Dear Friends and volunteers,
We hope you are emerging unscathed from the lock down and adjusting to the ‘new normal’. The Trust has been doing just that, as you will read in this Newsletter.
You will see that, thanks to the perseverance and hard work of Trustee Peter Milner and our Executive Officer Lucy Godfrey, work has continued on Wingfield Station. And to Barry, Heather and Melissa, the walks and talks programme is beginning again.
It was my honour for many years to be the Technical Adviser to the Peak Park Trust and so it was with great delight that I received the suggestion from Sir Hugh and Lady Ruby Sykes, the lead Trustees, that we consider merging the two Trusts, the outcome of which is revealed below
There are further initiatives being actively pursued by others - the Derby Hippodrome, the potential Survey of Derbyshire’s Historic Buildings at Risk, and the emerging Historic Buildings Academy initiative, but you will have to wait until future newsletters to hear more about these.
Suffice it to say, there is much to do and we need all the volunteers we can get, both to support our Wingfield project and all the other initiatives we are pursuing. So, what ever your skills please contact Lucy and learn about how you can join our growing family of volunteers
Derek Latham (DHBT Chair)
(Banner image above from Wingfield Station - testing of a 'socially distanced' hard hat tour, 9th August 2020).
wingfield station - Project update
Over the past couple of months there has been a real focus on undertaking site surveys and investigations at Wingfield Station. You can read more about what we've been doing below. These surveys are critical to our project as they will help to guide the decision making process in terms of architectural, conservation and structural approaches and philosophies.
We've also tested out a 'socially distanced' tour/talk with some of the DHBT team. Peter Milner, the Project Lead (Trustee), did an excellent job giving attendees a succinct history of the site; encouraging them to 'step back in time' to the age of steam whilst standing inside the old Booking Hall - an experience only enhanced further by some clever sound effects!
We also used this pilot tour as a chance to gather some feedback on the kinds of themes and stories people would like to find out more about when we come to communicate the heritage of the site. We had some interesting comments - including some lovely ideas from our younger guests, who said they would like to find out about who worked at Wingfield Station and how many trains used the station in the past.
We'll be gathering together the outcomes of all our research towards the end of August and then look to share it via our website, social media channels, this newsletter and as part of our interpretation plan. We will also be working closely with our funders, particularly Historic England, to confirm our next steps.
DBA, whom we have commissioned to develop our Activity Statement (read more about what this involves in our May Newsletter here) will be picking up on consultation from September onwards; with a focus on talking to local groups and individuals and learning establishments including schools and colleges.
Wingfield station - surveys and research
As reported previously, DHBT has recently appointed Mel Morris of Mel Morris Conservation to produce an Outline Conservation Plan and a Heritage Impact Assessment for the Wingfield Station project.
To assist Mel and our Project Architect, James Boon of James Boon Architects, with their work, a number of surveys and investigations have recently taken place.
Because we couldn't have volunteers on site during this time, one of our first jobs was getting Derbyshire Tree Services to clear away the mass of self-seeded saplings and weeds that had grown up around the buildings during March - May. Following this a gentle scraping/clearance of the forecourt revealed a 13ft wide band of beautiful granite setts! The station neighbours told us that this was actually a hardstanding against a siding where colliery wagons were washed down.
We then erected external scaffolding on the forecourt side of the building to allow for a better inspection of the roof.
Having this scaffolding in place has allowed for a better understanding of the condition of the station roof and Price & Myers, the Structural Engineers, have also been able to get a good look at the chimney stacks. To determine the extent of structural repair/ replacement details for the roof timbers we have also undertaken a timber survey.
In order to inspect all of the main roof timbers more access was needed to get to truss ends, wall plates and purlins, so we had a tower scaffolding built internally. More of the ceiling was also carefully removed by conservation builders so that Tim Floyd (a timber specialist) could get a good look. Tim confirmed that water is still coming into the building and much of the softwood structure is damp wet – but still not decayed. This will not last and, if left unprotected, a magnitude of decay will increase from this point forward – exponentially. Tim has provided DHBT with guidelines on exposure, drying and a repair/replacement strategy.
Catherine Hassall (pictured right with Mel Morris), an architectural paint specialist, also made use of the scaffold to give an overview of the decorative paint schemes both inside and outside. Her findings will help us to programme a suite of works of 'authentic restoration'. Catherine's findings have also been corroborated by Philip A Gaches, a plaster expert, who believes that the pink floating coat within the ceiling plasterwork is a locally sourced red soft building sand and non-hydraulic lime binder.
