Construction Development Alliance awards- Nominees required!

Construction Development Alliance awards- Nominees required!

Its that time again when the Construction Development Alliance Award those Young Persons in the Construction Industry.

Do you know someone who will make a great candidate for the awards?

Deadline is the 5th of May 2020.

Send your nomination today…

Awards

Every two years The Construction Development Alliance (CDA) host’s an awards evening to award five young construction individuals on their hard work and determination in the construction field.

If you know of an exceptional young construction individual why not nominate them today!

 Guest host

Image result for charlie luxton

The guest host for this years event is Charlie Luxton Architect and TV presenter of Building The Dream on More4, along with the award sponsors Charlie will hand the award to the winner.

 Categories

The categories are:

  1. Overcoming Diversity
  2. Apprentice
  3. Construction Professional
  4. Young Construction Environmentalist
  5. Designer

Nomination Form

CDA Nomination Form Online

Awards letter

CDA 2020 Awards Letter

The Cobbled Road

The Cobbled Road

What is the first thing that pops into your head when you think of cobbled areas? Is it the path leading to the church you attended when young? maybe the main shopping road in a small-town centre you visited? More and more towns are ripping up the tarmac to reveal this craftsmanship. With the assistance of the heritage lottery small towns known for their historic gems can get the financial support they need.

“Cobbles describes the smoother, more rounded stones that were fashioned by natural erosion or running water and were used uncut, as found” Robin Russell Director of Corbel Conservation Ltd.

The main material used for hard standing areas e.g. court yards, paths and road ways, for millennia were cobble stones. The humble cobble stone was kicked to the curb, as cheaper materials became more available. The common misconception is that a sett are a form of cobbled road. Setts are commonly found were you have steeper streets, this is to help houses to climb the road ways easier. A sett is a smooth quarried stone that is cut to shape. In this article Cobbles with refer to both setts and cobbles. Popularity rose for smoother roadways the cobbled streets were removed or covered. Viewed as inadequate to cope with modern life styles. The knowledge of laying cobbled path and roadways disappeared when they were covered. This skill is largely lost with many other techniques. Conservation is now more popular. The cobbled stone areas that have survived today are viewed by many as precious, and beneficial so safety on busy streets. the sound of an approaching vehicle can be heard louder on the cobbled streets, letting pedestrians know a vehicle is approaching. But with revealing this material unearths the problems of keeping them maintained.

Maintenance of Cobbled areas

Taking care of our historic gems is very important as many have fallen into disrepair and resulted in damage. When undertaking repair work on the cobbles you need to use the right materials. Both for the cobbles and the bedding; this is so that you can preserve as much of the original area as possible.

Note – Do not remove more then what is necessary, the goal is to keep the path looking original as much as possible. It is beneficial to taking notes, sketches and photographs before the work commences, this will limit damage.

Our goal is to use as much of the original stone and bedding as possible, with repairing in mind instead of replacement. Any alterations and additions made should be reversible and case little to no harm to the original. It is also advisable to document the process of the repair work, as a reference for future reflection. This will aid others who will continue the conservation work you conducted. The appearance of the repair work should be almost invisible. Modern repairs once aged can add character and appeal in the same way as the historic stone.
Further information:
If you require a specialist to conduct cobble repairs we are happy to help you with consulting on your project. Training course are available on our courses page. Building Conservation
How to have a cost effective heritage refurb?

How to have a cost effective heritage refurb?

Excited to buy a listed building, well hold on right there… Let’s stop and count the cost.

When buying a heritage building it can seem like a great investment yet it can be a drain on your purse if you’re not careful.

There are so many stories where people have gone and bought an old run down house, mill, or stables and they have transformed it back to it prime or in some cases better.

Hearing these stories it gives us a warm glow and a desire to do the same, but what we don’t hear is the cost of the projects, the mistakes that knock costing into the rafters.

So What about the cost? When you own a heritage building you better have money to burn. Yes, that’s right; it’s not a cheap thing owning an old building.

One homeowner found out the hard way.

A real costly experience

Renovating his heritage house a Gentleman went in search of a professional. The homeowner had not realised the magnitude of the skilled work that was needed to restore his listed home but was determined to save cost and do the prep work himself.

So what did the homeowner do…?

