16 May 2006

Archaeology and fireplaces

Sorry folks for the long delay in adding to the blog - events have intervened. Since the last post we have both been extremely busy. Mainly I have been busy with archaeological things. Firstly there was the World Heritage Site conference which took place over most of the weekend 5th-7th May. This was in fact an excellent conference which both Kate and I enjoyed thoroughly. Kate arrived on Friday in the nick of time for dinner with Sir Neil Cossons, and on Saturday we had discussion over an evening meal at Madeley Court.

The following week I decided to paint the bedroom in my evenings (at least Monday-Wednesday), and then on Thursday night it was fencing. On Friday evening I gave a lecture to the Royal Archaeological Institute, who also had a guided tour (with the assistance of Kate) on Saturday. Sunday we went to Bridgnorth and Church Stretton to look for old furniture, but without success (although it was good fun and much tea was had along the way!)

Monday (yesterday) I took as a day off in lieu and spent much of it making structural alterations to the fireplace in the living room...

'Before'. This is after removing the breeze- block wall.







This brick infilling was very interesting. Although much knocked about, it basically seems to have been a mid-nineteenth century modification of the fireplace to incorporate a more modern range. The top row of bricks were simply resting on a row of bricks-on-edge, and were used to block up the original aperture. They appeared to have no structural significance...

...and after some tentative exploration, I knocked them out and discovered indeed that the whole chimney rests entirely on the wooden beam. The beam seems to be part of the wall-plate from an earlier timber-framed building. The chinmey breast is corbelled up from the beam internally. So in the few hours at my disposal I removed as much of the nineteenth century brickwork as possible to expose the original extent of the eighteenth century fireplace.

At the end of yesterday - about half removed. This photo does not do justice to the 'new' extra depth of the fireplace.

This was an extremely dusty and sooty job, with about 200 years of soot coming down on top of me. Also a lot of the voids behind the brick side-walls were filled with dust and rubble. The whole living room now has a nice layer of grey-brown dust all over it! However I am pleased - this will make a fantastic open fireplace!!

This is where a lot of the soot and dust went!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

You like absolutely shattered. Well done, it looks fantastic.

Anonymous said...

It was pretty tiring, I have to say. All the dust has settled in the bags under my eyes!

Anonymous said...

Was this beofre you started work?

Anonymous said...

Spelling error:
Was this before you started work?

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