Other surveys carried out over the past few weeks have included: a ground stability test to confirm that the Network Rail land trackside of the Station has the load bearing capacity to support the scaffolding proposed and to confirm that the Station and Parcel Shed structures are able to support the imposed load of the scaffolding without risk of collapse; an asbestos survey; bat and ecology surveys and a topographical survey. We just have the drain and tree surveys left now before we move onto finalising the scheme ahead of submitting a Planning Application.
CALLING ALL VOLUNTEERS
Fancy helping to paint our new (to us!) site cabin?
A couple of weeks ago we accepted delivery of a site cabin at Wingfield Station - which we'll soon need for meetings and storage. Many thanks to Alan of 'Alan Warne Building Services' for his assistance with this.
Now that we've tested out 'socially distanced' tours on site, we are keen to start safely engaging volunteers with the project. Although it may not be the most exciting of tasks, we are looking for a small number of volunteers who would like to help us to spruce the cabin up and give it a lick of paint!
Many of you have already filled in a Volunteer Enquiry Form and expressed an interest in getting involved. If you have the time to spare during August/early September to pick up a paintbrush, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Don't worry - if we are over-run with offers, there will be other opportunities coming up soon. We are also looking to set up small group tours for volunteers to visit the site and find out more about the project. Watch this space!
willersley castle visit, july 2020
Despite most of the DHBT Visits Programme for 2020 having to be postponed, we were able go ahead with our guided tour of Willersley Castle on Sunday 24th July.
Following a detailed risk assessment, tour leaders Barry Joyce MBE and Doreen Buxton, joint authors of the Willersley Castle Research Paper, explained to attendees how the former landscape in which the Castle is located was transformed from fields to a highly picturesque setting.
Willersley Castle was commissioned by the revolutionary industrialist, Sir Richard Arkwright (once he had been knighted) to be his 'seat'. He chose a splendid location near to, but out of sight of, his Cromford and Matlock Bath mills and appointed a 'cut price' architect to ape Robert Adam's new 'gothic baronial' style for his 'castle'.
Prior to the visit going ahead, DHBT were informed of the sad news that the Methodist Guild Hotels group had decided it must sell Willersley Castle. As a consequence the property has been mothballed prior to a sale, so the visit was limited to a viewing of the Castle exterior and a walk around the Parkland. Despite these limitations, thanks to the co-operation of all those attending; the fantastic support of DHBT volunteers Heather and Melissa; and the sun peeping through the grey clouds, a most enjoyable afternoon was had by all.
exciting new era for dhbt
Derbyshire Charitable Trusts Merge
Two of the county's oldest heritage Trusts - DHBT (established 1974) and the Peak Park Trust (established 1987) have merged; signalling a new era for DHBT.
The Peak Park Trust (PPT) was formed by Sir Hugh and Lady Sykes of Brookfield Manor, Hathersage, for the purpose of conserving buildings and places at risk. These buildings would then be used for the benefit of residents, visitors and businesses in the Park.
PPT helped restore ancient footways over the moorlands to reduce their erosion, whilst improving the experience for walkers. It investigated the nature of deprivation in the Park, which led to the provision of the first computer-based office development in the Hope Valley. This was to be situated in a 'telecottage', so that local people could be trained in new business IT skills.
In 1991 PPT persuaded Blue Circle Industries to grant them a long lease on Eccles House Farm near Hope - a then derelict farm complex dating back to 1814 - which the PPT then restored and converted to business units. Work was completed by 1992 and since that time, Eccles House Farm has been the home to many local business start-ups and developing companies.
In 2019, the PPT trustees felt that the time had come to step back from managing the Trust and approached the DHBT to discuss a possible merger. Given that the two organisations shared similar objectives, the respective trustees readily agreed to the proposal.
The DHBT has now taken on the ownership and management of Eccles House Farm and will continue the work of the PPT in rescuing and reusing historic buildings 'at risk' for the benefit of people in the Peak Park.
Derek Latham (DHBT Chairman) said, 'This merger strengthens the ability of the DHBT to help owners and the community who use our historic assets, throughout Derbyshire and the Peak, now and in perpetuity.'