Tag Archives: conservation

Architectural Awards 2022

We are delighted to announce that the extension and redevelopment project Bakers of Danbury carried out on Westminster School has won the Diaphoros Prize at the Architectural Awards 2022 which is held every year by the Georgian Group.

To read about the extension Bakers of Danbury built at Westminster School click here.

The Georgian Group said;

The redevelopment of the Adrian Boult building by Ptolemy Dean Architects was the final stage of a 20-year-long project to repair and reorder Westminster School’s historic campus. The building stands on the site of the former great kitchen that in the Middle Ages served the refectory of Westminster Abbey. This monastic building had long since been lost and the site encumbered by various 20th century buildings and additions that also compromised the adjoining Ashburnham House, one of the finest late 17th century houses to survive in the capital. Thoughtful and patient redevelopment, however, has enabled a number of wider improvements. The lower floor level of Ashburnham House, for example, has been restored, avoiding stepped access. At the same time, the remains of the monastic kitchen exposed by archaeological excavation before construction began, have been left visible through glass floors. The new building was intended to have a polite but modest 18th century personality. It’s built of red brick with its main facade articulated by arches. There is a mansard roof of salvaged pan tiles, and an oval roof lantern inspired by that over the top-lit staircase of Ashburnham House. This is a model of sensitive and contextual design in a highly sensitive place."

To find out more about the Georgian Group Architectural Awards 2022 click here.

DAC Design Awards 2022

We are delighted to announce that two of Bakers' recent projects have been awarded at the DAC Design Awards 2022. The redecoration project at St Bartholomew Church in Wickham Bishops received Highly Commended, and the recent new build extension to St Mary's Church in Wivenhoe received a Commended award.

To find out more about the DAC Design Awards 2022click here.

Repairs to Bourn Windmill

Summary = Timber repairs to Bourn Windmill - the oldest windmill in the UK

Location = Caxton, Cambridge

Repairs to Bourn Windmill = This open trestle post mill is the oldest surviving windmill in the UK, and is Grade I Listed and designated an Ancient Monument. The entire weight of this windmill is supported on a central post, which is supported by a trestle. We have raised the buck by approx. 100mm clear of the main post to carry out urgent repairs to the timber trestle.

Repairs to Bourn Windmill include installing replacement trestles constructed from air dried oak (minimum 4 yeas fallen). A traditional joint will be formed by hand and held in place with iron brackets & rods. Bakers will construct four replacement brick piers) which will need to cure for 28 days before any loading is placed on them.

How Trestle Post Mills Work

The post mill is the earliest type of European windmill. It's defining feature is that the whole body of the mill that houses the machinery is mounted on a single vertical post, around which it can be turned to bring the sails into the wind. It takes around two or three people to turn the mill around to bring the sails into the wind, and although it is a dramatic job it is fairly easy to do so. All post mills have an arm projecting from them on the side opposite the sails and reaching down to near ground level.

Bourn Mill Project Tours

The mill is currently closed whilst repair works are being carried out to the rotted timber trestle - however the general public enjoyed seeing the work in action during two project tours which took place in July and August 2022.

History of Bourn Windmill

The earliest written record of Bourn Mill was made in 1636. This style of mill has barely been changed since the 13th century. In 2021, scientists attempted to age the timbers in the mill and concluded that the tree that provided the huge timber for the main post in the mill was cut down during 1513-49, making it the oldest wood in any mill in the UK. Various structures and parts on the mill were replaced over the centuries as they wore out or rotted. The machinery dates from the 19th century and the trestle was renewed using oak in 1874.

Save Bourn Mill

Works to the save the mill are being supported by significant grants from the Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England. To find out more about the Save Bourn Windmill Appeal click here.

Church Redecoration

Summary = Church redecoration and repair to St Bartholomew Church in Wickham Bishops

Location = Wickham Bishops, Essex

Awards = DAC Design Awards Scheme 2022 (Highly Commended)

Solution = Bakers recently carried out the ornate decoration of the church to St Bartholomew in Wickham Bishops.

St Bartholomew’s is Grade II listed and is a fine example of Victorian Gothic church architecture.  The church was built in 1850 by Sarah Leigh in memory of her father, the Reverend. Thomas Leigh who was Rector from 1803 to 1843.  The church was designed by Ewin Christian and is built of Kentish Ragstone and Caen stone. It replaces the redundant St Peter’s church to the west, over the disused railway line. The 120 foot high spire is a local landmark visible from the A12.

