Thursday, 24 October 2013

Spectaular Venacular

Adventures in the Norfolk Countryside 

Over the last couple of weeks I have been working with Maltby Plasterers in the beautiful Norfolk countryside.Maltbys are the father and son team of Bruce and Luke Maltby, lime plasterers who specialise in timber framed ,clay lump and flint building of which there are a suprising number surviving in this area. Bruce and Luke have championed these buildings which have suffered in many cases irreparable damage .Neglect, the application of modern cements and gypsum plasters have let to the near disintergration of timber frames and the clay daub/cob which form the walls. During the last few decades in the mistaken notion that Portland cement renders would provide a protective coating, sussessive builders have, perhaps unknowingly trapped damp.  Unable to dry out this causes rot in the age old timbers disolving the clay which has been the construction material of these buildings for hundereds of years   

The style of the timber framed building is the classic English venacular so loved by the people of these isles. A major influence of on much  of British archtectual history  in particular the Arts and Crafts movement.

This style is our own ,not dictated by Roman and Greek classicism but built with English Oak ,flint hazel wattles and clay daub.If one of these buildings was in the USA it would have a theme park built to it. 

flint thatched cottage in Norfolk

scratch coat applied over flint wall

Knapped flint panel left to show construction

finished Haired chalk plaster

Niches in flint wall finished with chalk lime mix

The Green Dragon Wynmondham

 This is the beautiful timber framed building which houses the Green Dragon pub in Wynmondham Norfolk

We stripped off the top coat of wornout chalk plaster possibly 500 years old.Once we took off the top coat you could see the sparrow peck holes which formed a key for the top coat of plaster under this coat where ther were a few holes you could see the hazel wattles and the clay straw sand mix which makes up classic wattle and daub infill panels for timber framed buildings.Most of the problems were caused by damp trapped behind a latter gypsum coating repair which we had to remove

We applied chalk lime haired mix exactly as was applied all those years ago leaving the original wall intact and ready to last another 500 years

Wonderful work  Thanks to the Maltbys an Justin the patient, enthusiastic driver of the authentic restoration of his part of our cultural history

New Chalk lime finish

sparrow peck key in existing plasterwork

backing coat of plaster showing earth straw wall underneath

1 comment:

  1. Are you going to do a follow up article? Would love to know what happens next.

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