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Echoed Locations- Recording the Sounds of the Chilterns

Help record the sounds of the Chilterns

Noise. Something which is all around us and we mostly tune into either when it is an annoying sound (someone else’s music on the train, fighter jets overhead, rush hour traffic) or when we want to tune out of the environment around us (by plugging into a podcast or our favourite music). But what about all the noise we are not listening to, but which could have huge benefits for our mental health and wellbeing? This is where Echoed Locations comes in- a project aiming to create the first ever sonic map of the Chilterns.

Chilterns Conservation Board Echoed Locations

Initiated by the Chilterns Conservation Board as part of the Chalk, Cherries and Chairs Landscape Partnership, the project aims to create a sonic map of the Chilterns, which can be used as a resource for years to come. The project has designed sound recording workshops- available to local schools and community groups- which focus first on attentive listening, before moving on to practical and accessible sound recording techniques. The project aims to encourage residents, visitors and especially young people to contribute to the sonic map- but it isn’t just natural sounds that can be submitted.

You could record any of the following (and probably plenty we haven’t thought of) as part of the project:

  • Bird song in your local park
  • Rush hour traffic in Wycombe
  • Reading a poem
  • Singing a song
  • Interviewing your friend, or family member about what makes the Chilterns special to them
  • Rain on a windowpane
  • The babble of a little stream as it passes through a park
  • The chatter of children as they walk to school

When you read this list, hopefully you are thinking about just how many seemingly ordinary sounds like these are what make the Chilterns a unique and special place to live. Echoed Locations was developed because soundscapes (the overall sound ‘picture’ of a place) are unique and important and inform how we feel about a place. When you step off the bus as you arrive home, it is not just the smell of your neighbours’ garden or the sight of your front gate that makes you feel at home- it is likely also the steady hum of a radio nearby, your mother’s voice calling you inside, far away traffic rumbling by. It is only when these sounds are lost from our day-to-day lives do, we really begin to listen- for example, when you arrive in a wood where no birds are singing- it feels odd and we notice the absence of a familiar sound.

As the world around us changes, with increased urbanisation, big industrial projects and climate change, now is the perfect opportunity to record the soundscape of the Chilterns, as a legacy for generations to come. Soundscape recordings are increasingly being used by scientists around the world to monitor the health and biodiversity of natural environments, and this alone is a great reason to get outside and start contributing to this first ever sonic map of the Chilterns.

We want to stress, that no prior knowledge of sound recording is required to get involved! You can read a short ‘Sound Recording Top Tips’ document, as well as submit recordings and access our sonic map on the Chiltern Conservation Board’s website

So please submit your recordings (old or new) which represent sounds across the Chilterns that mean something to you and make this beautiful region feel like home. Recordings should be a minimum of 30 seconds long, and no longer than 10 minutes in total.

If you are interested in having a sound recording workshop held at your school or community group, please get in touch with Elizabeth Buckley on lbuckley@chilternsaonb.org .


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The Colne Valley Regional Park

Chiltern Open Air Museum is part of the Colne Valley Regional Park. The area boasts beautiful walks and other beauty spots and places to visit. Alex Gaffney, PR and Communications Manager, at the Colne Valley Park Business Centre tells us about what the Regional Park has to offer.

Colne Valley Regional Park

The Colne Valley Regional Park

Forty-three square miles of water, woodland, farmland and villages from Rickmansworth in the North of the Valley, down to Staines in the South. The region is the first large taste of countryside to the West of London. The Colne Valley Park offers a huge variety of sights and scenery from the Grand Union Canal to our many nature reserves and from our stunning Country Parks to over 60 lakes and water ways.

Colne Valley Regional Park Winter Walks

There is so much to do and explore in this beautiful region, our top attractions include; Chiltern Open Air Museum, Rickmansworth Aquadrome, , The Colne Valley Park Visitor Centre, Hillingdon Outdoor Activity Centre, Denham Aerodrome, The Ankerwycke Estate (National Trust), Little Britain Lake, Batchworth Lock Canal Centre, as well as our many Country Parks, water sport venues and Nature Reserves. We also have 18 wonderful circular walks which allow you to explore the Regional Park and enjoy all the hidden gems.