This project won Highly Commended at the DAC Design Awards Scheme 2022

Bourn Windmill Project Tour

The public were given the opportunity to see and learn about the major conservation and restoration work being carried out by Bakers of Danbury, to save Bourn Windmill. The open trestle post mill is oldest surviving windmill in the UK, Grade I Listed and designated an Ancient Monument. The entire weight of the body is supported on a central post, which is then supported by a trestle. The sails of the mill have to face squarely into the wind and to achieve this the entire mill is rotated around the central post. The mill is currently closed because the supporting beams have rotted - however work to save the mill is underway and the general public enjoyed seeing the work in action during to project tours which took place in July and August.

Works to the save the mill are being supported by significant grants from the Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England.

To find out more about the Save Bourn Windmill Appeal click here.

Church Extension

Summary: Construction of a new new extension to provide the church with a new meeting area, kitchenette and an accessible WC

Location: Helion Bumpstead

Value: £245,000

Bakers of Danbury are currently building an extension to St Andrews Church in Helions Bumpstead. The extension will provide the parishioners with a new meeting area, kitchenette and an accessible WC. Constructed from a block inner skin with a handmade imperial red brick outer skin, the extension is being built on a 0.6m deep footing. Although due to being on a slope, in areas the footprint of the extension was excavated 1.2m below the existing ground level, which was all carried out with an archaeological watching brief. Once the footprint had been dug, it was covered with a sand intervention layer which helps prevent any further deterioration of the medieval graves which had been partially uncovered. A 0.25m air gap was left between the sand layer and a block and beam floor.

As the extension is partially below ground level a tanking system was installed to the outer brick and inner walls. The bespoke roof was constructed from oak trusses and covered in Cwt-y-Bugail Welsh slate. Water services were run into the church using new MDPE barrier pipe (to prevent contamination) and the power supply was upgraded. Underfloor heating and wall radiators were installed to the extension. The windows to the new extension were constructed of new steel framed casements, within bespoke oak frames produced by our own joinery department. The steel windows have the thinnest sight lines in the industry, thanks in part to the fact they are filled with Krypton, a very dense and highly energy efficient gas, perfect for listed buildings.

Bakers’ joinery workshop also manufactured two external oak doors and an arch headed door in oak to access the new extension from the church.

Take a look at our short film on woodcarving


Church Structural Repairs

Summary: Bakers of Danbury recently carried our structural repairs, underpinning to the South and North elevations of the Nave to St Marys Church in Mundon, Essex

Location: Mundon, Essex

Value: £286,000

St Marys Church in Mundon is a grade I Listed monument, owned by Friends of Friendless Churches, who describe it as a church that needs a lot of care with unstable ground. Friends of Friendless Churches carried out the latest monitoring technology to understand how, why and when the church is moving.

With the help from a grant, the Friends of Friendless Churches instructed Bakers of Danbury to carry out underpinning to the South and North elevations of the Nave to structurally support the church.

The method of underpinning was determined by the assigned surveyor, and piling drilled at calculated intervals along the interior and exterior of the walls. Sections were dug in intervals under the walls. Reinforcing cages were run through the dug intervals (under the walls), to the inner piles and along the exterior of the walls, interlocking with the drilled piling. The reinforcing cages were covered with cordek heaveguard to the sides and cordek cellcore to the underside. Cordek heaveguard and cellcore are designed to protect ground beams and pile caps from the effects of ground heave. Overtime it disintegrates leaving a void/ air pocket which enables the clay soils space to swell when wet. As soil cannot expand downwards or sideways, the exposed upper surface of the soil will rise up - the void/air pocket will allow this movement without causing heave pressure to the new underpinning structure, and the building it is supporting.

Where internal piling was to take place, Bakers lifted the existing tile pamments from the floor and returned them after works had taken place. Damaged tiles were replaced with new Bulmer handmade clay pamments to match the existing.

A grave slab was revealed when two stone slabs were removed inside the church (south east side) in preparation for drilling a pile. The hole was enlarged to reveal the 15th century grave slab, which would have originally been level with the floor (the floor level has been raised in the 19th century). On the slab indents can be interpreted as a vertical human figure, with a horizontal band below it which would have had an inscription. Pins were visible which were used to fix brasses in place.

Externally a door which had previously been blocked and rendered was rebricked up and a new breathable render applied in addition to areas with damaged render. To the east window Bakers of Danbury replace a tile fillet with a stone sill in Portland limestone.

Bakers removed failing plaster on the ceiling and made repairs before painting it in soft distemper, a breathable paint. The walls were not redecorated as they contain many paintings directly on the walls which include Fragments of medieval murals depicting East Anglian King Edmund (841-869) and a Baroque trompe l’oeil mural over the east window showing tassels and heavy curtains being drawn aside.

After works were completed the rare Georgian box pews were put back in places.

Take a look at our short film on woodcarving


Restoration of a Farmhouse

Summary: Restoration of a farmhouse which included two small extensions together with various alterations and a complete redecoration throughout.

