaged stone on the windows, parapet and turret. We also removed a damaging cement covering to the parapet top, and reinstated the original and unique brick copings.

    A new gleaming weather vane was added to celebrate the reversing of many years of decline and decay.

    Structural and repair works to St Peter and St Paul's Church were awarded The King of Prussia Gold Medal (Highly Commended) in the Church Architecture Awards 2018 (run by the National Churches Trust and the Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association (EASA).

    A Christmas Tree for the Village

    A Christmas Tree for the Village

    Bakers of Danbury Ltd donated a 20 foot Christmas Tree to the village this year to show the company's appreciation to the village for it's support over the 140 years. 2018 marked Bakers of Danbury's 140th anniversary. Bakers have always been based on Eves Corner in Danbury, Essex. Many local men and women have either worked for Bakers or have relatives who worked for Bakers many years ago!

    In 1878 William Baker opened business as a “Millwright, wheelwright, carpenter etc” with only £50 and a horse and loaned cart. William Baker worked on many mills local to Danbury. Although 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. Today the company is very similar with recent projects ranging from the conservation and restoration project in Westminster Abbey completed earlier this year, to the new build of four apartments in Maldon.

    Westminster Abbey

    Summary = Roof works to the medieval South Triforium and the Great Cloister within Westminster Abbey.

    Value = Approximately £1,450,000

    Location = Westminster, London

    Architect = Ptolemy Dean Architects Ltd

    Challenge = Access issues and restrictions due to the main access route into site being through the Great Cloister - a busy area of the Abbey accessible to the public from 9.30am every day.

    Solution = Under the instruction from Ptolemy Dean Architects Ltd (Westminster Abbeys Surveyor of the fabric) Bakers carried out roof works to the medieval South Triforium and the Great Cloister within Westminster Abbey.

    70ft above the Abbey floor, the new gallery provides visitors with magnificent views down over the Abbey buildings and the Palace of Westminster. Roof works carried out by Bakers involved stripping the existing roof, recasting original lead and re-leading part of the South Triforium and part of the Main Cloister.

    A full overhaul of the rainwater goods was also carried out, with a combination of new and refurbished lead downpipes, hoppers and chutes fitted. A new hopper, corbel stone and 22 metre downpipe was introduced, formed to mirror the Christopher Wren era hoppers that were already in use.

    Bakers increased the gradient of the Triforium roof by increasing the fall of the lead bays (compliant with lead sheet association guidelines). Other structural repairs included reinforcing 300-year-old oak primary rafters using a flitch plate repair and other associated structural repairs to the oak roof.

    Other works include the provision of a new access hatch and fall arrest system, stone repairs and indents to internal and external elevations and the careful re-homing of monuments and statues from other parts of the Abbey onto the Triforium floor.

    The new freestanding external access ladder with a handrail was crafted from European Oak. It was a good project for our recently qualified joiner Jack Darvill to work on.

    With the improvements to the rainwater goods, Bakers also undertook the renewal of the below ground drainage within the Great Cloister, which will also included the exciting addition of a fountain positioned in the centre of the Cloister, formed on York Stone paving with a lead cistern fountain.

    Works were completed Spring 2018, in time for the opening of a new museum and gallery, located in the Abbey's medieval Triforium. After being hidden from public over 700 years, the Triforium became “The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Galleries”.

    Jim Vincent, Clerk of the Works at Westminster Abbey said:

    Bakers of Danbury have successfully managed access issues and restrictions whilst carrying out the works at the Abbey. The main access route into site is through the Great Cloister, which is a busy area of the Abbey accessible to the public from 9.30am every day.

    We have found Bakers of Danbury to be considerate of the public and employees of the Abbey and have undertaken the works to the Abbey with the utmost care and attention at all times and look forward to continuing our working relationship with them in the future. The high standard of work is commensurate with the status of the building and is what is expected of contractors working at Westminster Abbey."

    St Swithun’s Church, Great Chishill

    Summary = Conservation and alteration works to St Swithun’s Church, Great Chishill

    Value = approximately £238,000

    Location = Great Chishill, South Cambridgeshire

    Architect = Barker Associates

    Solution = Bakers of Danbury recently carried out conservation and alteration works to St Swithun’s Church in Great Chishill, which involved extensive conservation of the church tower including repointing and replacement of external flint, refurbishment of the clock dials, replacement of the oak belfry louvres and new lightning protection.

    Further works to the base of the tower included the addition of a disabled w/c facility and the provision of new mains water and drainage to the church.

    Alan Titchmarsh Dedicates Fountain

    After recently completing roof works and the renewal of below-ground drainage within the Great Cloister to Westminster Abbey; Chris Norman, Contracts Manager for Bakers of Danbury Ltd, was invited to attend a Dedication Ceremony during which the new Cloister Garth Fountain was dedicated to the famous 18th-century landscape gardener Lancelot “Capability” Brown.

    Positioned in the centre of the Great Cloister to Westminster Abbey, the lead cistern fountain sits over an old monastic well in the garth. It is formed on York Stone paving provided by Bakers of Danbury’s sister company Collins and Curtis Masonry Ltd. The fountain was designed by Ptolemy Dean, the Abbey’s Surveyor of the Fabric with the assistance of TV gardener Alan Titchmarsh, who also attended the dedication and gave reflection.

    The Closter Garth Fountain marks the tercentenary of the birth of landscape gardener Lancelot “Capability” Brown. Known as “England’s greatest gardener”, “Capability” Brown designed over 170 parks and gardens – for many of which water plays a big part in their design. He was nicknamed “Capability” because he used to tell his clients their property had “capability” for improvement. Some of his work can still be admired in Kew Gardens in South West London, Chatsworth House in Derby, Warwick Castle and Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. Later he was Master Gardener at Hampton Court Palace and Richmond.

    The Ceremony took place following the Evensong taken by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall. A week later Alan Titchmarsh attended Westminster Abbey again, this time to meet the Queen during the formal opening of “The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Galleries”, a new museum and gallery located in the Abbey's medieval Triforium.

    70ft above the Abbey floor, the new gallery provides visitors with magnificent views down over the Great Cloister, Abbey buildings and the Palace of Westminster. From the gallery, Alan Titchmarsh showed Queen Elizabeth the new Cloister Garth Fountain.

    The roof works carried out by Bakers which involved stripping the existing roof, recasting original lead and re-leading part of the South Triforium and part of the Main Cloister can also be viewed from The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Galleries.

    Around the sides of the cistern on several panels is a quote from Horace Walpole:

  • WITH ONE LOST PARADISE THE NAME
  • OF OUR FIRST ANCESTOR IS STAINED;
  • BROWN SHALL ENJOY UNSULLIED FAME
  • FOR SO MANY A PARADISE REGAINED.
  • With the inscription:

  • 1716 1783 LANCELOT CAPABILITY BROWN.
  • HE SOUGHT AN IMAGE OF HEAVEN.
  • 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!