Colne Valley Regional Park - Grand Union Canal

Please visit our website for more information on things to do, places to go and our circular walk www.colnevalleypark.org.uk

Follow us to hear all about our latest events, activities and news.
Facebook @colnevalleypark
Twitter @Colne_Valley
Instagram colnevalleyregionalpark

Colne Valley Regional Park Heron

We offer a world of opportunities for people and families to connect with their countryside and get close to nature. Please do come and explore this vibrant Regional Park soon.

Alex Gaffney
PR and Communications Manager
Colne Valley Park Business Centre


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Chalk Cherries and Chairs Landscape Partnership

Be a part of the new Chilterns Summer Festival in 2020

Our friends, The Chilterns Conservation Board, are running a new Heritage Lottery Funded project called Chalk, Cherries and Chairs Landscape Partnership. As part of this project they are running an exciting Chilterns Summer Festival in 2020, to help promote the Chilterns and its unique heritage and landscape. Chiltern Open Air Museum are taking part in it and you can get involved too!

Are you a local artist/ business/ organisation or just someone who loves a good day out in the Chilterns?

Chilterns Summer Festival Blacksmith at COAM

As part of the brand-new Heritage Lottery Funded Chalk, Cherries and Chairs Landscape Partnership, the Chilterns Summer Festival offers a 9-day schedule of fun, educational and family friendly events across the Central Chilterns.

Chalk, Cherries & Chairs (CCC) is an ambitious five-year scheme which aims to connect local people to the wildlife and cultural heritage of the Central Chilterns. The scheme operates under three themes – wildlife, heritage and people – each project that falls under these three themes are all designed with the Chilterns landscape in mind. There will be no less than eighteen interweaving projects which share common threads, including volunteering, learning and digital media. The scheme will also provide small grants to encourage community initiatives.

Chilterns Summer Festival Chilterns Conservation Board

The CCC aims to engage and empower local communities in the Chilterns, while conserving the breath-taking character of this region we call home. From 13 – 21 June 2020, the CCC will be putting on a wide range of fun and informative events, to bring communities together and ensure everyone has a great time celebrating the Chilterns and its unique heritage and landscape. 

What kind of events will the festival include?

  • Brewery tasting and tours
  • Outdoor cinema events
  • Guided walks
  • Cherry themed events
  • Family-fun days in town centres
  • Light shows and installations
  • Adventure suppers
  • Music and dance performances
  • And much more!

The Chilterns Conservation Board are very excited to be working with lots of local businesses, farmers, and community groups on this new festival (which will run annually until 2024) and would love to work with more as well.

Chilterns Summer Festival

What are they looking for?

  • Volunteers (to help at town centre events, first aid, stewarding, communications help, etc)
  • Local businesses who want to: host an event, sponsor an event, showcase their products, have a stall at one of the events
  • Community groups, to work with them on unique community centred events that reflect a community’s needs and interests
  • Sponsors: these events will be advertised across the Chilterns and offer a great opportunity to gain widespread exposure for your brand and business in this region. Sponsorship is flexible and CCB are happy to discuss arrangements which work for both parties.

Further Information:

If you would like to find out more about the Chalk, Cherries and Chairs projects, you can visit the CCB website

To learn more about the festival and upcoming events or volunteering opportunities, sign up for their newsletter

For any further information, or press opportunities, please contact Elizabeth Buckley, Communications and Community Engagement Officer of the CCC on lbuckley@chilternsaonb.org


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Countryfile and Harvest

Chiltern Open Air Museum to Feature on the BBC’s Countryfile

On the 19th September the BBC’s Countryfile visited the Museum to find out more about Harvest and its traditions.

