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21st March - 15:34
The Society for the Protection for Ancient Buildings (SPAB) is launching its first ever grand exhibition, taking place at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich over two days this September.   The Old House Show, in partnership with Period Living, takes place from Friday 7th to Saturday 8th September 2018, and will epitomise everything the SPAB stands for. Focusing on the SPAB Approach, and its unique emphasis on independent advice, crafts and education, The Old House Show will be a must attend event for those interested in the art and craft of building care – and it’s absolutely free! Register for tickets online. A full programme of demonstrations of traditional crafts, talks by SPAB experts and other invited guests, an array of exhibitors and hands-on activities will fill the two-day event. With professionals on hand to provide free, clear, unbiased advice about what is best for your building, there will also be representatives from the very best in building conservation. SPAB Director, Matthew Slocombe said: “In recent years there has been a new emphasis on the handmade, on good design and on the authentic in manufacture and production. We have a steadfast, and intrinsically authentic approach to the promotion of traditional crafts and consequently, we are expecting large numbers of visitors to descend on the Old Royal Naval College to participate, learn and be inspired by everything our first large-scale show has to offer.” He added: “The SPAB’s expert technical knowledge and our willingness to share and disseminate it will be front and centre of the show’s programme, with talks and presentations, an advice clinic, careers desk, traditional craft demonstrations and hands-on activities. The show will help to underscore the Society as the organisation to go to for advice on the protection of historic buildings and is aimed at home owners and those working with old buildings. We’re delighted to be able to host the inaugural The Old House Show 2018 at such a beautiful and prestigious location, the Old Royal Naval College, which is sure to draw in the crowds from far and wide.” Visitors will love the hands-on demonstrations from a wide range of craftspeople and the rare opportunity to find the best in old building care all under one roof.  With the show free to attend, people will be able to come for one or both days to enjoy everything that The Old House Show has to offer, as well as discover more of Greenwich and the Old Royal Naval College itself.   Stay up to date with the latest news by going to The Old House Show webpage where people can register to attend. Follow the SPAB on Twitter and on The Old House Show Facebook event page.  
08th December - 14:36
By Lilian Tuohy Main As we enter the third month of our conservation tour, a theme that continues to arise is the importance of observing before acting. A unifying trait of historic buildings is their numerous ‘unknowns’. It is this intangible mystery that often makes a place compelling. However, for carrying out repair works to such buildings, the importance of knowing their history, and as much as practically possible about their existing fabric and condition can not be underestimated. Without fail, investing time in the early stages of a project proves to be in the best interest of the building and also results in more economic and time-efficient outcomes, as on-site ‘surprises’ are greatly reduced. As Scholars, we spent two days surveying 47-49 High Street, Eton, affectionately known by locals as ‘The Cock Pitt’. Here we were set the task of surveying the principal frontage to the High Street, which appears to have been constructed in the first half of the 15th century, and it has been altered and extended on numerous occasions since, most notably in the 19th century. West Elevation view of 47-49 High Street, Eton   Drawing up of the High Street elevation, which retains much of its 15th century character As with any building of it’s age, 47-49 has many interesting and unique features. One that has continued to evoke a reaction is that of the knuckle bone floor at the eastern end of the site. The building was leased by John Rayne, a butcher, before 1551, and another butcher, William Russell also occupied one of the cottages in 1660 (HER Monument Record MRM16551). The floor may have been laid by either of these men – the arrangement being a typical feature of butcheries where bones were not in short supply, and the gaps between bones allowed blood to drain away (The Cock Pitt’ 47-49 High Street Eton, Heritage Statement, August 2015, Built Heritage Consultancy). In the 1930s, nos. 47 and 48 High Street were tearooms called ‘The Cock Pitt’. Allegedly the name was inherited from speculations in the 20th century that the vertebrae floor was a survival from a medieval cockpit, i.e. a venue for cock-fighting. Knuckle bone floor   Spending time on the busy High Street with tape measures and sketch books in hand, we were greeted by countless interested locals, thrilled and intrigued to know of future happenings to the building, now dilapidated and in need of repair. Surveying the timber frame When surveying the timber frame, all measurements were taken in imperial. The investigations and recording showed that the building had been rebuilt after having a Georgian or Victorian shopfront added, and that there was a steel beam hidden behind the jetty and sections of contemporary, hard cement render.   Timber expert Daniel Miles, mentored us over the two days spent at the building. Through observation and survey we identified evidence of a previous arrangement of a pair of half-Wealdens (a typical medieval timber-framed hall plan). With time, similar discoveries will, no doubt, come to light. To be granted this time to look with and listen to knowledgeable craftspeople and professionals is proving to be an invaluable experience. The process of taking the time to look carefully and considerately is something we will take forward with us, as we continue the fortunate task of caring for such interesting and treasured buildings. Scholars conducting the hand-measured survey on-site