The cottage has yielded one or two interesting little trinkets, this is not surprising given the age of the building. here are our favourites:
Grubbing around in the Thames Estuary you might find any number of the hollow clay stems associated with the traditional tobacco pipes – we found this almost complete clay pipe when clearing out the debris from the larger of the two sheds. We wonder if this belonged to Fred Joscelyne the blacksmith (see pages 5 and 11 of the Heritage Assessment).
There has been a lot going on and so there’s been a bit of a delay with posts. I think we have gone backwards as far as we can, though the top of the chimney stack remains a serious concern and is likely to undergo a surgical rebuild to ensure its future safety. This will also rid the structure of the unhelpful cement mortar.
The cladding has now been removed.. Where it wasn’t rotten, the cladding simply shattered and split when removed. De-nailing was a task and a half! The frame is now exposed in its entirety. The sole plate, as expected, is pretty well rotten all around, in places it has rotted away altogether though in other parts some of it is salvageable.
Now the the entire frame has been exposed we can get down to the serious task of repairing it, surgically scarfing in new timber to match the original form of construction, starting with the sole plate, the corner posts and the first floor wall plate.
Next week should see some propping and adjusting of the frame to straighten up the cottage prior to insulating and applying external structural re-cladding.
It’s been a very breezy few days on the estuary this past week. However, the scaffold has performed brilliantly and whilst it was a bit noisy (under all the flapping monoflex sheeting), it was possible to get rid of all those modern concrete tiles that have been weighing so heavily upon the frame. The roof structure is now fully exposed and the simplicity of the construction is there for all to see. There was so much re-purposed wood used in the original construction. The aim is to reuse much of it again!
The cottage now has an overcoat. Getting up-close and personal with the fabric is a little upsetting though to be honest, the amount of rotten timber cladding and the appalling state of the windows, did not come as a great surprise.
the next phase of work can probably be described as “surgical deconstruction”!
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!