Georgian Hot Tub Time Machine??! what is this...

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Kearn
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Location: Sonning, Berkshire

Re: Georgian Hot Tub Time Machine??! what is this...

Post by Kearn » Fri 16th Mar, 2018 10:09 am

And.....we finally have a finished floor, only a few months after laying the limecrete base in August!!! :lol:

The pavers are Victorian, and maybe a touch more red than I would have liked, but this is them clean and they dull down with use. Finding this quantity of reclaimed 400yr old pavers wasn't going to happen! Plus too much orange may have been overkill and detracted from the real star of the space.

The difference in this room is amazing, with some space from the removed cupboard/wall, more light and better materials. Floor level is back to where it should have been, almost a foot lower than the concrete block. The hideous sliding glass door has been replaced by a cleaned up old plank door which was alongside the widened gap to the right of the fireplace before we reinstated the full width here:
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From front door:
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From kitchen door:
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And for now we are going to pause and enjoy the space, before embarking on removing the false ceiling to gain another metre in height and expose the truss and getting the pesky redundant Victorian stack off of the inglenook and away from the original stack above the roofline...which unfortunately involves a lot of extra work to get scaffold access, replace a principal rafter and repair the roof, not to mention the rewiring and pipework re-routing which runs all across the false ceiling!! another day...!

So just a rad to get in, surface prep and decoration now!

worms
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Re: Georgian Hot Tub Time Machine??! what is this...

Post by worms » Sun 18th Mar, 2018 6:53 am

Looks good!

What makes you think that the space was an animal shelter? Why would anyone go to the trouble and expense of building a fancy animal house that was so small, yet 4m high?

Is it possible that it might have been a blacksmith’s? The brick ring looks about the right size and shape for the base of the kiln.

Kearn
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Joined: Fri 4th Dec, 2015 11:48 am
Location: Sonning, Berkshire

Re: Georgian Hot Tub Time Machine??! what is this...

Post by Kearn » Sun 18th Mar, 2018 5:34 pm

Thanks! It's been a while coming, but now only a few days from looking great finally!

Very normal to have an outbuilding attached to a cottage 400 years ago, ours certainly had one recorded in the early 1700s tithe maps as did the handful of other cottages at that point. We were then listed as a cottage and pightle although this structure is older than those listings by about a century.
Keeping prized and valuable animals safe close to the house was common. Plus they would have given off warmth. The space is about 4m x 4m so hardly small, and more than big enough for a few housecows and pigs or similar, not entire herds but a few creatures. The height is intriguing, some may say that it allowed the smells to rise up.

Within the external brick skin, there is a wooden frame, so it would've a more basic structure than currently, which is actually an early Victorian infill/covering.

The roof is older than the round-ish brick structure, by at least a century, so it is possible a small chimney could have been squeezed between the single pegged rafters, but no open fire as there are no soot traces. Also, the blacksmiths is elsewhere in the village, not to say it was the only one. There is a possible link to an early Georgian wheelwright, however then I would expect the structure to be actually circular rather then the slightly odd shape it holds.

If I can find the occupation of the widow with life rent granted from the estate on the house at a very similar time, I'm hoping that may shed some light...

I'm not sure we will find an actual answer, but still fun trying to work it out...!

Cubist
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Re: Georgian Hot Tub Time Machine??! what is this...

Post by Cubist » Sun 22nd Jul, 2018 8:43 am

Hi Kearn,

Thanks for sending the link to this thread; it has a strong appeal to the Sherlock in myself, and many others it seems.

Of the various theories I tend to favour the idea of an oven - but a rather large one. The foundation structure is similar to that used for kilns, forges and also for wood-burning ovens. However, the size suggests commercial rather than domestic use so my thinking is that yours may have been constructed for baked products offered for sale both locally and, more likely given the scale, in some of the market towns in your area. The various bones you have found also support this theory but the human ones do throw a curve into the mix - but not one, I hasten to add, incapable reconciliation.

My offer is that your home was at one time or another either the local equivalent of Greggs or perhaps a branch of the Sweeney Todd / Mrs. Lovett franchise.

This really is one for Sherlock - good luck with the investigation.

Kearn
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Joined: Fri 4th Dec, 2015 11:48 am
Location: Sonning, Berkshire

Re: Georgian Hot Tub Time Machine??! what is this...

