Restoration of the barn

In February 1973 Havering Council prepared a scheme of renovation, but a fire in July extensively damaged the central part of the thatched roof. This occasioned some delay but eventually repairs to the thatching were carried out by W.Geaney & Sons of Aveley, Essex and were completed in February 1975.

Restoration work was then commenced by the Council’s Public Works Division and completed by February 1976. Over the years the barn had been divided into three sections by timber partitions, extra entrances cut in the walls and part of the floor raised and planked. The restoration involved removing the partitions, stripping the cladding to expose the main structure, and levelling the floor. The old brickwork and timber base plates were removed and replaced with 2 ft. x 2 ft. re-inforced concrete foundations, engineering bricks and 8 in. x 8 in. oak plates. In the course of this work the spurious entrances were blocked and the original entrances restored or replaced.

Nearly all the internal wind braces had shrunk over the years and became loose. These were tightened with oak wedges. Phoenix Preservation Limited carried out woodworm eradication and recladding of the barn. Finally, Council electricians installed flood and spot lighting to achieve a ‘cathedral’ effect.