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32 Friarn Street Bridgwater Somerset TA6 3LH

A Conservation and Restoration Project

Phase II - Fireplaces & surfaces

This phase of the conservation project has now been completed on schedule

26 July 2000 The panelled fireplace surround and bookcase has been fixed in the ground floor front room by Stuart Interiors of Barrington Court, Ilminster. The work has been carried out in oak to Jacobean principles. The flanking panels are proportioned in the Golden Ratio. The cock's head hinges to the cupboard doors have been purpose-made by Ironbase Products to a variation of a Gloucestershire design of circa 1680. The finish employs materials supplied by Fiddes & Son Ltd of Cardiff. The walls have been lined with 1000 paper and painted Dulux DH Stone.   pictures

16 July 2000 Work has been concentrating on preparing surfaces in the principal rooms, viz. ground and first floor front. Most surfaces have now been prepared to receive lining paper. Extensive service provision (including CCTV, loudspeakers, FM and TV) has been made at ground floor level. A dado rail has been fitted in the sitting room, and the salon doors rehung on L-hinges purpose-made by Ironbase Products.
Remedial work on the lower supports to the stairs was undertaken in connection with the insertion of a damp-proof membrane below the hallway flagstones (most of which have been lifted and relaid).
A brick hearth has been laid in the front ground floor room, with surrounding flagstones. This room will be part-panelled during the week commencing 17 July.   pictures

29 May 2000 Ornamental plasterwork and the majority of the limeplasterwork has been completed by Brendan O'Reilly of Washford. A Jacobean-type ceiling has been constructed over the ancient fireplace in the front g/f room. Medallions have been cast from a pattern in situ in the Blake Museum.   pictures

Plaster cornices have been fixed in the hallway. A small dentil profile was chosen, using the precident from the adjacent listed property, No.30. A simple Georgian-style cornice has been fixed in the first floor living-room. In the attics, the principal brick surfaces have been patch replastered using lime materials from Limebase products. Glass pantile openings in the NE roof have been re-lathed using sawn laths and plastered with hair plaster.   pictures

Other works have included taking down the brick arch under the false hearth (front rooms) and rejoisting securely; re-erecting stud in the bathroom; fabricating new airing cupboard on structural supports for the hw cylinder; remedial work on downstairs partition walls in front room (found to be resting on severely decayed timber).

23 May 2000 At Messrs Tamlyn & Son's Auction this day in Bridgwater, Dr Cattermole bid successfully for an album of Robert Gillo's photographs (Lot 591). This Lot had come into the ownership of Squibbs of Bridgwater in 1916. The Album seems similar to Gillo's Pattern Books in the Somerset Studies Library, and shows  pictures of Cheddar Cliffs. Gillo worked from 32 Friarn Street between circa 1861-81.

2 May 2000 Work has continued on internal refurbishments of a semi-structural nature. Easter and commitments to the S & D Railway Trust have slowed progress a little.

Brendan O'Reilly of Washford (01984 640842), Ornamental & Lime Plasterer, has been appointed to carry out the lime repair work on the fireplaces (now complete, and awaiting limewash).  pictures
Re-plastering in the former kitchen has been undertaken and a gas boiler mounted. Radiators and ductwork for electrical services are being run in.

The secondary floors have been lifted in three of the four first-floor rooms. A stud-partition has been reinstated, and refurbishment of the early Georgian panelling continues.

Ceiling and wall work has begun in the front attic. The cold water tank is in place on 150 x 47 bearers in the roof space.

Wallpaper has been stripped in the hall and to first-floor level on the stairs.
A design for panelling over the fireplace has been agreed and a contract let to Stuart Interiors of Barrington Court, Ilminster for installation in July.

15 March 2000

Work on first floor fireplace structurally complete. Secondary floors being lifted in first floor front rooms. Original floor (pine) found to be in generally good condition, except where destroyed by the work of an unthinking electrician. Selective patching being undertaken. Two joist-ends found defective in south wall   picture ; all others fine & tight. Some thin glass pieces found behind skirting - possibly part of York & Sons activities (see below).

Work progressing on servicing drains and support to base of stairs. Brick & stone culvert (now dry) found running N-S underneath stairs. Contracts being considered for panelling and limework.

6 March 2000 First floor front fireplace opened up to reveal curved plaster sides. Stone pedestals at base of fireplace have been utilised from a later fireplace (similar in adjacent room) when the floor was raised.  pictures

Re-examination of the leases in the Somerset County Record Office has established that the house was certainly occupied before December 1570. It was noted also that all earlier leases had been examined at the time Joseph Greenway (Merchant) took his lease (1711) (link at top of page). This date is significant in the context of the discovery of the panelling and other features of the Georgianisation.

29 February 2000

Ground floor fireplaces have been opened up and early structures revealed.   pictures

Panelling has been discovered and revealed dividing the two first floor rooms. Evidence points to it being early Georgian. Samples of flock wallpaper have been found adhering to it. English Heritage are being consulted.   pictures

Dowsing techniques have located a well, fortunately outside the present house, and largely filled in. The structure is curious.   pictures

A small internal window has been opened up in the former kitchen.   pictures

Specifications are being drawn up for repairs to lime ceilings and for panelling and other joinery.

The historical research part of the project has made progress over Victorian users of the building. Robert Gillo, Photographer, was followed by Messrs York & Sons, Photographic Slide Manufacturers.