Value = £2,100,000
Location = London, EC1M 6AN
Summary = Having been hidden from view and closed to public for over 650 years - the Charterhouse, a historic London landmark recently underwent extensive remodelling and conservation before being formerly opened to public by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh on 28th February 2017.
Challenge = The large conservation, restoration and alteration project “Revealing the Charterhouse” included remodelling of the Grade I listed building to house a new museum, learning centre, cafe, reception area and public toilets, as well as conservation and restoration works to the external fabric of Charterhouse Chapel and the re-design of Charterhouse Square.
Works took place whilst paying careful consideration to the Brothers who reside at the Charterhouse.
Solution = The recently completed £4 million project, “Revealing the Charterhouse” was funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund and other generous supporters. To ensure that the project was carried out to the highest standard, Bakers of Danbury were appointed Principal Contractors.
Ann Kenrick OBE, Master, the Charterhouse said:
“We are hugely grateful for the works carried out by Bakers of Danbury and for their unwavering dedication to the Revealing the Charterhouse project. The skilled craftsmen from Bakers work to an extremely high standard producing a finish which has exceeded all of our expectations. They were a pleasure to work with, always keeping to their word, and we couldn’t be happier with their overall approach and diligence.
I would recommend Bakers of Danbury to anyone."
REVEALING THE CHARTERHOUSE
The project “Revealing the Charterhouse” not only opens the Charterhouse to the general public, but as depicted by its name, has made the historic gem visible to passers-by, who otherwise may not have noticed the beautiful medieval buildings partially hiding behind a hedgerow. Bakers of Danbury replaced the hedges with new landscaping including entrance gates with the motto in old French “virtue is the only nobility”.
As a result of the new landscaping, as you approach Chapel Court (the entrance to Charterhouse) a beautiful path constructed of Scoutmoor Yorkstone will lead you through the entrance gates to the museum entrance - but before you proceed through the gates, at your feet you will find a feature stone with a brass inlay outlining the original footprint of the monastery.
Chosen for its durability; the slabs of the Scoutmoor Yorkstone pathway measure as large as 1500mm x 1500mm. Before the 63mm thick Yorkstone path could be laid, trial holes were made to Chapel Court and inspected by the Museum of London Archaeology team. To keep excavation to a minimum, the path was laid on a raised reinforced concrete base.
As you enter Chapel Court through the entrance gates, you will find a cast bronze model of the existing Charterhouse buildings. After the model was cast, it was sent away for patination – a decorative technique in which chemical solutions are applied to react with the surface, to provide a thin layer of coloured corrosion which gives an antique appearance.
The new landscaping to Chapel Court depicts the footprint of the original Chapel walls which was built in 1349 for the victims of the Black Death. It also gives pride of place to the new memorial of Sir Walter Manny – the monastery’s principle founder. The memorial marks the final resting place of Sir Walter Manny and is constructed of a beautiful Travertine tombstone, with base, plinth and eased arrises also of Travertine stone. On it is carved Sir Walter Manny, Died 1372.
As part of the project, Bakers of Danbury carried out conservation and restoration works to the external fabric of the Chapel visible from Chapel Court. The extensive fabric repairs include stone cleaning and lime mortar repointing to the whole chapel and tower, as well as the traditional method of shelter coating to help preserve the softer friable stone. Where necessary Kentish Ragstone and Elm Park Bath stone supplied by Bakers of Danbury’s sister company Collins and Curtis Masonry sympathetically replaced stone which was beyond repair.
THE MUSEUM AND LEARNING CENTRE
The new reception area and learning centre are of a contemporary design with European Oak panelling and a painted plaster finish. A breathable silicate paint was used on existing solid walls, to prevent any moisture in the walls from causing ‘blistering’ and ‘bubbling’ of the paint.
As you enter the new reception area you will notice the impressive coffered ceiling, with indirect lighting within octagon recesses, which continues through the learning centre. The octagon coffered ceiling was designed to echo the octagon recess detail on the Chapel ceiling.
Bakers of Danbury carried out the base build for the new museum including climate control and secondary glazing. Bakers also relocated the sculpture representing Faith, Hope and Charity, to its new location looking over the museum.
As part of the project, Charterhouse Square was re-designed, inspired by its 18th century layout - this included the installation of gas lamps, a new pavilion, new benches and the refurbishment of the Grade II listed entrance gates and railings surrounding the square. The square has also been increased in size, by removing parking bays.