Monday, 2 February 2015

Visits Around Hull Part 1: A Visit to Blaydes House

Happy New Year (very belated I know)!
Now we are going to start this year with a multi-part mini-series – exciting! Over the next few months I will be visiting various buildings in Hull to investigate all things FJ related. As well as allowing me to escape the office for a while, my purpose is to undertake research and collect photographs for a top secret reason that has something to do with the project launch in August this year…

Recently I visited Blaydes House on High Street to see some of FJ’s handiwork.
View of Blaydes House
In 1989 the Georgian Society for East Yorkshire commissioned the firm to undertake restoration work to the external elevations of the building. This included the replacement of guttering, repainting, joinery repairs, alterations to windows, and restoration of columns and cornice work on the entrance portico. They also requested that a condition survey of the building be undertaken prior to the commencement of work on an adjacent site.
I was shown around by the very helpful Martin Wilcox, a lecturer for Hull University whose department is currently based at the property. One aspect that struck me was the triptych window at the centre of the rear elevation. If you read the December blog last year, you might remember that I visited Burton Agnes Hall before Christmas? 
Well, two windows designed and installed during FJ’s restoration work of the Long Gallery at Burton Agnes were very much similar to this one. It was also similar to a matching pair in the Georgian chapel at the Charterhouse in Hull. To the untrained eye, I could not tell the difference between the original windows and FJ’s Burton Agnes design. 
Entrance hall with the triptych window
As I’ve come to expect, the result of the restoration work undertaken was perfectly in keeping with the authenticity of the building. Not only was architectural style taken into account, but great care seemed to have been taken in the selection of appropriate materials. Further research led me to a schedule of repairs to be undertaken which showed that great care was taken to preserve old glass, re-use sash weights and ironmongery, and precisely match plasterwork mouldings.
The work to the building appeared to be authentic in another way too. During the Georgian period, there was a trend amongst wealthy merchants and landowners for commissioning architects to redesign the external elevations of older townhouses so that they appeared to have been built in line with the architectural fashions of the day. 
However, this being quite a costly enterprise, less visible elevations were usually left untouched. When walking around the building’s interior I came across one room where the windows did not appear to have been restored. When back outside on the pavement I noticed that this particular room was not visible from the street of any potential access point. Maybe this wasn’t intentional but I like to think it’s in keeping with the Georgian way of thinking!
Stay tuned to the blog to find out where else I’ll be visiting and to see if you can guess what this is all about…

Claire Weatherall, 
Project Archivist

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