Post by Kearn » Sun 22nd Jul, 2018 2:50 pm

Hi Cubist, as much as the idea of an historic Greggs amuses :lol: a broad 'we' largely ruled out certainly a bread oven for a few reasons - the indicated wealth of the house would imply the baked goods would've been brought into the property, plus the large bread ovens tended to be long rather than round by various accounts - to more easily spread the load of an arched roof we're told, than a large dome.
A more functional use in the 1700s could've been possible though, as the house was then tenanted and owned by the estate so it's original occupants were long gone. There is later century evidence of a wheelwright, but possibly 100 years after this was built (or the bricks were fired anyway) and you'd hope a wheelwright could fashion a round structure :D which this is definitely not!

To add to the challenge of anything being burned in this room, the structural frame and single pegged rafter roof is early 1600s and these odd foundations early to mid 1700s, and there is no evidence of soot deposits in the roof space, and no trace of piggy backing the inglenook flue against which this butts. I suppose a narrow chimney could've just squeezed through the rafters.

The foundations were certainly built for some strength and cost a bit too - but they aren't the only traces with more found beneath a small section of perimeter wall in this room and what looks like a short link between there and this shape... the plot thickens. Or more realistically for another day or the next person to remove the layers of floor I've added and scratch their heads!

We're fairly certain the bones are animal rather than human (many rabbit and some larger animal, broken/ butchered for eating) this was an animal shelter but their proximity to the inglenook was mostly directly at the side, which makes sense more than being related to this structure which is located behind the stack.

Cubist
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Re: Georgian Hot Tub Time Machine??! what is this...

Post by Cubist » Sun 22nd Jul, 2018 4:22 pm

My suggestion was a bit of a stretch I know but the only alternative I could think of was perhaps a small 'Bottle Kiln' used for pottery - but I could not come up with a rationale for the bones, other than the potters lunch/dinner/supper while minding the fire.

On balance I think I favour the idea of a Mrs Lovitt franchise - but su casa.

Have a good one.

Pennyviz
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Re: Georgian Hot Tub Time Machine??! what is this...

Post by Pennyviz » Sun 22nd Jul, 2018 4:38 pm

worms wrote:
Sun 18th Mar, 2018 6:53 am
Looks good!

What makes you think that the space was an animal shelter? Why would anyone go to the trouble and expense of building a fancy animal house that was so small, yet 4m high?

Is it possible that it might have been a blacksmith’s? The brick ring looks about the right size and shape for the base of the kiln.
Interestingly just had the beams of my house dated to 1330. which makes it probably a medieval longhouse, the roof extends well up into two floors but we have lost the cross passage and 3rd bay at some time. Apparently the 3rd bay on the other side of the cross passage was usually used for keeping animals, often called a shippon. So lots of precedent for high roofs and keeping animals close.


Penny

malcolm
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Re: Georgian Hot Tub Time Machine??! what is this...

Post by malcolm » Sun 22nd Jul, 2018 5:10 pm

Wow, that's really old @Penny. Where did you get the beams dated? I saved a couple of sections from a rotten gable and it would be interesting to know the date. I have a 100 year gap between no house on the maps and the first recorded tenant, and I can't figure out why they didn't build the chimney at the same time as they built the house as brick chimneys ought to have been the current technology.

The rooms are looking fabulous @Kearn. False ceilings seem to attract electrics and plumbing. It's a real pain to figure out how to re-route them when you want much the same effect but want to delete the easy option. Same trouble here exposing a magnificent Edwardian ceiling.

Kearn
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Location: Sonning, Berkshire

Re: Georgian Hot Tub Time Machine??! what is this...

Post by Kearn » Sun 22nd Jul, 2018 9:59 pm

Pennyviz wrote:
Sun 22nd Jul, 2018 4:38 pm
worms wrote:
Sun 18th Mar, 2018 6:53 am
Looks good!

What makes you think that the space was an animal shelter? Why would anyone go to the trouble and expense of building a fancy animal house that was so small, yet 4m high?

Is it possible that it might have been a blacksmith’s? The brick ring looks about the right size and shape for the base of the kiln.
Interestingly just had the beams of my house dated to 1330. which makes it probably a medieval longhouse, the roof extends well up into two floors but we have lost the cross passage and 3rd bay at some time. Apparently the 3rd bay on the other side of the cross passage was usually used for keeping animals, often called a shippon. So lots of precedent for high roofs and keeping animals close.


