A Little bit about me...

I'm a Structural Engineer, specialising in conservation, at Hurst Peirce + Malcolm in London. I don't wear tweeds, am not particularly "cultured" and I'm not that old, but I do care passionately about the conservation of old buildings. I am a Chartered Structural Engineer, a member of The SPAB (formerly on the founding committee of the reborn Berks, Bucks & Oxon Regional Group), a Friend of SAVE Britain's Heritage and have recently completed a PD Diploma in conservation at West Dean College, with a view to achieving CARE accreditation. I hope to give you regular updates on my trials and tribulations as well as some insight into projects I am involved with and things I believe in.

Be patient with me - I'm no writer and I'm normally up to my eyeballs at work........

All views expressed here are my own.

Hurst Peirce + Malcolm, Celtic House, 33 John's Mews, Holborn, London WC1N 2QL

07854 624692 - richardsalmon9@gmail.com

Saturday, 2 March 2013

In at the deep end

Well here we are, two months into the new job at HP+M. Hard work but loving it (apart, maybe, from the commute, but I'm slowly getting used to that - thank goodness for books and portable music).

Anyway, my first major project is the Grade I listed Cannington Court, in Cannington, Somerset. Originally a Benedictine Nunnery founded in c.1138, extensively remodelled and extended by new owners post-Reformation and again at various times since, culminating in a very unsympathetic set of alterations in the 1920's including lots of concrete.

The scheme involves repairs and alterations to Cannington Court and its associated curtilage buildings, plus drainage and external works, to create a training campus for a large company, who are funding the (budgeted) £18m project, even though Bridgwater College are the freeholders of the site.

All works are being done in such a way as not to affect the day-to-day operations of the adjoining Walled Garden, a popular visitor attraction.

A swathe of external envelope and structural heritage repairs have already been carried out under the advice of my CARE accredited colleague (and now mentor) Andrew Dutton, so my role from here on in is to supervise the remaining structural repairs and deal with any new issues that arise as opening up works continue, as well as designing the proposed works to the retained curtilage buildings, plus the new swish glulam and glass showpiece 'Brassage' (cafeteria) building.

Some excellent work on exploratory investigations and masonry repairs is ongoing with Sally Strachey Historic Conservation ( @SSHConservation on Twitter). I hope to do an update at some point where I can show you some structural repairs of my own design rather than someone else's.

The proposed scheme (the church is not included in the works).

Cannington Court, not so long ago.
(image courtesy of Images of England/English Heritage)

Priory Barn on the left. Recently restored and in use by Bridgwater College.

Priory Lodge. 1930's building currently proposed to be mostly gutted and rebuilt inside (but not if I get my way - and recent discussions on "value engineering" mean I might get my way!)

Cannington Court today in the background with its over-roof scaffold. Dairy block building in the foreground. Plans to remove more recent additions you can see here and create additional usable space, but in a more complementary style.

The second big project plonked on my desk is at Somerset House in London, also Grade I listed. Not one of the sections around the main courtyard, but the "New" West Wing (fronting Lancaster Gate) This one is just at feasibility stage, but we are busy looking at possible alterations that can be done relatively cheaply and sympathetically, which will inform the Trust's plans for future use of the space once HMRC vacate the building.

What makes this one interesting is that we have discovered this wing was built as a long terrace of Georgian townhouses (Chambers c.1780), facing into a narrow courtyard, then the backs were ripped off by Pennethorne c.1850 and rebuilt with the Portland stone facade you see today.

"New" West Wing of Somerset House, facing onto Lancaster Place.
Enough for now. Will try and keep you posted on progress.....