Deene Park Works 2017
During 2017 Brudenell Estates have embarked on Phase One of a major refurbishment programme for Deene Park.
This work involves almost the complete renewal of the roof, the rebuilding of many of the chimneys, essential works to the masonry and refurbishment of the South Elevation and Courtyard. This is why the building is shrouded in scaffolding. The programme of work will take approximately ten months to complete and we hope to have the project finished by December 2017.
The project is being overseen by local Surveyors BSM Noble (Peterborough) and historic building specialist Messenger Construction of Stamford is undertaking the works to the building. Messenger Construction specialise in high quality conservation and construction, repair and renovation projects. The Messenger team have a great wealth of experience in working on Grade I properties such as Deene Park.
Many of the Craftsmen on this site are directly employed by Messenger Construction and have worked together for over twenty years on such projects. Despite this disruption, these works are essential in order to maintain the fabric of Deene Park, so that visitors can continue enjoying this historic property for many generations to come.
The roof was originally traditionally detailed comprising a series of double pitched roofs with traditionally detailed lead lined gutters. During the 1950/60s the roof structure was modified and collars were fitted to the trusses and the apex of the trusses cut off and removed.
A flat roof deck was created with timber joists and boards, covered with a relatively modern 3 layer bituminous felt. This was probably done following prolonged problems with leaks from the original gutters and this was perceived as the most cost effective solution at the time.
At this time as the felt roof began to fail, a decision was taken to overlay this with a lead flat roof. This was formed on top of the felt with the deck comprising timber joists and a chipboard decking. Chipboard is not suitable for such an application.
The design of the lead roof and structure was flawed – inadequate falls; sizes of individual bays too large; no ventilation to the underside of the lead coverings. As a result, a long history of problems with water penetration as the chipboard decking failed as a result of water penetration and condensation – when exposed, much of the chipboard had completely disintegrated leaving the lead self-supporting and sagging between the joists.
Fortunately the retention of the three layer felt system prevented most of the penetrating rain finding its way to the timber deck/structure and internal finishes. Without this layer, the damage to the timber roof structure and internal finishes would have been much more extensive and earlier intervention would have been necessary.
The new lead roof is being installed to meet current design guides from the Lead Sheet Association too include increased falls, smaller bay sizes, insulation and ventilation to the underside of the lead.
After years of inappropriate short term repairs a comprehensive repair scheme is being implemented using replacement timber sections and modern resin repairs systems. The aim is to leave the windows in repair and fully operational while retaining as much of the historic fabric as possible.
Again the aim is to retain as much of the historic fabric as possible with localised repointing, pinning and repairing defective individual sections of masonry plus replacing where beyond repair.
One of the main problems is corrosion of ferrous cramps installed during the original construction. These are corroding, expanding and splitting the stones. This will be a continuing problem requiring periodic repairs.
This was a six-week programme to set up. Luckily the weather this winter was surprisingly clement so there were few delays except for Storm Doris which delayed the erection of the canopy. Work has been done to ensure that the scaffolding does not damage the important flower beds on the South Front. As roses in particular, if disturbed, are not replaceable for a number of years great care has been taken to inflict as little damage as possible.
The scaffolding in the courtyard originally devised as two small towers has ended up being smothered as the need for extra buttressing emerged to hold the canopy safely.
Despite this the interior of the house has been little inconvenienced and we hope that members of the public will find that the visit inside the property has changed little.