At the heart of the Museum is a working historic farm with arable fields and livestock that is run (as much as possible) using traditional methods and equipment. The farm has the equivalent of two full time staff and is supported by a large team of wonderful volunteers.

Countryfile Filming at Chiltern Open Air Museum

Countryfile presenter, Helen Skelton, interviewed the Museum’s Farm Team to find out how they restored a beautiful pink 1947 Ransomes threshing machine and the role the machine would have played in farming history.

The programme also features our apple orchard, where each tree is a different heritage variety. Helen chatted to volunteer, Keith Baggaley, about the different types of apple and how they are harvested and then pressed into apple juice that is then sold at the Museum.

Apple orchard at COAM

Our red tin chapel, from Henton, was decorated in beautiful straw plait sculptures made by straw plaiters and volunteers, Heather Beeson and Veronica Main. Helen chatted to Veronica about the art of straw plaiting and the important part it played in a traditional Harvest.

Helen Skelton and the Countryfile crew were absolutely lovely to work with and really friendly and genuinely interested in the work that the team here do.

You can watch the show on BBC iplayer

Straw Sculptures

 


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Endangered Crafts

Endangered crafts COAM

We’ve all heard of endangered animals but have you heard of endangered crafts?

The UK has an amazing range of heritage skills and crafts some of which the Chilterns are known for, such as chair making, but sadly the knowledge of how to do some of these skills are becoming endangered.

The Heritage Crafts Association received a grant in 2015, to enable them to assess the viability of traditional heritage crafts in the UK. Their research has led to them publishing a red list of endangered crafts. They hope their research will help to shine a light on these dying skills and act as a call to action to those who have it within their power to resolve or alleviate these issues. The hope is that their project will mark the start of long-term monitoring of heritage craft viability and a shared will to avoid the cultural loss that is borne each time a craft dies.
See what crafts are on the red list

Endangered crafts straw hats

Chiltern Open Air Museum doesn’t only rescue and protect physical buildings, but the stories and traditions connected to the people who inhabited them. Onsite we try to carry out as many traditional practices and skills as possible, some, such as hurdle making, are used as par by the team who maintain the site, others, such as rag rug making, are taught and demonstrated in school workshops and events, and some skills are shared in the form of workshops and experience days. We are proud that we now offer ten different experience days or workshops that encompass traditional skills and techniques. Our aim is to be able to offer more opportunities for people to learn traditional skills in the future.

Endangered crafts working with straw

Working with straw and corn dolly making are one of the traditional skills listed on the Heritage Crafts Associations list of endangered crafts. The Museum is very fortunate that skilled straw practitioner, Heather Beeson has agreed to run Working with Straw experience days at the Museum to teach and pass on this beautiful skill to new people. We offer a variety of straw workshops for varying skill sets from complete beginners to those with a little more experience as well as courses suitable for children. Heather also runs mixed skills sessions for those who might be working on their own straw projects but would like a little guidance or support.

Other experience days and workshops that we offer are still viable crafts. Those on the viable list are deemed to have sufficient numbers of knowledgeable craftspeople who are able to pass it on to the next generation. However, these will only remain viable if there are opportunities and exposure to inspire and encourage people to learn them.

We currently run the following experience days and skills:

Working with Straw
Blacksmithing
Historic Baking
Historic Cooking
Willow Weaving and Sculpture
English Folk Singing
Family Prehistory
Watercolour and Sketching
Mindfulness

Experience days can be purchased via our website shop or via our ticket office.

Endangered Crafts Blacksmithing at COAM

In the future, using our traditional bodgers area, we hope to be able to have demonstrations and workshops on the endangered crafts of broom making, hurdle making, pole lathe bowl turning and rake making.

HCA Chair Patricia Lovett MBE said: “Traditional crafts are a vital part of the UK’s intangible cultural heritage (ICH)… not our monuments and historical artefacts, which are already well-protected by heritage professionals, but the living knowledge, skills and practices used to create them… along with many of the other things we treasure in this country. While we campaign for the UK to ratify the UNESCO Convention on ICH safeguarding (we are one of only 18 countries in the world that hasn’t), we will continue to catalogue our endangered craft heritage and focus attention on that which we are in danger of losing, so paving the way for the UK to join the rest of the world in protecting this important element of our shared culture.”

