The weather is a pain!

The porch foundation is now complete and could make a very nice Japanese water garden, though access to the building could be a little problematic! The scaffolding is now going up and we’ll be getting on with removing the concrete roof tiles and the external timber cladding. Repairs to the frame will then start in earnest. It’s going to be an exciting few weeks!

Our quaint little pool!

Fortunately, the scaffold-roof didn’t go on before all the gales we’ve had over the last few days.

The porch foundations take shape

The new corten steel and glazed entrance vestibule will require a solid foundation. The last week or two has been spent dodging the weather, digging holes, fashioning reinforcement bars and pouring concrete.

First it was necessary to remove nearly two hundred years of workshop debris – a few cattle bones were found amongst an awful lot of sawdust, broken bricks and gravel.
The cottage footings go deep into the heavy clay ground, this is quite reassuring.
The excavation for the new porch slab is almost complete, note how the top 500mm of the yard surface is made up of broken bricks and gravel, basically made-up ground.
The shuttering, DPC and reinforcement all in place awaiting the first concrete pour. It is now possible to appreciate the size of the new extension.
Getting the level just right.
Finishing off the perimeter up-stand; in due course this will support the massive weight of glass comprising the majority of the extension’s wall, light should flood into the interior.

This is the last bit of serious ground work to be done, the next step will be to get the scaffolding up, remove the concrete roof and cladding before refurbishing the frame and installing the cottage’s more thermally efficient external cladding. It’s not a great time to be working outside, but this is the right time of year to be installing timber cladding.

Lower ground floor foundations completed

The lower ground floor under-pinning and new basement foundation slab have been completed. This gives a solid base to the cottage and provides the foundation from which to tackle the repairs to the frame.

The basement foundation reinforcement and damp-proof membrane are prepared in readiness for the concrete pour.
The new basement slab.

Getting stuck in!

The last couple of weeks have been a bit mad.  The original plan had been to cast a new reinforced slab in the lower-ground floor with simple “hit-and-miss” extensions to the slab to underpin the surrounding walls.  This was to give us a strong base from which to work off for restoring and correcting the timber frame above later on.  The existing foundations were found to be weaker and at a slightly higher level than anticipated.  The decision has now been taken to retain the existing footings and fully underpin them all round the base of the building.  This should have been done three years ago when the building took a bit of a wander down the hill.  But it wasn’t, for understandable reasons.  

Work is not very pleasant with the rather inclement weather that we now have – but then it is December!

The cottage will now have a much surer footing upon the hill and hopefully, with all the concrete in the ground on adjacent sites, it will not be moving anywhere else over the next two hundred years! 

The Journey Begins

Welcome to our project blogg, who knows how long this will take us, but it’s sure to be hard work and hopefully, fun!


This little cottage on Leigh Hill is to be our family project.  We’ve long harboured ambitions to undertake an historic building restoration, but somehow work and family commitments always seemed to get in the way.  After a truly awful 2017, with the loss of our mothers, the time to tackle a “project” seemed opportune, especially as I’ve now retired from professional life in London.

28 Leigh Hill has a wonderful history and you can find out more about it here:

Heritage Record Statement Final

Our plans for the cottage are explained in the design statement that forms part of the Listed Building Consent authorising the works.

Leigh Hill RJ D&A

We hope you’ll enjoy following our progress renovating this historic corner of Leigh on Sea.