Tag Archives: restoration

Sawston Village College

Summary = Roof works and internal decoration to two college buildings

Location = Cambridgeshire

Architect = PCH Associates

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

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.

Westminster School Extension

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

Architect = Ptolemy Dean Architects Ltd

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.

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."

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!

    Listed Heritage Magazine – Westminster Abbey

    We are delighted that Listed Heritage Magazine has featured a two page article on our works to Westminster Abbey.

    Under the instruction from Ptolemy Dean Architects Ltd (Westminster Abbey’s Surveyor of the Fabric) we are carrying out restoration and repair works to the roof of the medieval South Triforium and the Great Cloister within Westminster Abbey.

    The roof works will be completed in time for the opening of a new museum and gallery, located in the Abbey's medieval Triforium, due to open later this year. After being hidden from public over 700 years, the Triforium will become “The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Galleries”.

    Westminster Abbey

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

    The roof works will be completed in time for the opening of a new museum and gallery, located in the Abbey's medieval Triforium, next year. After being hidden from public over 700 years, the Triforium will become “The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Galleries”.

    70ft above the Abbey floor, the new gallery will provide visitors with magnificent views down over the Abbey buildings and the Palace of Westminster. Roof works carried out by Bakers involve 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 is also being carried out, with a combination of new and refurbished lead downpipes, hoppers and chutes being fitted. A new hopper, corbel stone and 22 metre downpipe has been introduced, formed to mirror the Christopher Wren era hoppers that are already in use.

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

    Other works include careful rehoming of monuments and statues from other parts of the Abbey onto the Triforium floor.

    With the improvements to the rainwater goods, Bakers will undertake the renewal of the below ground drainage within the Great Cloister, which will also include the exciting addition of a fountain to be positioned in the centre of the Cloister, formed on York Stone paving with a lead cistern fountain. These works will continue into Spring 2018.

    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."

    Listed Heritage Magazine

    We are delighted that Listed Heritage Magazine has featured a four page article on our works to The Charterhouse.

    Having been hidden from view and closed to public for over 650 years - the Charterhouse, a historic London landmark was recently opened to public by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh (28 February 2017). The Queen also unveiled a plaque to mark the occasion.

    In recent months Charterhouse underwent a large conservation, restoration and alteration project “Revealing the Charterhouse”, which included remodelling of the Grade I listed building to house a new museum and learning centre; which explores the history of the Charterhouse from the Black Death to present day.

    The recently completed £4 million project, “Revealing the Charterhouse” was funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund and other generous supporters. The project aimed to share the Charterhouse heritage with public, as well as conserve and restore the Charterhouse itself, including the Chapel and the Charterhouse Square, to which the Charterhouse buildings surround part of.

    To ensure that the whole project was carried out to the highest standard, Bakers of Danbury were appointed Principal Contractors. With over 135 years of traditional craftsmanship handed down through generations, Bakers of Danbury have long been associated with the regions fine historic monuments and buildings. Bakers of Danbury’s previous experience of working on the Charterhouse include mechanical and engineering with associated sensitive builders works and conservation works.