About the Heritage Crafts Association

Founded in 2009 by a small group of makers and those interested in craft, the Heritage Crafts Association (HCA) is the advocacy body for traditional heritage crafts. Working in partnership with Government and key agencies, it provides a focus for craftspeople, groups, societies and guilds, as well as individuals who care about the loss of traditional crafts skills, and works towards a healthy and sustainable framework for the future. Our aims it to support and promote heritage crafts as a fundamental part of our living heritage. In the UK traditional crafts are not recognised as either arts or heritage so fall outside the remit of all current support and promotion bodies. At the HCA we are doing what we can to address that situation and safeguard craft skills and knowledge for the future.

www.heritagecrafts.org.uk


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Things to do in the summer holidays

The 2019 summer holidays are almost upon us and we’ve got lots planned to keep the family entertained over the summer months.

Outdoor Games Trail

The team have been busy creating a variety of self-led trails for our 2019 season. The trails are designed to engage children in the history and nature found around the Museum. Every day during the summer holidays the whole family can take part in our interactive outdoor games trail. Play some traditional and giant games such as skittles, chess, hopscotch, giant dominoes and more!

Things to do in the summer holidays - meet our costumed inhabitants

Costumed Inhabitants

From 18 July until 2 August there will be a costumed inhabitant portraying 18th century life in our Leagrave cottage. Find out what food they ate, how they cooked, what activities they used to do to keep themselves occupied and see her amazing drop spinning skills!

Things to do in the summer holidays - living history ragged Victorians

Re-enactments and Living history

Every weekend throughout the summer holidays we’ll have a special re-enactment or living history event. Including Ragged Victorians, Medieval Warbow, Tudor Courtroom and Wellington’s Army.
Find out more

Terrific Tuesdays

Every Tuesday from 30th July until 27th August is a Terrific Tuesday. During the summer months our Terrific Tuesdays will each be themed with a different element earth, air, fire, water and the final Terrific Tuesday of the summer will be about all the elements. Our Terrific Tuesdays our planned by our Learning Team, who arrange a variety of themed activities including crafts, games and hands-on activities such as cooking as clay modelling. All activities on our Terrific Tuesdays are included in the standard admission price or free to our Annual pass holders.

Candle Making

Our candle making hut is open every day through out the summer holidays. Visitors can make and decorate their own beeswax candle to take home. There is an additional charge for candle making.

Orienteering

The Museum has three different orienteering courses all of varying difficulty. You can download our orienteering maps for free from here or purchase a map pack in the ticket office. You can take part in orienteering at the Museum on any day.

Sensory Trail

We have a sensory trail around the site to encourage our visitors to explore our site with all their senses. You can pick up a free map from our ticket office or just look out for the prompts around the site.

Archery

We’re excited to be introducing have-a-go-archery to the Museum’s collection of activities. It’s still in its early days but we hope to have some sessions up and running for the summer holidays. Keep an eye on our website and social media pages for details of when you can take part.

Other Family Activities

There are 37 reconstructed historic buildings at the Museum, a working historic farm with livestock, woodland and adventure playground. You can find out more about what’s available for families daily at the museum here.

 


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Arts on Prescription

Throughout June, the Museum’s Elliott and Son’s cafe is showcasing a collection of work from the Arts on Prescription groups of Rickmansworth, which is in the Three Rivers district of Hertfordshire.

Arts on Prescription

 

Since 2017, Three Rivers District Council’s leisure team have been delivering creative projects for adults living with poor mental health as part of their Arts Development Programme. The aims of the weekly sessions are to boost confidence, enable skill learning, encourage social interaction and help people to feel like they are valued and included. Increasing evidence and studies have shown that the arts have an important contribution to make to health and wellbeing; to combat stress, anxiety and other conditions.

