Tag Archives: stone masons

Church Extension, Essex

Summary = Bakers recently built a new extension to St Marys church which sits separate to the rest of the church, with entrance, to provide a separate community room and facilities.

Location = Essex

Dates = January 2021 to August 2021

Value = £450,000

Solution = In 2021 Bakers completed this new build church extension which provides a new community room with kitchen area and two w/c.

The annexe extension to the South side of the church was constructed from brick, part steel, part glulam timber with stone quoins, parapets and detailing around the windows. It is on a shallow reinforced concrete ground bearing slab to protect the existing archaeology.

The feature glass panelled roof to the church side of the new extension allows sunlight to shine through the roof and into the existing church windows, ensuring the new extension does not block out any natural sunlight from the existing church.

In addition to the church extension, Bakers of Danbury also re-ordered the nave. The remodelling of the main seating area of the church has created a bright, open space, with new flooring and light-weight chairs. This will allow for so much more flexibility for various forms of worship and for weddings, funerals and christenings. It will also significantly extend its use for large community events such as concerts, plays and exhibitions and for smaller, social activities such as quiz nights. An important decision was taken to leave the Chancel – the area around the Altar – untouched. All of the pews with their beautiful carvings therefore remain in this area.

Conservation of a Former Library

Summary = Bakers recently carried out the repair and conservation to the Grade II Listed former library on Mill Road, Cambridge

Location = Cambridge

Challenge = The biggest challenge was replacing the rotten clerestory windows and posts to the vaulted ceiling

Solution = Bakers of Danbury recently completed works to the Former Library on Mill Road, Cambridge to repair, conserve and restore the historic fabric of the Victorian Grade II listed building. The building had been vacant for several years and was at risk, due to extensive damp caused by a failing rainwater system, poor ventilation and lack of regular maintenance.

The new rainwater goods installed were designed and adapted by the architect to address the increased rainwater capacity due to climate change. Defective plaster was removed and renewed with a breathable lime render.

Whilst supporting the existing roof, Bakers carefully removed the clerestory windows and repaired the timber posts and oak sills onsite. The clerestory windows were repaired and repainted at Baker's joinery workshop in Danbury, before being returned to site, reinstalled and fitted with a new automated opening system operated both manually and via thermostatic control to provide natural ventilation.

External works included brick and stone repairs, renewal and consolidation; and replacement lead roofing. Once on site, additional items were identified needing urgent attention – these included hidden steels within the roof structure; lath and plaster ceiling to the barrel vault; stabilisation of external stone and brick and repairs at high level to the parapet.

The central roof lantern was restored, including structural timber repair, renewal of the lead and timber repairs and redecoration to the windows.

Former Mill Road Library was Commended in the Greater Cambridge Design and Construction Awards 2022.

Images: Damian Griffiths

Greater Cambridge Design and Construction Awards

We are delighted to announce that our recent project at the Former Mill Road Library in Cambridge has received Commended for Best Conservation, Alteration, or Extension of an Existing Building (under £2m construction cost) at the Greater Cambridge Design and Construction Awards.

Images: Damian Griffiths

Highly Commended: The King of Prussia Award 2021

We are delighted to announce that our recent conservation and repair project on the west façade of St Leonard's Church in Shoreditch has received The King of Prussia, Highly Commended at the prestigious EASA & National Churches Trust UK Church Architecture Awards.

The award was presented by Nicholas Von Preussen, Prince Nicholas of Prussia. It was collected by Sarah Khan, Partner at Roger Mears Architects and Adrian Ward Contract Manager for Bakers of Danbury Limited.

To read about the conservation and repair works to St Leonard’s Church which included the repair and strengthening of the front portico click here.

Shortlisted: The King of Prussia Gold Medal

We are delighted to announce that our recent conservation and repair project on the west façade of St Leonard's Church in Shoreditch has been shortlisted for the prestigious EASA & National Churches Trust The King of Prussia Gold Medal. The project was recently Commended in the Heritage and Restoration Category of the Hackney Design Awards 2020.

The judges for Hackney Design Awards said;

“The careful and conservative repair to the west façade of this Grade I listed church is highly commended by the judge as a great example of the “touch lightly” approach to historic building conservation.”

It was reported that the judges were impressed by the amount of original material that the project team were able to retain by their painstaking process or investigation and design of repairs.

To read about the conservation and repair works to St Leonard’s Church which included the repair and strengthening of the front portico click here.

