Despite lockdown – lots of progress

Despite lockdown – lots of progress

Gallery so far – lots of uncovering, digging, renovating and restoring of the old dairy buildings.

Above, Matt is starting to uncover the cobbles in what will be the little gallery. You can see that they were concealed under two separate layers of concrete, but fortunately protected by a thin covering of cow poo! The first layer probably dates from the war, when many small farms were ‘upgraded’ to streamline production. The second layer is part of a more recent ‘refurbishment’, finished with tasteful parquet tiles, to enable the building to be used as an office. It must have been freezing!

Below, Paul, Matt, Sara and Frosty taking a break – they uncovered this much in one day!

Paul, Matt, Sara and Frosty

Beautiful cobbles

By the end of day two, the whole floor of the little gallery is revealed – we’ll leave the historic repairs. Sara’s tackling the really hard bits around the edge. (Click the arrows to see both pics)

Repairing historical ‘improvements’

This is the sort of repair that we have been faced with throughout the buildings, where the original opening has been heightened by smashing out the old doorway and bodging a concrete lintel across the top.

We have rebuilt three of these, replacing the damaged brickwork, replacing concrete with new oak lintels from Bowood sawmill and painstakingly replacing the missing stonework to match the original – a long job. (Slide the arrows right and left to see the full pictures.)

Smashed doorwayReplacing the brickwork
Nearly thereDoorway done!

This one was pretty dodgy: this opening had just been smashed through the wall – the stonework above was supported by a concrete lintel resting on thin air!

This sequence shows us replacing the brick piers as original, then shoring up the hanging stonework before removing the concrete and replacing with oak.

A labour of love.

Taking down walls

Original shed wallWall begone!

The lefthand photo above was what the dairy building looked like before we began. Well, it’s not like that now!

We removed the ‘fake’ wall which had been built across the front of what used to be a three bay cart shed.

Villagers could remember when the inside was at field level, enabling carts to be driven in and out. We discovered that the floor level inside had been built up nearly a metre with 100 tons of building rubble and rubbish.

We were hoping there might be more cobbles underneath the rubble, but the original floor was just compacted clay.

We are in the process of stabilising this by rolling in layers of scalpings and then covering it with stone slabs, which it most likely had at some time. We’ve found that the building has dried out naturally and we are laying the floor without a damp proof membrane, as it would have been.

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