Over 12 weeks, the group worked with artist, Anna Schofield, to explore creative collage, art journaling and abstract art techniques, the result being a unique and beautiful collection of artwork reflecting the emotional journey, personal interests and different personalities within the group.

The artwork will be on display in the Museum’s cafe until the end of June.


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Museum Inspires Author

Vix J Cooper, known as workshop leader and farm volunteer Jane at the museum, talks about how her time at COAM gave her inspiration when writing her book Crazy Pets and Secrets Revealed. She says…

My senses are always given a treat by the wonderful landscape at COAM through the different seasons. This, plus time spent in the buildings, listening to visitors recounting their past experiences, and having a go at traditional technology and techniques is not only informative but inspires some of my writing too, such as regarding the impact of WW2 and traditional washing methods.

It feels a privilege earning the trust of the museum’s animals and getting to know their particular habits, likes and dislikes. The cats are usually the first to greet me when I’m on feed duties. They’re nicer than the cat in my story Crazy Pets and Secrets Revealed, despite them crunching rabbit by my feet in Borehamwood! The cows tolerate my random singing when I’m grooming Clementine, and the hens normally respond to my clucks. Often, after I’ve finished a morning feed, I’ll sit on the step to Borehamwood with a cuppa and watch the birds and clouds, rain or sunshine dancing across Hill Farm barn roof, or fallen leaves racing around the site.

Lambing by moonlight is magical with shadows of the clouds, trees and animals roaming. I’ve learnt to work out “who goes there” from the different eye shapes glinting and moving across the site for farm and wild animals. The quiet of the night amplifies masticating mouths, rumbling stomachs and belches of the sheep, as well as the hooting of owls and barking of deer. My own family groan when I, or the car, reek of iodine and worse when it’s lambing time. Post-midnight showers can become almost routine before crawling into bed after lamb – or kid – late shifts. While the ewes are reliably well-behaved, the same can’t always be said of the goats who can have me doubling up with laughter over their antics: Dotty refusing to go in the field so we engage in a tug of war with me holding onto her horns and her walking backwards; Crystal taking me for a walk, dragging me at the end of her lead or standing up on her back legs to eat foliage up a tree; and Dora climbing in the wheelbarrow I’m trying to get out of the field after refilling the hay feeder.

With many Coopers in the world, I added Vix to J Cooper because I admire foxes for their adaptability and I thought Vix, short for vixen, would be different. I originally wrote Crazy Pets and Secrets Revealed for children aged nine and above, but adults do buy it and anyone connected to the museum may just enjoy reading it to discover what and who inspired some of my characters and bits of the storyline. I’m currently writing a follow-up with the main character Hugo. I’ve also written a story, aimed at 3-7 year olds and currently with my illustrator, which should be published about September time. Traditional landscapes, plus my roles as workshop leader and forest school practitioner were certainly influential for this book. I’m restless if I go a day without writing, and special places such as COAM both sooth and exhilarate me.

Crazy Pets and secrets Revealed can be ordered from Amazon & other bookshops.


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Ideal Gardens in the Prefab

At the close of the Second World War, as cities and towns were recovering from the devastation of bomb damage, there was a very real need to find homes for those who had lost theirs and for soldiers returning from the front lines. Luckily, the government was not blind to the problem and turned to an innovative and as yet little-known method of building – prefabrication. A quick fix was to build large numbers of temporary homes – or prefabs – that could be made in factories, speedily trucked across the country and bolted together by workers, often German and Italian prisoners of war, in a matter of hours.

1940s prefab at Chiltern Open Air Museum

1940s prefab at Chiltern Open Air Museum

More than 150,000 of these jaunty one-storey homes rolled off the factory production line (although Churchill had plans for many more). At first somewhat suspicious of these new-fangled homes, residents soon grew to appreciate their new digs – finally, a home to call their own. And what a home! Every prefab had two bedrooms, hot running water, an indoor toilet and often a gas-powered fridge: mod cons that many could only dream of in war-time Britain. No wonder, then, that the prefabs became so loved. They were meant to last just a decade – a mere stopgap as the country got back on its feet – but many of the prefabs are still standing, with residents often fighting to hold on to them.

