Tag Archives: restoration

Church Fire Damage Repair

Summary = St John the Baptist Church in Royston was devastated by a fire. Bakers of Danbury have carried out phase one of works which included securing the structure and stripping the fire damaged materials which were beyond repair. Bakers are currently working on the second phase.

Location = Royston, Hertfordshire

Challenge = National lock down due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Solution = Bakers of Danbury were initially tasked with phase one of works which began May 2019 and involved six weeks stripping all fire damaged material and making the structure safe after it had suffered a devastating fire in the early hours of the 9th December 2018.

The fire which started in the tower devastated the tower and bell ringing chamber and caused significant damage to the medieval nave roof, in particular the west end of the roof. The church also suffered from subsequent water damage as a result of extinguishing the fire, which cause the floor to collapse.

After completing phase one of works, Bakers were awarded phase two of works which began at the fire damaged church in February 2020. Later the following month, due to the nature of the works and the confined working space, the project had to be put on hold during the national lock down due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In May the works resumed with the introduction of social distancing measures, sensible planning and safe working procedures which were implemented by Bakers' SHEQ Manager, Contract Manager and Site Manager for the project.

During phase two, a new tower roof with steel supporting girders was installed and covered in lead. New window reveals (in Clunch) were installed within the tower and repairs were made to the tower internal walls, particularly at the belfry level where it had been seriously damaged by the instense heat. Within the tower a quatrefoil window was replaced with one handcrafted by Bakers' sister company Collins and Curtis Masonry.

Lower down the tower, Bakers repaired the walls by stitching them with large pieces of Clunch. Re-pointing the stonework further restored and strengthened the tower. New copings in Barnack stone were installed to the tower parapet and new ashlar indents were also incorporated.

To the naive roof, which suffered significant damage, Bakers repaired the original inner wall plate and introduced a new outer wall plate to support the rafters. New rafters were installed where the fired had damaged the original ones beyond repair. Those original principal rafters which were salvaged have been repaired and supported by installing large stainless steel brackets (individual brackets weigh 175 kg each).

All timbers have been ice blasted to remove fire and smoke damage, taking particular attention to preserve historical graffiti which although had been damaged by the fire, was still legible. A new lead roof (code 7) will be installed and all rainwater goods will be replaced with cast aluminum.

Ice blast cleaning has been carried out in isolated areas of the church which suffered fire and smoke damage, for example around the windows and doors. Various cleaning trials have been carried out throughout the interior and exterior of the church. Phase 2 of works will be completed to deadline, January 2021. Bakers are working in close collaboration with the Project Quantity Surveyor to monitor overall contract values, variation costs and the final contract sum.

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.

Restoration of Oldest Church Remains

Summary = Restoration of apsidal remains, said to be the oldest church in Britain.

Location = Colchester, Essex

Challenge = The weather was causing erosion to the original core structure of the walls.

Solution = Restoration works have recently been carried out by Bakers of Danbury Ltd, to the remaining stonework belonging to what is said to be the oldest Christian Church in England.

The remains of the Church next to Colchester Police Station in Essex, are believed to date back to AD 320, toward the end of the Roman occupation in Britain. Originally excavated more than 40 years ago, the apsidal remains consist of septarian stone together with reclaimed roman tiles and pamments.

Commissioned by Colchester Borough Council and supported by Colchester Archaeological Trust, Bakers of Danbury’s stonemasons repointed the stone wall foundations with Lime Mortar and restored all visible stonework, using traditional methods which have been handed down generations of the 140-year-old company. Despite the starkness of the pointing against the older, dirtier masonry, Bakers' stonemasons matched the original core mortar as closely as possible.

The recent restoration works will protect the remains for many years to come, by preventing further erosion which can occur when the weather gets into the original core structure of the walls. All oak marker posts which mark the positions of the aisles and partition have been replaced with new.

Philip Wise, Colchester & Ipswich Museums said;

“These works will help to safeguard the future of these important Roman remains for the people of Colchester.”

Although Colchester Archaeological Trust agree the ruins are a “probable Romano-British Church”, the building was associated with two cemeteries one pagan and one Christian, which help support alternative theories around the buildings original use - perhaps later being converted to a Romano-British Church. These theories suggest it may have been originally been a pagan temple, a Roman mithraeum (Roman temple) or a hall for funerary feasts predating AD.320. The remains were awarded Scheduled Monument status by Historic England on 07 October 2020, ref 1470104. For more information visit historicengland.co.uk

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.

Restoration of a Fire Damaged Farmhouse

Summary: Restoration of a fire damaged Grade II Listed farmhouse.

Challenge: Due to extensive fire and smoke damage the home needed internal and external restoration, as well as structural strengthening.

Solution: Bakers of Danbury recently carried out the restoration of a fire damaged Grade II Listed farmhouse. The oak frame was rebuilt to around 60% of the house, using traditional methods. Repairs carried out to the remaining oak frame included oak rafter repairs, joist repairs and structural strengthening to the whole roof.

Peg tiles were salvaged and reused. New peg tiles were introduced to match the original tiles. Traditional Lath & Lime plaster was applied to the walls.

Fire damaged timbers were removed and replaced with green oak using traditional joinery methods. Where possible good quality timber was salvaged.

To hear more about this and other projects visit our Latest News page or the Bakers of Danbury Facebook page.

Westminster Deanery

Summary = A refurbishment and roofing project at Westminster Deanery, which sits within the grounds of Westminster Abbey.

Location = Westminster, London

Challenge = Nationwide Lock down due to the Covid-19 pandemic

Solution = Works continued safely on site during the Covid-19 lockdown, due to sensible planning and safe working procedures put in place on site. Bakers are currently midway through the £1.8 million refurbishment and roofing project at Westminster Deanery, which sits within the grounds of Westminster Abbey.

  • Westminster Deanery roof works
  • Roof works carried out by Bakers involved stripping the existing roof, recasting original lead and re-leading the roof adjacent to the West Towers of the abbey. The pitched tiled roof area was also stripped, with structural repairs undertaken and then retiled with a mix of reclaimed peg tiles and new handmade tiles . A full overhaul of the rainwater goods is also being undertaken, with refurbished cast iron and lead downpipes, hoppers and chutes. Bakers increased the gradient of the roof (compliant with lead sheet association guidelines).

  • Westminster Deanery refurbishment works
  • The entire deanery including a grand function room are being renovated which includes five bedrooms, a kitchen, utility, dining area and the Dean's study and offices, along with two bathrooms and the addition of one new bathroom. Upgraded electrical and mechanical installations are being completed, along with improvements to insulation wherever possible. Full decoration is also being undertaken externally, including the 15th Century elevation being stripped of many layers of paint to reveal the original brickwork façade underneath.

    A new hardwood doorway and canopy will lead to the refurbished garden, which will be landscaped and have new drainage installed before the Deanery is handed back at the end of this year.

    To hear more about this and other projects visit our Latest News page or the Bakers of Danbury Facebook page.

    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.

    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.

    Newington Green Meeting House

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

    Value = approximately £1,100,000

    Location = Stoke Newington

    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.

    An M&E package includes a new heating system with a BMS (building management system), lighting, data, an access control system, CCTV, intruder alarm, fire alarm, small power and ventilation.

    The extensive AV package will enable live streaming of services, a speakers system designed for events and concerts and a projection system.

    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.

    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.

    You can keep up-to-date with other initiatives within Baker's Corporate Social Responsibility Programme, which we set up to help support both our local community and the communities in which we work by visiting our Corporate Social Responsibility page or by liking our Facebook page!

    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

    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 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."

    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.