Monday, 21 February 2011

Your Starter for 10 - Kate's Bedroom

No 10 logo

This is the bedroom which my daughter, Kate, uses when she visits from London. Sadly, I don't have a "before" picture but suffice to say that it was decorated with woodchip wallpaper, painted orange, and had an orange carpet. The beams were covered in thick black paint.

Having stripped off the wallpaper, we used traditional lime plaster to repair the damp damaged walls and finished them with Farrow & Ball's Casein Distemper in All White, which enables the lime plaster to breathe.


We carefully stripped the beams back to the old oak, using repeated applications of non-caustic paste, and then fed the beams with wax:


We removed the carpet and the rotting underlay and found layers of chipboard nailed to the floor. We were delighted to find the old elm floorboards underneath, but they were in very poor condition. We had them carefully restored and waxed by Hicraft Wooden Flooring in Bristol. We also replaced the modern double doors on the cupboard with a new single door made from tongue and groove, with black strap hinges and latch. The new door was specially made for us by K T Home Improvements.


With a new oak bed, rattan lamps and bespoke artwork from May Queen Designs, today this is my favourite room:


Your Starter for 10 - The Outside

No 10

I recently dug out the estate agent's details from when we bought the house back in late 2004. Looking at the photographs, I realised that, although our big restoration project has yet to begin, we have actually made considerable progress during the past 6 years. So I thought I'd document what we started with and how far we have come.

This is how the outside of the house looked in 2004:

House 2004

During the past two years we have repainted the whole of the ground floor, using Farrow & Ball's House White (a pale yellowish off-white) to replace the black and white paint. We've also removed the ugly fake burglar alarm box which sat between the two windows on the first floor. The front door was repainted in blue, as suggested by my mother - thanks Mum, a good choice - and the black 1970s door furniture replaced with brass.

This is how the front of the house looks today:

The concrete render on the back and side of the house was in very poor condition. It had cracked and damp had penetrated and was dissolving the lime mortar which holds the stone walls together.

Render 2

The walls were sodden with damp and plants were growing on them underneath the render. The stone was beginning to crack and spall. We removed the render from the worst places and repaired and repainted the window frames, which were flaking and rotting:


Finally we removed the gates to the driveway, which dated back to the 1970s and were on their last legs:

Old gates 2

We replaced them with custom made gates from Country Style Supplies in Wickwar, once again painted in Farrow and Ball's House White:


All the work was done by an excellent local firm called K T Home Improvements.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

1751 Indenture

Back in December, Marian Pierre-Louis posted a comment on House History 1: 1690-1790 saying: "Any chance you could scan one of the old deeds and post it as a blog post? I would love to see what it looks like!"

Now that I have my new Flip-Pal scanner, I have been able to do just that. I took an original document measuring 20" x 24" and made 53 separate, overlapping scans. I then used the EasyStitch software, bundled with the Flip-Pal, to reassemble them into one large image. I am very pleased with the final result.

1751 Indenture 10 Horse Street cropped

This is the earliest deed that we possess. It dates from 1751 and it  is an indenture. An indenture was a legal contract which was written in duplicate on one sheet of paper. The copies were then separated by cutting along a wavy, indented line. Each party to the contract was given one half. The authenticity of the contract could be confirmed at a later date by fitting the two parts back together. You can see the wavy line at the top of the image.

I am sure that lawyers back then were paid by the yard, as the indenture contains an awful lot of legal padding around the "meat" of the contract. For that reason, I have not bothered to transcribe the whole thing but just extracted the following sections of interest:

This Indenture made the Fifth day of December in the Four and Twentieth Year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Second by the Grace of God of Great Britain France and Ireland King Defender of the Faith and so forth and in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Fifty One Between Jeremiah Russell of Yate and Arthur Walter of Old Sodbury both in the County of Gloucester Gentlemen Devised In Trust named in the last Will and Testament of Nicholas White late of Rodford in the Parish of Westerleigh in the said County of Gloucester mason deceased and Elizabeth White Widow Relict and Executrix of the said Nicholas White deceased of the one part and John Boddily of Chipping Sodbury in the said County of Gloucester Innholder of the other part Witnesseth that the said Jeremiah Russell Arthur Walter and Elizabeth White for and in Consideration of the Sum of Fifty Eight Pounds of Good and Lawfull money of Great Britain to her the said Elizabeth White in hand by the said John Boddily ... hath Granted Bargained Sold Aliend Remitted Released Conveyed and Confirmed ... unto the said John Bodilly ... All That Messuage Cottage Tenement or Dwellinghouse with the appurtenances wherein one Henry Wickham formerly dwelt and since in the Possession of John Clark but now of James Taylor as Tenant thereof Situate lying and being in Chipping Sodbury aforesaid in a Street there called Horse Street between a Tenement heretofore or late of Ann Somers on the Northside and a Tenement formerly of Henry Crew and since of Sicilly Wickham but now of Sarah Smith on the Southside which said Messuage Cottage Tenement or Dwellinghouse was some time since built and Erected by one Francis Cross and afterwards bought and Purchased in Fee by the said Nicholas White of and from David Clark and Mary his Wife who had before purchased the same of one John Clark and was then or heretofore called the Smith's Shop ...

1751 Indenture 10 Horse Street Elizabeth White signature

At the bottom of the indenture are the signatures and seals of Jeremiah Russell, Arthur Walter and Elizabeth White. It is interesting to see that Elizabeth, the widow of a property-owning craftsman, was able to sign her own name.