A grant was agreed for The Town House Café within the Shambles at the July 2009 THI Steering Group meeting. The Café is an impressive 4 storey building with an attic. It is considered that the building was constructed in the early 1800s, as either a town house or shop with accommodation. Some alterations were carried out by the Victorians. The building is an unusual shape its façade extending to the ground floor with the Café and then takes the top 3 floors of the area to the left of the entrance.
The project agreed is just the type the Chesterfield THI is looking for, it is an impressive building retaining most of its original features, some to be reinstated and lacking in regular recent maintenance. By reinstating the original design the THI and the landlords will improve the building significantly.
The landlords employed a conservation architect to assess and develop a schedule of works, manage and oversee the works to the standards required by the Chesterfield THI and the landlords. The schedule of works is comprehensive, giving details of the processes required for the works and the retention of original material.
Works to the Windows
The façade on Irongate has had its sash windows repaired or more modern windows replaced in the orginal sash pattern. These are a key feature for the building and where possible the original material will be retained to preserve the integrity of the historic building.
Historic Scotland have a number of free downloads on window design and maintenance, including an Owners Guide and an Inform Guide. These give information on design, how the window works, cleaning and other maintenance advice.
In addition to the four sash windows to the front of the property feautre to the rear of the property on Middle Shambles will be reinstated as it is highly visible to the public. The rear has been altered more than the frontage and this is where most of the reinstatement proposals are. These are to replace a door to reflect the rear Victorian alterations and re-instatement of two rear windows.
The building was re-roofed and was stripped carefully to enable suitable slates could be re-used, again this is to retain as much of the original fabric as possible. Replacement slates were to match the originals in material properties and appearance.
The most publicly visible changes to the building is the repair and maintenance of the brickwork and rainwater goods. There was significant vegetation growth and broken or missing drain pipes on the front façade. Works were carried out to remove the vegetation, repair and replace the rainwater goods in cast iron and repoint using lime mortar. Where the damage is left this can often lead to further problems e.g. water ingress and damp so it is important to address problems with gutters and other rainwater goods before further damage occurs.
Lime mortar was used as this is a natural soft mortar that will allow the building to breathe. Any moisture entering the building will be free to leave through the mortar thereby retaining the natural balance of the building. The mortar itself is a softer material than the brick, if a cement mortar were to be used then this creates a harder material than the brick. Any moisture entering the building will leave through the softer material and therefore the moisture will leave through the brick. Cement mortar can lead to brick damage including the spalling of the brick. Historic Scotland have a free download on the use of lime in traditional buildings that gives further information.
David Lewis Associates, Eyam
Michael W Lane, Chesterfield
Repairs and Reinstatement