Repair works to the guttering and belvedere 2017
The belvedere was added to Oak House by John Turton in about 1650 during his programme of upgrading the house making it fit for a gentleman rather than a yeoman farmer.
This showed just how far the family had travelled in terms of social status since the Turtons bought Oak House in the 1630s.
As well as building the viewing tower, the big chimneys were added as well as the big brick gables which could be seen from the main Birmingham to Wolverhampton road which ran through Oldbury. John also laid out a new garden behind the house, and built a new stable and coach house.
We are carrying out a programme of repairs to the Belvedere (which is the tower on top of the house).
We will be repairing (replacing where necessary) decayed Victorian window frames, the 17th century timber framing and wooden decorative pinnacles (the pointy bits at the top) and replastering the panelling, which is quite worn and decayed in places and beginning to let the weather in.
We are putting a new set of gutters on the building, and improving the flow of water through a gutter that runs through the attic, draining rainwater from the central area of the roof.
The big hopper on the front of the building which has the date 1488 on it has cracked so we are sending it away for repairs as currently it leaks water all over and down the front of the building. A lot of tiles on the roof, particularly the ridge tiles, will be re-bedded as the mortar is cracked. We will be using lime based mortars this time which will last longer than cement mortar given the amount of movement there is in a timber framed building. This is the kind of materials which would have been used in the 1600s when it was first built too.
We will also be surveying the roof timbers and doing some detailed drawings of how the belvedere fits onto the building (it was added in about 1650) and what alterations took place when its floor was removed (probably in the 1890s) as well as improving access onto the roof and into the roof/attic spaces so that it will be easier (and cheaper) to carry out basic maintenance in future. It will also inform us what needs to be done in the future, too.
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