Javascript Menu by Archive 08 April 2005 - The Contractors Arrive
Church House, South Tawton, Devon, UK





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Archive 8

Progress Report  Pete Kilgannon 2nd May 2005

This website has several purposes. Ultimately it's main function will be to advertise the facilities available at Church House and to be a point of contact for those wishing to make reservations for visits or functions, for whatever purpose. The site will also provide both historical information for educational and cultural requirements and also a record of the Restoration Project itself, to assist others contemplating such an undertaking. It is for this latter reason that the Committee is trying to provide a step by step verbal, video and photographic progress report as we go along. We have however run into an obstacle to this, now that the building has been taken over by the contractors. We are now restricted to external video and photo shots, except for the three planned 'Open Visit' times on June 3rd, July 8th and August 12th. We have been told that the contractors themselves will be taking photographs and it is hoped that these may become available to publish on the website as work progresses. It's not the end of the world, but others might like to be aware of our experience when planning their own projects.

Getting ready
Builders getting out of van and donning overalls
Builder carrying tool into Church House
Going inside
Tools & broom
The East fireplace with tools and broom piled nearby

As you can see, the contractors arrived on the morning of 25th April and we managed to get a few shots to record the event. Reports are that they have already stripped out the ground floor ceilings, removed some cement/plaster coverings on stonework and channeled out the filling between some granite wall slabs. What is plain to see is that they have also made a start on the outside stairway.

Another aspect that we should have covered (with hindsight) is a record of how the building was prior to the restoration work. Too late it occurred to me, on the day the contractors arrived and I took a few shots of the existing electrics and toilets. Not something one might advertise when we were looking for bookings in the past, but maybe some 25th Century Cynthia Gaskell Brown will really be happy with my poor efforts!

The old electrics

Window in Ladies toiletsWindow in Gents toilets
Old kitchen facilities

And on to other things. As a sort of publicist, it is really frustrating not to be able to post the details, that I have seen, as we go along. However, as with the contractor's Health & Safety and Insurance requirements, the Academic, Copyright and ongoing negotiation factors must be deferred to. I can tell you that we are in the process of arranging for our own 'Church Ale' and the design for the bar pumps is progressing, hopefully to include the face of a well known local character.

We have received the dendrochronology report, which is very exciting and a draft of the thatch sample test report, which is being correlated with other historical data, which has been unearthed by Cynthia Gaskell Brown. I am hoping the next News Report will be by Cynthia, covering this in more detail.

The Committee has engaged an artist historian, Dr. Pat Hughes, to produce some wall panel illustrations of Church House at various stages in its history. She has been collaborating with Cynthia (who is doing the historical interpretation) and has been on site to see the building for herself. Cynthia has also been following up the links with St George's, Windsor. If that 25th century historian gets her hands on all of Cynthia's e-mails, she will have a job for life!

The West steps

Work started on West exterior steps
Work started on East exterior steps
The East steps
Finally, we have been contacted by one group, who are seeking funding for a similar project elsewhere in the country. Arrangements were made for them to visit and David Youle was able to provide them with details of our own experience, to hopefully assist them in their project. Whilst not looking for work, the Committee would welcome any other enquiries of this nature. It might be a good idea to arrange any visit to coincide with the Open Visit Days - 03/06/2005, 08/07/2005, 12/08/2005 (13.30 - 15.30)- where possible.


     Further Information

      Please contact David Youle

          Phone      01837 840418