Tag Archives: heritage craftsmen

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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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Repair of Cedar Shingle Roof

Summary: Tower repairs including repointing to the round tower, re-shingling the spire roof and refurbishing and reinstating the weathervane.

Location: Broomfield, Essex

Value: £140,000

The octagonal spire roof, which is covered with cedar shingles has suffered extensive damage caused by woodpeckers pecking holes in the shingle roof. Bakers will first remove the softwood cedar shingles from the roof structure to allow the architect and structural engineer to review the battens and substructure. There is expected to be a minimal number of structural repairs needed before the spire roof is covered in hand split Oak shakes on pre-treated softwood battens, with new stainless-steel soakers.

The woodpeckers will be deterred from damaging the new spire roof, firstly because by replacing the shingles it will ensure any insects the woodpeckers were drilling for are removed. Secondly, the new oak shakes will be free from all visual traces of former pecking sites which make woodpeckers more likely to return. The new shakes will be constructed from oak which is a hardwood and will have strips of stainless steel behind them, as the sound vibrating off of them will help deter the woodpeckers.

The round tower is of significant importance due to its round shape. It is constructed from coursed flint and ferruginous conglomerate with roman bricks and quoins and houses six bells, just below eves level supported in a steel frame. Bakers of Danbury will be repointing around 60% of the tower as the existing lime mortar pointing (which includes a very coarse aggregate) is failing at parts. The new pointing will also be of a breathable lime mortar with crushed shell.

Bakers of Danbury will also refurbish and reinstate the weathervane. It will be cleaned, a primer applied, and regilded with 24 carat gold leaf. A traditional sand cast lead cap/ weathering will be designed and installed to the weathervane.

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Westminster Abbey Infirmary

Summary: Refurbishment and alterations to Westminster Abbey Infirmary

Location: Westminster, London

Challenge: Access to this part of Westminster Abbey is restricted

Solution: Bakers of Danbury carried out refurbishment and alterations to Westminster Abbey Infirmary providing a galleried area around the room, accessed via a new oak staircase and balustrade manufactured in Bakers specialist joinery workshop. Bakers also manufactured and installed bespoke hand-crafted fitted cupboards and kitchenette which seamlessly filled the space beneath the new gallery level. Masonry and glazing repairs were also carried out.

When working at Westminster Abbey it is important to have continuous liaison with the Clerk of Works to work together and overcome access issues and restrictions. All staff wore a security tab which gave them access to the restricted areas they needed to access. All other areas were strictly prohibited. During special events, such as when HRH Queen Elizabeth visited, the works onsite had to stop. During such times, our Site Manager had to liaise closely with the Clerk of Works and Security.

Take a look at our short film on woodcarving

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