Living room in COAM’s 1940s prefab

“The spacious bedrooms and living room, the integral drawers and cupboards, the huge windows the large garden and Anderson shelter coal shed were, to us, more palace than prefab,” recalls Neil Kinnock, who grew up in a prefab in Tredegar, south Wales.

Each prefab had a generous front and back garden and it didn’t take long for tenants to start using this new-found space to grow fruit and vegetables. The government encouraged this – How To Grow Food: A Wartime Guide helped people adapt to austerity, and the wartime Dig for Victory campaign was still on everybody’s minds. Also, growing fruit and vegetables was necessary – in 1947, bread and potatoes were rationed for the first time. Many supplemented their diets with apples, raspberries, gooseberries, strawberries and blackcurrants grown in their back gardens.

For those unfamiliar with gardening, help was at hand: the Women’s Voluntary Service (WVS) Garden Gift Scheme began in April 1946 to brighten and smarten up newly built prefabs, which often stood on little more than barren building sites or land only very recently cleared of bomb debris. Through the scheme, WVS volunteers collected plants and seeds from donors, often in the countryside, and delivered them to new residents.

Vegetables in COAM’s prefab garden

The popular WVS scheme asked for flowers, vegetable seedlings, shrubs, trees and hedging plants. It was taken up with such enthusiasm that a prefab garden even featured at the Chelsea Flower Show every year from 1947 to 1955, exhibited by the Women’s Voluntary Service. The WVS prefab garden included a replica of a prefab made from felt and stucco and the approximate amount of land usually allotted to a house. The exhibits aimed to demonstrate to visitors the best way to gain the most from their prefab plots, while showing how the gardens could be used as a means of self-sufficiency. The prefab garden was planted with all manner of flowers, along with a vegetable patch that included herbs which, during rationing, really drew interest from the crowds. The prefab exhibits proved to be a tremendous success and helped spread the word about the Garden Gift Scheme. And in 1949, the Queen Mother even sheltered in the prefab when an inopportune rainstorm hit the Chelsea Flower Show.

Visiting prefab gardens was very much part of the royal calendar. On 30 July 1947, Princess Elizabeth visited bombed areas in southeast London with officials from the London Gardens Society. “She particularly admired the prize-winning garden of Mr WC Bodger, a railway foreman, and asked if she might inspect his prefabricated house,” reported the Illustrated London News on 9 August 1947. Queen Mary was a particular champion and often visited prefab gardens in London. The WVS even ran a competition, offering a silver trophy presented by Queen Mary to the best prefab garden. A Mr and Mrs Hale won the prize in 1947 for their prefab garden in Bethnal Green.

COAM’s 1940s prefab bedroom

By 1948, it was estimated that at least 15,000 homes had been helped in London alone though this scheme, and the idea had spread to 28 other towns and cities across the country. In 1949, Dorothy de Rothschild, from the Homes and Gardens Department of the WVS, wrote to The Times: “This scheme has brought us into close contact with thousands of tenants of temporary housing estates who had never had any previous opportunity for gardening. Owing to the encouragement brought by a tangible gift, many householders have planted their gardens and have been surprised and thrilled to see them flourish.”

By the early 1950s, with the fear of rationing receding, prefab tenants converted parts of their gardens into a play area for children or into elaborate flowerbeds. Slowly, front gardens were given over to lawns and flowers, a sure sign of social stability.

Vegetable plot in COAM’s prefab garden

Gardening became a shared hobby among prefab residents. Typical estate layouts, with footpaths, alleys and low fences, encouraged people to look at the neighbours’ efforts and there was certainly a healthy sense of competition. Best garden layouts and flowerbeds garnered prizes and residents were not shy about sprucing up their green spaces with wishing wells and even the occasional gnome.

