2017 E.W. Pugin didn’t not build all of the Granville Hotel
(Ramsgate, Kent)

Granville Hotel
The Granville Hotel today (SW view)

The destroyed part of an historic Hotel – the Granville (Edward Welby Pugin) - required a desk-based assessment prior to planning permission. Extensive shapeless ruins survived within the site. An external walk-over and map-regression exercise was carried out to make sense of these. The examination of historic topographic records and secondary documentary sources showed that the remains supported the concert and banqueting halls (demolished in 1983). Documentary research demonstrated that these buildings were the work of a lesser figure than E.W. Pugin; this introduced more freedom into the proposed development than might have been the case.

2014 Unravelling the ‘Ice House’ dry dock
(Ramsgate, Kent)

‘Ice House’ dry dock
The ‘Ice House’ dry dock and its surroundings in the 1950s
(© KCC)

Conservation of this dry dock (traditionally thought to have been built by the engineer John Smeaton in 1788) required a desk-based assessment first for Thanet District Council. Photographic and ‘minimal-drawn’ survey allowed comparison of the dock with unpublished sources in the Royal Society Library and the Institute of Civil Engineers. The analysis showed that Smeaton’s dry dock was entirely replaced under the supervision of Rennie in the period 1815-7; the original having seriously deteriorated in the intervening period. The replacement occurred in tandem with sluice reconstruction and improvement to the Cross Wall to the Basin. The construction of the Morton Patent Slipways in 1838 meant the Dry Dock eventually fell out of use. This research is now available to researchers - Samuel, M.W., (2018), "The Ramsgate Dry Dock: Smeaton or Rennie?, A Developmental History" The Proceedings of the Fifth Conference of the Construction History Society, pp 327-44

2014 More Thornhill frescoes at Bower House?
(Havering, Essex)

Bower House
The Garden front of Bower House, Havering
(© Ramboll)

Application for proposed ‘enhancement of accommodation’ in this early Grade-2* listed work of Flitcroft (1729) required a methodical archaeological re-assessment of fabric. This building contains a cycle of Thornhill frescoes on the main stair. Many unrecorded interventions have been carried despite the listing. The most exciting discovery is that further paintings may survive behind ?19th-century panelling in the Ground Floor. Other intriguing survivals include traces of Regency wallpaper in the Ballroom, as well as the doorways to lost close-stool closets from the Back (servants’) Staircase. The tradition that a medieval hunting lodge was demolished to provide stone was vindicated by the presence of re-used building stone in wine cellar walls.

2014 The George Inn, Great Missenden – ‘old?’ or ‘not old?’

George Inn
The George Inn, Great Missenden
(© Amplio Developments)

A grade-2 listed medieval timer-framed inn and ‘barn’ were examined over a week in advance of planning negotiations by a major consultancy on behalf of the developers. The assessment illustrated that the ‘pub’ component of the Inn (ground floor) contained little original medieval fabric. Surviving medieval fabric above and below shows that the house was not built as an inn but originated as a high-status mercantile house in the 14th century. The ‘Barn’ originated as a stable block with a ?manorial court at first-floor level. The buildings can be regarded as surviving components of a larger courtyard complex; its origins manorial. Its function as an Inn probably developed due to the proximity of a major priory.

2013 ?Vanbrugh’s barn discovered at Stowe school

Vanbrugh-period brickwork
Vanbrugh-period brickwork emerged from below many layers of plaster
(© Stowe House Preservation Trust)

Stowe was originally far more than a home: it formed the centre of a great agricultural estate on the model of Palladio’s designs. Adaptation to form new teacher accommodation required major interventions to an overlooked building in one of these yards. We worked in attendance with the builders over a key period of the interventions and the complex history of the building soon became apparent. It originally formed part of one of a pair of symmetrical farmyards forming part of Vanbrugh’s complex. This purpose-built barn had gates for carts, a threshing floor and an array of simple but beautifully-proportioned brick windows. The famous ‘Gough drawing’ (1722) is likely to be a presentation drawing - rather than an exact record of what was built (The extant campanile and existing first floor were only executed at a later date). Mark is currently in consultation with the Stowe expert Dr Michael Bevington on the significance of the findings and their possible dissemination.

2012 Throwing Hitler’s forces back into the sea with fire
(Ramsgate, Kent)

Wartime image of Pegwell Bay
Wartime image of the defences of Pegwell Bay (John Guy)

Sea defence construction led to the recognition and recording of a forgotten WW2 fougasse (flame defence) and a whole associated defensive infrastructure now lost to view. The revetted concrete structure contained stacked oil drums containing a petrol/gas air mix. A sunken pump room, remote storage tanks and multiple feed pipes distributed the mix through pipes. Only the basis of the structure now exists under a modern garage. All written records are ?destroyed/lost; but aerial photography and comparative analysis allowed the lost surrounding defensive infrastructure to be reconstructed on plan. This was the first listing of WW2 above-ground defences in Thanet. As such, it formed the subject of AA outreach at a Thanet Archaeology Trust lecture (2014).