Its great to see the rooms in the cottage taking shape put the rain continues to pour in, making progress slow and wellies de rigour, is this really July?
I am writing to update you on the progress of the restoration of Lawson Park following the Parish Councils support of Grizedale Arts Planning Application.
Local company Leck Construction Ltd, were appointed as contractors in December ’07 following the tender process and began work on-site in mid January’08. The estimated programme for the work was forty weeks with a projected completion date of October
During the initial stages of the renovation a number of issues were revealed with the structure of the building. As we already knew additional barns and extensions had been added to the original cottage at a number of stages throughout the buildings history, but when the roof was removed it revealed that most of these additions had not been tied into the existing structure, making it difficult and potentially dangerous to carry out the alterations required. After much discussion, including consultation with the LDNP planning officers, it was agreed to stabilise the building and demolish and rebuild the critical unstable sections, retaining as much of the original structure as possible. As you know the property is not listed but Grizedale Arts are committed to restoring the building to retain the external appearance and character of the original building.
We have done a lot of research around the history of the buildings and site including reviewing public records, contacting previous residents and inviting the LDNP authorities conservation officer to visit the site and comment on our planned works. This is something we are keen to develop further and we would be very interested in any information or contacts you could provide that might give more of an insight into the historical use of Lawson Park. All of the information we have gathered to date is available on the Lawson Park website and we would welcome any suggestions or comment, http://www.lawsonpark.org/history
The Lawson Park project is monitored on a monthly basis by two groups, the Design Team; made up of the architects, consultants and the principal contractor and the advisory group; which represents the Grizedale Arts Board and local experts, if you would like to attend any of these meetings or be part of the advisory group we would be happy to for you to be involved.
Alongside the building work the land around Lawson Park is also being restored to productive use, including a kitchen garden and a forageable wildflower meadow. The wildflower meadow has recently been accepted into the Cumbria Upland Hay Meadows Project, which has involved it being surveyed by Cumbria Wildlife Trust including ensuring there has been no impact from the building works, the site is now being considered as a possible seed donor site.
Lawson Park will be open to the public on Sunday 24th August as part of the National Garden Scheme and this would be a great opportunity for anyone interested in visiting the site or finding out about the project to come and see us, please see our website or contact me directly if you would like any further information about this event.
I appreciate that it may appear quite extreme some of the work currently being carried out on the building but the majority of the demolitions, additional openings and changes of level are being undertaken to make the building accessible for the disabled, which is not only desirable for us but also a requirement of building control and our funders. In the long run the ambition is that this renovation will secure a productive future for Lawson Park, for many years to come.
Lawson Park will be officially opened in May 2009, we will be inviting specific groups, such as the Parish Council, in advance of this date to visit the project and look at ways in which people can get involved and benefit from this important resource.
Its nice to see the builders carrying on the old tradition of leaving their initials on the building, hopefully it'll be a long time before someone else re-discovers these.
Lawson park's 4 beehives are suffering from the bizarre spring and early summer weather here - 5 weeks without rain then 3 with nothing but.
We have to feed each colony a gallon of sugar water (in July !) to try and kickstart the queens' laying and get those girls out there again.
Adam illicitly climbed on top of Leck's site hut to take this picture of the garden. There's not a lot of flowers out yet as this is really a late summer part of the garden, but you can enjoy the lushness.
The bog garden we planted late last summer is developing rather gorgeously. As long as you ignore backdrop of the building site (behind me when I took this snap) you can revel in primulas - mooreana (that's the nonstop purple in the foreground) , florindae and bulleyana - hellebores, verbascum, ferns and hostas.
This area has called like a siren to our former gardener George Watson, whose now coming back in once a week!
Rather pleased with the way the 2 regenerated paddy fields are coming along. Soil was created from rotting down the cuttings and wood chippings from the field. This year is the first year of cultivation purely based on what we have been able to regenerate from the hill. Crops of Broad and French beans in one bed plus potatoes, cauliflower and sprouts in the other - each field is half sewn with green manure - alfalfa on this occasion.
At last the major demolitions are nearing completion and the majority of the building is ready for the new concrete floors to be poured on Monday, this means work can begin on re-building the walls and everyone should start to see a difference on the webcam.
This is what happens when you get a hole in your ground source heat pipes.. Sintec were back onsite this week to grout the pipes into the boreholes this involves pressure testing them first to make sure they'll work when the system is commissioned -good times. They couldn't get pressure in the last pipe which generally means theres a hole in it and they have to pull the 70m pipe out by hand and replace it -bad times