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… other timber structures

Introduction

I have always found wood to be an attractive and versatile material. My grandfather used to bring me a bag of off-cuts and ½ a pound of nails when he came to dinner on a Friday. The love of wood this engendered in me is one of the reasons for my interest in barns and why I have added this section to include not just timber-framed buildings but also timber roofs, granaries, dovecotes etc.

In the past, timber-framed buildings were common wherever there was a shortage of good, local building stone. So they are plentiful on the Cheshire plain, the Welsh borders and the Severn Valley, the Midland plain, East Anglia and south-east England including Wiltshire and Hampshire.

The majority have not survived because they were vulnerable to fire, decay, neglect or changes in technology. Even where good building stone was available, timber might be used for status, fashion or for other structures such as windmills, cart sheds, dovecotes, granaries, bridges etc..

Timber has one big advantage, it is a renewable resource and in the twenty-first century, timber framing is becoming popular again, with modern wood-bonding techniques, the desire to restore those buildings that remain and the need for renewable resources.

Timber frames are very adaptable. In the eighteenth century  they were “modernised” by putting a facade on the side of the house facing the road, either by filling in below the jetty or even cutting off the jetty! If you go into a shop or cafe in many high streets you can still see the timber frame behind the facade.

useful websites

Timber roof, Hospital of St.Thomas, Canterbury

timber-framed cart shed
Weald & Downland Museum

Timber-framed granary & cartshed Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings

British Listed Buildings

History in Structure

“House in the sky” Thorpeness

Net lofts, Hastings

In the late twentieth century many timber-framed barns were converted into dwellings as it is quite easy to fit doors, windows and extra floors into the existing frame. This along with the loss of these buildings to fire, decay and changes in farming mean the at fewer and fewer survive. I have spent the last fifteen years travelling round Britain and the Continent photographing historic structures. I hope that, along with the many open air museums around Europe, my photographs will help develop greater interest in these structures.

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