The EASA and National Churches Trust The King of Prussia Gold Medal is due to be announced at the beginning of November 2021

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St Leonard’s Church, Shoreditch

Summary = Conservation and repair works to St Leonard’s Church, Shoreditch which included the repair and strengthening of the front portico, steeple and clocks.

Location = Shoreditch, London.

Challenge = Victorian alterations has compromised the church's structural integrity.

Solution = St Leonard's Church in Shoreditch is a Grade I listed church constructed in brick with a Portland stone façade and dressings, and slate roofs. Built in 1740, it is one of the oldest buildings in Shoreditch and is well known for its tall steeple.

Alterations made to the church by the Victorians left its structural integrity compromised. The church also suffered war damage and later was placed on the Historic England's Heritage at Risk Register. Since the 1990’s various works have been carried out to rebuild the church closer to its original form and rectify problems caused by Victorian alterations and war damage.

In 2016 Bakers installed a new slate roof to the north and south aisles and nave. Roof works included carpentry repairs, repairs and replacement of the cast iron rainwater goods, leadwork, masonry repairs and redecoration.

In 2019 Bakers carried out further conservation and repair works to St Leonard’s Church which included the repair and strengthening of the front portico, 192 ft steeple and clocks.

Restoration to the front portico which sits on the west façade was necessary due to water penetration caused by blocked roof outlets, which had led to the rusting of previous iron repairs, and in turn caused the portico stonework to spall and crack. A new Portico roof was installed with copings and new lead gutters and flashings. Other repairs carried out to the rest of the west façade included stone cleaning and repairs which were made to the clock level. Where stone indents were found to be beyond repair, Bakers’ sister company Collins and Curtis Masonry Ltd templated, cut and profiled replacement stone indents in Portland Stone to match the existing. The clocks were repaired and restored by specialists, back to their former glory.

In October 2019 a SPAB Repair of Old Buildings Course visited site at St Leonard's Church to view the restoration and repair works taking place and take part in a Q&A session with Roger Meers Architects, Bakers of Danbury’s skilled craftsmen, and Thwaits & Reed, the clockmakers who were refurbishing the clock at the time.

Works carried out over the years has helped preserve St Leonards Church for future generations and finally as a result of recent conservation works, St Leonard’s Church was recently removed from Historic England's Heritage at Risk register.

The conservation and repair project at St Leonard's Church has received King of Prussia, Highly Commended at the prestigious EASA & National Churches Trust UK Church Architecture Awards as well as Commended in the Heritage and Restoration Category of the Hackney Design Awards 2020. The judges at the Hackney Design Awards 2020 said;

“The careful and conservative repair to the west façade of this Grade I listed church is highly commended by the judge as a great example of the “touch lightly” approach to historic building conservation.”

It was reported that the judges were impressed by the amount of original material that the project team were able to retain by their painstaking process or investigation and design of repairs.

Remembrance Day 2019

In time for Remembrance Sunday and Remembrance Day yesterday, Chelmsford City Council commissioned Bakers of Danbury Ltd to carry out a complete restoration to Chelmsford War Memorial, which sits to the front (north) of the Civic Centre. Restoration work started Monday 4th and was completed Thursday 7th November.

We first erected a large scaffold and monarflex sheeting around the memorial to protect the pedestrian footpath and passersby from overspray when cleaning the Portland stone, provide the Stonemasons with access to the full height of the memorial and also to prevent unauthorised access. Our Stonemasons carried out a Doff Clean which uses pressurised steam and also re-pointed the Portland stone cenotaph, square plinth and stepped base.

Nick Eveleigh, Chief Executive of Chelmsford City Council, said;

The Council is fully committed to restoring War Memorials in its care that honour people who have laid down their lives for this country.”

Chelmsford War Memorial was erected 1923, originally dedicated to those men of Chelmsford killed on military service in the First World. It was later dedicated to all those people of Chelmsford, both military personnel and civilians, who died during the Second World War. The north face of the plinth is inscribed with

TO THE MEN OF CHELMSFORD WHO FELL IN THE GREAT WAR/1914-1918", the east face with "AND TO ALL CITIZENS WHO FELL IN THE WORLD WAR 1939-1945" and the south face with "OUR GLORIOUS DEAD".

If you would like to find out more about Chelmsford War Memorial and the men and women the memorial id dedicated to visit www.chelmsfordwarmemorial.co.uk.

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!

To read about our history and view our collection of photos taken over the years, visit our history page.