Well, he hired… His nephew… Yes, that’s right his nephew was hired to do the prep works.

The young lad had no skills in modern or traditional building work. So you can just imagine what disasters would befall.

For a while, all seemed to go well.

Dutifully the nephew got to work removing the rouble, upon doing this the young lad discovered plaster snot on the back of the wooden slats.

Now if you know anything about lath and plaster, you will know this is not a good idea. Why? let go on with the story.

So the nephew proud of his hard day’s graft, called his uncle to look at this now snot free cavity; can you imagine the joy on the homeowners face?

Happy with this prep work, the homeowner then called in the professional.  

Call in the Professional

After seeing the snot free cavity the professional was in utter shock that the ceiling had not collapsed.

The plaster that had dripped over the back of the lath was a support keeping the plaster to the wall. And the nephew didn’t just do a small section; No, he did the whole ceiling.

Now, what could this homeowner do?

Thankfully the builder knew the skills to fix this problem.

Stabilising the ceiling required metal pins to be inserted every 30 meters.

This resulted in more expense than the original quotation.

The ceiling would never be as strong as it had once been but the homeowner can now rest soundly knowing the plaster would not crumble and collapse on him.

Skill = Quality

Many think they are saving money doing simple works themselves without the correct training but when it comes to traditionally built structures heritage skills and experience are a must.

For these skills and materials, they come at a cost.

Quality doesn’t come cheap, but it is cheaper than having to fix what didn’t need doing. A hard lesson to learn but it is all worth it in the end.

Now if you own a heritage building, work in the building industry or just interested in old buildings, take note there are courses you can attend to widen your skills. Learn to maintain Lath and Plaster, Understand lime and how to use it, or just basic heritage maintenance skills.

You can develop the skills to maintain your own heritage building.

Contractors should be check for training in the traditional skills.

Knowing you have the right people on the job will help you feel in control of your renovation.

And not end up with the possibility of your wall collapsing in.

More information

If you are interested in learning more about tradition construction skill why not check out our courses page and see what is available for you. If you cant find anything then email us and see what we can do for you. The story was shared by a member of the Traditional Plasters Guide who was the professional on the job.

Local History – Rawtenstall -The Weavers Cottage

The Weaver’s Cottage is the building we will discuss in this article. It’s a building that seems out of place between a modern Health Hub and a converted cotton mill.

Have you ever wondered what the weaver’s cottage was?

Weavers Cottage Rawtenstall

The Cottage can be found on Bacup road between Ilex Mill and Rawtenstall’s Health Hub, seemingly out of place; this cottage would have been common during the time it was built.

Many people have seen this building but they don’t know anything about it or its history.

Some brief history
  • The ground floor would have been used as a home
  • The first and second floors would have been used as a workshop where large weaving looms would have been operated.
  • During the industrial revolution, it was split into four separate dwellings.
  • In the 1940’s the first murder recorded in Rossendale and one of the tenants of the cottage was the convicted murder.
  • Was used as a Police Box.
The Cottage is
  • Dated around the 18th century when English weaving was at its height.
  • A three-story brick building
  • The first and second floors have six large windows
  • Built with two large floors with an open plan layout for working
  • South facing
  • Access to the working floors was at the rear of the building.

What was the cottage originally used for?

The cottage name tells us that the main use was for Wool and/or silk weaving.

Weaving was a trade common among the working people. Therefore the cottage work area’s were available to all the weavers in the province.

It seems like the designer had taken in the risks of this profession when he had planned this building. A good building design is necessary for specialised work.

You can see this in the used of windows so that the natural lighting would reduce the number of candles needed in the room, this will minimise the risk of possible fire. A fire was a major worry in the weaving business, just one spark could lose your livelihood and your home.

Some weavers employed their own or local children to assist with the weaving process as children could easily reach more difficult areas on the loom.

Until the introduction of the powered loom, this cottage would have been in constant use.

At the height of the industrial revolution, work in the mills was encouraged. With mills able to produce large quantities of fabric it became harder for those who worked in these cottages.

As a result, the weaving profession began to be abandoned.

English weaving is a traditional skill among those in decline.

Resulting in the cottage workshop being left vacant, the large space was partitioned off to create homes. But, as more desirable homes were built, the weaver’s cottage again was empty.

