16 Sep Surveying History: Nick Inspects 3 of the Avoncroft Museum’s historic buildings
“It’s not every day that you are able to survey a 16th century mansion, a perry mill and a chain-makers workshop under one contract!”
The chance to combine work with pleasure is one of the benefits of working with historic buildings. Nicholas Kelly recently had just such an opportunity when Allcott Associates received an intriguing heritage building instruction from the Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings, Bromsgrove.
Here, Nick fills us in on his experience at Avoncroft.
The Avoncroft Museum is one of several museums of building that can be found up and down the country. These museums are vital for relocating important historic buildings threatened by development or neglect; indeed, without these museums these buildings would be lost forever.
Allcott Associates were pleased to be instructed by the curators of the Avoncroft building collection to provide comprehensive condition surveys for three of the museum’s historic buildings. These involved looking at safety and management issues together with urgent and long-term repairs. Everything was to be costed and budgeted, to help ensure the long-term survival of these important buildings. For a company of RICS building surveyors the work was particularly interesting – many of our number visited Avoncroft as part of the field work for our undergraduate degrees, or studied the museum and its buildings in our course textbooks.
As one of our Associate Partners, Nick was a clear choice for the job – he is an RICS Certified Historic Building Professional and is passionate about understanding the period features and particular quirks and concerns associated with surveying historic and listed buildings.
The spectacular String of Horses Inn, listed at Grade 2, is a wonderful example of the timber workers craft. It is a substantial 16th century timber framed mansion, later used as an inn, embellished extravagantly with cabled pilasters, corbel heads and carved rails.
The 19th century chain-makers workshop and 18th century perry mill are both unlisted, and by contrast are modest in both scale and embellishment. Without listed building status both properties would have been at high risk of being lost to redevelopment. Avoncroft Museum, however, was able to step in and conserve the buildings in close to original state, for all to see.
Collections such as these are crucial, bringing to life buildings in historic contexts for everyone to appreciate, which would otherwise be lost or redeveloped.
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Whilst there, Nick was able to take advantage of the closed site conditions to get an unusual perspective on the Guesten Hall roof, a 14th century medieval hall roof from Worcester Priory, listed at Grade 2*.
Whilst it’s easy to appreciate the sheer majesty of the construction, judicious use of a high access pole-camera allowed a less often seen view, along the line of the principal roof frames, and showing the skill and craftsmanship involved in the cutting, carving and placement, both historic & modern, of this spectacular roof.
…. and yes, a revisit is planned outside of working hours to those buildings not open during our inspections.
Allcott Associates listed buildings & period properties
Allcott Associates’ Heritage branch offers specialist advice and consultancy on listed buildings and historic sites. Our surveyors have expertise in sustainably managing period properties and historic buildings. They are experienced in assessing any defects and suggesting interventions that are sympathetic to the history of the building and which will maintain its historic integrity wherever possible.