Prefabs: A social and architectural history by Elisabeth Blanchet and Sonia Zhuravlyova, is out now, via Historic England, £20

By Sonia Zhuravlyova
Soniazhur@gmail.com


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Building the WW1 Nissen Hut

At the start of my last blog, I remarked on the three whole months that had passed since I last wrote something for our website. That blog was written in the early months of this year and published in March. That was six months ago – I appear to be getting worse!

Anyhow, moving swiftly on from my optimistically overestimated number of blog posts, to what the Buildings Team have been getting on with this year, and what I, the Buildings Trainee have been doing to get in the way. Since March, I have unfortunately had a significant amount of time away from the museum due to ill health, however since being back I am hoping to make up for the time that I missed.

The woodcarver, Colin, who I had hoped to meet earlier this year, kindly let me into his workshop last week for an initial visit. During our meeting, he showed me around the studio, introducing me to the projects that he and his team were part way through and also took me out on site for a quick tour around his current live project. As it was only the initial meeting I unfortunately don’t have any photographs to share, but if you are interested in the work of an extraordinary local woodcarver, check out the website www.lillyfee.co.uk

As it was my intention at the end of the last blog to explore the decorative side of conservation work, I have joined Colin and his team on one of their evening woodcarving courses with the intention of following up with some work experience.

Although it doesn’t look like much, this piece is the result of the first hour and a bit working with chisels in an official woodcarving capacity. There is a lot of refining to do, however I’m pretty pleased with the outcome so far…it looks pretty much how it’s supposed to!

Also planned for this year was starting the elm barn in Tewin, using the timber collected from the woods in December. I attended a course, coincidentally alongside previous HLF Building Trainee Sam Rowland-Simms, and had an amazing time putting in to practice some of my slightly rusty framing skills. Lots of photos were taken over the frantic week working among the sprightly Spring lambs in the scorching* sun and the following snow. I also had the opportunity to re-join the course leaders, including Sam, for two days the following week. We spent those two days going over the previous weeks work, correcting any minor issues and starting the remaining cross frames.
*mildly warm, but enough for no sleeves.

I had hoped to return to Tewin to continue assisting with the construction over the summer months, however my illness put the kibosh on that. The barn has since been raised and looks spectacular in the September sunshine. Hopefully, I will be well enough to return to help with the cladding, tiling of the roof etc.

Returning somewhat closer to home, the Nissen Hut project is well under way and construction has commenced. The panels which John, myself and the volunteers have been putting together since the end of last year have started to piece together like a jigsaw…ish.

With each passing day, the Hut has grown in some way or another. This is my first build with the Museum and has been so incredibly exciting to be a part of.

End of day one

Day two

Day three

Day four

Day five

It was also this day that I decided to treat the volunteers…to a table during break for the paper cups of tea. I do know how to spoil the team!

Day six

Day seven

Day eight

Part of the Hut build that I have had more involvement in is the linen windows. We knew from various records that these would contribute to the most accurate representation of the hut, yet none of us were 100% sure on how to do it. So after I researched oiled linen and oilcloth and determined what was useful for this project, the boss and I had a go at making windows.

This image shows the difference in the linen after one coat of a 50% boiled linseed oil and 50% white spirit mixture.

These images show the difference in transparency after two coats of the same mix.

After quite a while drying, the windows were then fitted just in time for out Meet the Tommies event weekend in September at the Museum.

Conclusion of the oilcloth window experiment is that it worked pretty well and lets in a surprising amount of light to the hut. Notes for replacement windows: make the canvas tighter as windows shouldn’t billow!

For the foreseeable future, completing the Nissen Hut will be our primary focus, with urgent maintenance and repairs fitting in as and when they arise.

The woodcarving course continues in to December, so I shall update you with my progress around Christmas time…no idea which Christmas it will be though.

Written by Jess Eyre
HLF Buildings Trainee


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