The weavers cottage was in the location of the first murder in Rossendale’s living history. The shocking murder of Nancy Chadwick in 1948. Find out more Click here.

Rawtenstall illex mill and weavers cottageWhat is it now?

In the 1970’s the area was under an urban renewal.

This council approved arrangement resulted in several old buildings being demolished.

The Rawtenstall Civics Society saved the cottage from being completely demolished. Unfortunately, the rear sloped roof was lost.

The civic society was able to restore the cottage to as much of its original format. Now using it as a heritage centre for the local area.

The cottage became a grade II listed building registered on the 16th October 1970. This gives the weavers cottage the status of a building of national importance and special interest.

Learn More
To find out more visit The Rossendale Civic Trust’s website. If you would like to learn more about historic building why don’t you check out our course page and see what we can do for you! There is a video provided by the Rossendale civic trust marking the history of the weavers’ cottage.

Dry Stone Walls and Hedgerows

When you think about dry stone walls and hedgerows, do you think of a quaint little cottage garden? maybe a barrier in a farmer’s field? The popularity of these walls has increased over the years. Picket fences are not as popular as they once were. What is it about these walls that are so attractive to gardeners.
  • what are the benefits of a dry-stone walls/hedges?
  • why are so many in walls in disrepair?
  • where can you learn the skills to build your own?
First, we need to know the background. When you look around the landscape of Britain you can see a vast difference between the north and south. The south being more fertile for growing vegetation and livestock, the ground is relatively flat with a mild weather; where as in the north the rugged terrain and harsh climate is more ideal for livestock. Having livestock, you will need a way to keep them in. In the south, Farmer will grow hedgerows as a means of securing the land. With the mild climate the plants can grow quicker than the animals can eat them. Now in the north copious quantities of stone are easily found close to the ground surface, its here you will find evidence of dry stone walls. The walls are found where trees and hedges are difficult to grow. On lower ground where hedges could be grown, they take longer to mature and can be stunted if exposure to animals to early, the saplings and new growth could be eaten quicker than the plant can grow, making this method of security difficult to establish. Once a stone wall is erected, it will remain until neglected or dismantled. The walls would need little upkeep, if build properly. The materials were easy to get, this is the reason stone and hedges were used. Yearly maintenance checks would ensure the longevity of the walls and hedges.

Fact – when farmers/labours where building their stone walls, they would put a trinket or coin in-between the gaps as a time capsule.

Fact- Prince Charles hosted a hedgelaying competition on Highgrove estates, this allowed different skills to be exercised. More.

The Change

As the 21st century got underway, changes to farming where steadily increasing but the dry-stone walls and hedges where still the best security for the fields. When the first world war erupted in October 1914 many young men left to fight, but it was when the war continued that cause a strain on the country. Skilled workmen where unable to pass on their skills to their apprentices resulting in the loss of the majority of the knowledge, in this loss was the skills of dry-stone walling and hedgelaying. The little knowledge that survived the war the reminding walls and hedges were able to be maintained. In time, the preferred fencing for farmers and gardeners were wooden stakes and wire netting. Resulting in the neglect of the remaining walls and hedges, they fell into disrepair. Many walls are left as wind breakers for livestock and wife life, over time new boundaries were created making the wall null for purpose. While many hedgerows where removal and replaced, others were left to grow wild.

Benefits of dry stone walls and hedges

The benefits of having hedgerows and stone walls are that they are environmentally friendly, with there material being natural and not man made. The result of having these walls are that they make a great wind break which is beneficial for all animals, in many case’s they are used by a variety of wild life and plants as habitats. When you think of the British countryside are your first thoughts could be the animal, the lush green grass then the hedges and stone walls; If so you are not alone. Stone walls and hedges have a desirable effect wherever you chose to put them.

Training skills

Training in these heritage skills are hard to find, sympathetic works we are happy to help you gain theses skills. Our aim is to save as much historic construction skills that is possible. So, we are happy to provide these skills to those who wish to learn. Check out our Course page to see what else we provide.

Acknowledgement

All information Provide has been collected by a member of Sympathetic Works Ltd, with help from Wikipedia search engine, The National Hedgelaying Society, BBC CountryFile and Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain. All pictures are the property of Sympathetic Works Ltd.