Repair and Restoration Project

Old School Room showing bulging south wall and eroded pointing

The building was constructed in 1617, is Listed Grade 2, and was designated as an Asset of Community Value by the Vale of White Horse District Council in March 2017. It is constructed of local chalkstone masonry on a rubblestone plinth, built off sarsen (silicified sandstone) stones at its base. The wall construction above the moulded plinth consists of an outer leaf of ashlar chalkstone, a rubble/mortar core, and an inner leaf of coursed chalkstone; the inner face of the outer leaf is not dressed (i.e. is irregular in form) and consists of varying depths of stone thus creating a bond between the facing ashlar and the core of the wall. The sarsen stones are exposed on the south elevation.

Repointing the ashlar blocks

 

During some minor repointing work in July 2017 it was brought to the attention of Uffington Parish Council  that the problems with the building were greater than had been anticipated – including that it might be unstable. The Parish Council quickly instructed Andrew Townsend Architects of Faringdon, who have much experience in dealing with historic and chalk buildings, and they in turn instructed Clive Halshaw Associates, Consulting Structural and Civil Engineers, to produce a detailed report. 

Extensive scaffolding was needed

 

Whilst the report showed us that the building was not going to fall down imminently, a great deal of work to the structure was essential to prevent that happening in the next year or so. The report showed evidence of movement in all four walls, open joints and cracks in the ashlar and moulded plinth, and defective rain water goods. Fortunately, the problems were confined to the external walls of the building, so very little work was required inside the building, and the Tom Brown’s School Museum was able to remain open throughout the summer of 2018, despite being shrouded in scaffolding for four months.

Protective winter skirt fitted

 

 

 

 

 

In December 2017 we also started a major fundraising initiative but needed to protect the damp wall during the winter months (see photo on right) until work could begin.

 

 

 

 

 

Keeping the new mortar cool and damp

 

 

Between December 2017 and May 2018 there was a lot of activity in working up all the specifications, costings, tender documents and submitting the planning application to the Vale District Council for Listed Building consent, in order to rectify all the problems. The opportunity was also taken to reduce the height of the chimney to its original level.  In early June 2018 J.B. Kerr Stone Repair & Conservation Services started work.

 

By the summer the weather had improved to the extent that it was necessary to dampen the new lime mortar to keep it cool whilst drying out!

New guttering installed

 

 

 

 

In addition to the wall repairs a gutter was fitted along the south side of the roof in order to keep water off the repaired wall and reduce the amount of damp inside the building and erosion of the soil at the bottom of the wall.

 

Jan Kerr’s firm proved to be an excellent choice for the work and they finished the job in early September.  

Work completed showing new pointing and guttering

 

 

 

 

If you think that the building after restoration (left) doesn't look very different to the past, that is a testament to the success of the restoration; the Old School Room, built in 1617 and given to the village in 1958, looks much the same as it ever did, but is now again fit for purpose and ready for the next phase of its life.

Fundraising 'thermometer' in place

 

 

 

 

The fact that we were able to start work on the project in the following June shows how quickly and generously so many individuals, charities, trusts and other organisations contributed to the appeal. The 'thermometer' shown was painted by a local artist.

 

 

Uffington Parish Council held an Open Day on Sunday 28 October 2018, to thank all those who had made a contribution – great or small - towards the restoration.

 

 

A list of the principal benefactors may be found below and is displayed in the museum inside the building; the list includes ‘The patrons of Uffington Shop’ because of the £850 placed in the collection box.

 

Adrian Swire Charitable Trust

 

 

Patrons of Uffington Shop

 

 

Compton Beauchamp Estates

 

Uffington Museum Trust

 

Friends of Tom Brown's School Museum

 

 

Uffington Parish Council

 

Lord Faringdon Charitable Trust

 

 

Vale of White Horse District Council

North Wessex Downs AONB LEADER programme

 

 

White Horse Show Trust

 

Oxfordshire Buildings Trust

 

 

William Delafield Charitable Trust

 

The Payne-Gallwey Charitable Trust

 

 

The Pilgrim Trust

European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development:

Europe investing in rural areas

Project ref: 109193

Site Updated 8 April 20

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