Location: Essex

Bakers of Danbury have recently completed a 28 week restoration project at a farmhouse, during which Bakers built two small extensions together with various alterations and a complete redecoration throughout. Internal alterations within the existing house have opened the living space up, to make it lighter and more convenient for day to day living.

To strengthen the property, Bakers carried out repairs to the timber frame which included sole plate repairs made in green oak and brick plinth repairs. Some parts of the house were re-rendered in lime plaster.

The new hand cut timber frame extensions have extended both the kitchen and utility room. In keeping with the existing house; externally the new extensions were covered in weather boarding to the lower level and lime plaster to the upper level. All rooms are being completely renovated with new electrics and central heating systems installed throughout. The family bathroom and two en suites were completely refurbished with new bathroom furniture and tiling installed.

Together with a full redecoration, all existing beams were cleaned using the dry ice blasting method and the existing lath and plaster infills were either repaired or replaced. New floors were laid throughout, which included a mixture of natural stone and engineered hardwood flooring.

Bakers of Danbury’s joinery workshop manufactured bespoke doors, windows and fitted furniture. External landscaping and drainage works were carried out

Take a look at our short film on woodcarving


Refurbishment and Extension to a Farmhouse

Summary: Bakers recently completed a refurbishment and extension to a listed timber frame farmhouse in Brentwood, which partly dates back to the 16th century.

Location: Near Brentwood, Essex

The full refurbishment of the farmhouse included removing the decayed sole plate and spalled damaged brick plinth. New foundations and brick plinth were constructed, a new mortised sole plate was fitted, with newly formed tenons on the existing oak posts and studs.

The whole farmhouse was decorated and the existing exposed timber beams, posts and studs within the farmhouse were cleaned. All three bathrooms were refurbished and limestone flooring laid. A new mechanical and electrical overhaul was carried out which included lighting, heating and plumbing systems. Two new extensions were constructed in traditional timber frame. They provide a kitchen and a utility cloakroom, both in keeping with the original house.

The whole farmhouse was re-rendered in breathable lime mortar with a brick plinth. Bakers have carried out a soft and hard landscaping scheme with external lighting, a summer house and pergolas.

Within the farmhouse Bakers refurbished a late 16th century/ early 17th century style double thickness door which was originally the front door. Bakers' joiners applied vertical battens and reinforced wrought iron pintle hinges with spoon terminals, there is an authentic wooden pull handle and rebate for a box lock that has been removed and the keyhole covered with tin plate. The slide bolts are original.

Bakers also carried out the conservation on some biblical text which is located over the first floor fire place. The text has been transcribed by Murial Carrick (who attempted to fill in the missing sections using the 1607 editi and purge your hears ye wavering mynded: suffer afflictions sorrow on of the Geneva Bible (which she acknowledges is not the text used).

Her transcription is as follows (with additions in backets):

(submit yourself to God) and resist the devyll and he will flye from you: drawe nye to God and he will (draw neere to you. Cleanse your hands ye) synners: and purge your hearts ye wavering mynded: Suffre afflictions sorow (ye, and weep: let your laughter bee) turned to mourning and your joye to heaviness: cast downe youre selves before the Lord (and he will lift you up) iiii Go now ye that say to day and tomorrow let us into suche a citeand continue (there a yeare. And buy and sell.) and get gaine and yet cannot tell what shalt happen tomorrow: for what thingies (your life. It is even a vapour that) appeared for a little time and afterward vanished away: for that ye out to say. (If the Lord will. And if we live we will) do this or that but now rejoice in your holiness all such ..rejoicing is evil (therefore. To him that) knoweth how to (doe well and doeth it not) to both soule....Knowledge also be.

Take a look at our short film on woodcarving


Structural Repairs to a Rectory

Summary = Structural repairs to a Rectory

Location = Tolleshunt Knights, Essex

Bakers recently carried out structural repairs to a Rectory in Tolleshunt Knights for the Community of St John the Baptist. The flank wall was removed and two existing walls underpinned due to subsidence.

Temporary support for the structure was designed by an independent engineer using props, scaffold and timbers. Once the structure was supported from the ground floor to the roof level; two walls were removed, 3 meter foundations constructed and the walls were reconstructed using the salvaged brick (which had been consecrated many years prior), supplemented with new bricks to match existing. To underpin two existing walls, a trench was opened and pins were formed, ensuring it was supported at all times.

Bakers protected and removed the religious artifacts, fittings and furniture before the flank wall was removed. Those rooms affected were later plastered, redecorated and all services were made good. All external walls were re-rendered and a mosaic mural created by Sister Gabriella was inset within the render

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.