Penny
Hi Penny, I've stayed in a few longhouses in Dartmoor where thankfully a few remain. Really interesting buildings and a simple concept! I remember somewhere a statement about the equivalent fire wattage energy rating that a house cow would provide in warmth!!
Our place wasn't built with the same logic (and you've got a couple of centuries on us!) while we're on the top of the hill, the cottage was aligned running perpendicular to the slope. Although our shelter would've opened out logically into the pightle.

Kearn
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Re: Georgian Hot Tub Time Machine??! what is this...

Post by Kearn » Sun 22nd Jul, 2018 10:26 pm

Cubist wrote:
Sun 22nd Jul, 2018 4:22 pm
My suggestion was a bit of a stretch I know but the only alternative I could think of was perhaps a small 'Bottle Kiln' used for pottery - but I could not come up with a rationale for the bones, other than the potters lunch/dinner/supper while minding the fire.

On balance I think I favour the idea of a Mrs Lovitt franchise - but su casa.

Have a good one.
Haha! The bones next to the inglenook are probably a red herring, they're mostly the equivalent of left over KFC wrappers dropped in the carpark directly outside rather than anything sinister! What was more concentrated around the structure were the clay pipes, although these broke pretty readily and were discarded all the time so they say. Plus they're mostly older than the structure...

Yeah, we've called in various learned folks and wracked every brain we could and nothing makes logical sense when we dig (no pun intented!) into the details...! Nothing seems to add up!

Kearn
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Re: Georgian Hot Tub Time Machine??! what is this...

Post by Kearn » Sun 22nd Jul, 2018 10:35 pm

malcolm wrote:
Sun 22nd Jul, 2018 5:10 pm

The rooms are looking fabulous @Kearn. False ceilings seem to attract electrics and plumbing. It's a real pain to figure out how to re-route them when you want much the same effect but want to delete the easy option. Same trouble here exposing a magnificent Edwardian ceiling.
Cheers Malcolm, it's been a while coming, but all the work across these rooms has turned out even better than I had envisioned which is the best way!

You're right, ceilings are a lazy trade's friend! It doesn't help that both mains electric and water come in via this room, so spaghetti junction is as bad as it could be up there! We will need to do some remedial lime plastering in the current roof space once the false ceiling is down, so rerouting around the perimeter is feasible.
Our bigger challenge is the redundant Victorian stack sat clumsily on the inglenook shoulder, which needs to come out when the ceiling does, and then we're talking scaffold, roof repairs including the principal rafter on the original gable which had been shortened to sit against the stack.... Hence we've paused for a while to enjoy living in a home rather than building site!

Pennyviz
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Re: Georgian Hot Tub Time Machine??! what is this...

Post by Pennyviz » Mon 23rd Jul, 2018 10:08 am

malcolm wrote:
Sun 22nd Jul, 2018 5:10 pm
Wow, that's really old @Penny. Where did you get the beams dated? I saved a couple of sections from a rotten gable and it would be interesting to know the date. I have a 100 year gap between no house on the maps and the first recorded tenant, and I can't figure out why they didn't build the chimney at the same time as they built the house as brick chimneys ought to have been the current technology.
Hi Malcolm
it was Oxford Dendrology. However local vernacular historian set it up as some of the carpenters marks on the joints were Arabic numerals which ties in with a research interest of theirs. They need a few good samples ideally and were very happy that one of mine had bark on it still. I was surprised they got anything other than dead insects so result!


penny

george2019
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Re: Georgian Hot Tub Time Machine??! what is this...

Post by george2019 » Thu 10th Dec, 2020 7:36 pm

I know of two indoor wells in Victorian houses so I wouldn't dismiss it on those grounds.

But if you found the bottom then probably isn't a well.

Kearn
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Re: Georgian Hot Tub Time Machine??! what is this...

Post by Kearn » Thu 10th Dec, 2020 7:50 pm

george2019 wrote:
Thu 10th Dec, 2020 7:36 pm
I know of two indoor wells in Victorian houses so I wouldn't dismiss it on those grounds.

But if you found the bottom then probably isn't a well.
Gosh, a blast from the past!!

It certainly wasn’t a well - this house would’ve had no need for it to be indoors and this was built 100+ years after the structure it sits in, abutting the rear of the inglenook, way too large and as you said, the bottom wasn’t too far down - whether it was an intentional floor or not...? It’s almost certainly foundations for something, sitting on flint under the brick. Oddly I was reading about a house recently which had a very large bread oven complex in a similar location and dimensions to this, piggy backing the main flue.

It’s still bugging me...!

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