“Two months without a blog post, Owen. What gives?”
It’s been a busy time for the THI with so much going on I haven’t had the time to report it all! I’ll do my best to give the latest news over the next week or so.
I’ll give the biggest THI news first: our first ever building project, 40 High Street, is now completed. All that’s left is for someone to move into the refurbished affordable flat that was empty for years before the new improvements were made.
As well as being funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Council, this particular scheme has benefited from a Living Over the Shops (LOTS) contribution from the Merseyside-wide RESTORE Consortium and a contribution from Knowsley Housing Trust. All of these schemes were seeking similar objectives, namely new affordable homes from empty floor space, so it makes perfect sense to put these different funds together.
The grants do not cover 100% of the eligible costs, so the property owner has made a significant contribution and has done lots of additional work to the property in addition to the grant-aided works off their own bat to the flat and the ground floor shop. A big thanks to Prescot Dry Cleaners for gamely soldiering on in a temporary shop while the works were underway in the dead of winter.
The architect for the restoration and repair scheme was Richard Roberts of Cass Associates of Liverpool, and the lead contractor Anchor Builders of Prescot. The years of accumulated paint was carefully removed from the front and side elevations by Calvey Restoration of Childwall. Joinery for the shopfront and the replacement rear windows was made and supplied by Edwards and Hampson of Bootle.
That’s one THI project building completed, just another 29 to 33 to go!
A picture paints a thousand words so here are photos of the project:
Before and after. Can you guess which is which?!
After the paint was removed, it was time to repoint. 3:1 sand:lime mortar was used on the front elevation which dates from c.1790 and is made of handmade bricks. The bright red corner bricks are engineering bricks from around 1920.
Meanwhile, around the side we found that the gable wall had been rebuilt around 1920 and the mortar used at the was full of ash, making the pointing almost black. We used the same mortar as the front, but a dye was applied to replicate the original dark colour.
A quick reminder of what the brickwork looked like before…
It was a mystery what the gutter was made of until they got up there and started taking the paint off. The answer: sandstone! Those things you can just see on top of the lead are gutter clips lying on their sides- it seems in the past someone improvised a way of stopping the rain running over the edge. This has now been fixed properly.
The wonky stone gutter needed re-setting, repointing and re-lining in lead so that it drained properly. The brickwork of the wall below is still drying out from being soaked through for many years. That explains why so many buddleias were growing on the window sills!
The ‘unsung’ repairs: investigating and correcting wonky floors and checking and strengthening the ties between the walls.
We wanted a traditional style shopfront that was ‘3D’ rather than flat and had a bit of visual interest to it. This was achieved.
Obscure fact: the HLF does not fund new kitchens or bathrooms, but here is a picture of the new kitchen anyway.
All mod cons: heating, lighting, painted plaster, carpets, a view for short people, a view for tall people. Those windows are refurbished historic windows by the way…