Renovating or Maintaining Historic Buildings

SECOND SERIES - VICTORIAN AND EDWARDIAN BUILDINGS

 

Introduction to the Second Series.

 

The first series of Civic Society Advice Notes covers Georgian buildings. The Second Series relates to buildings of the Victorian and Edwardian periods.  Following the coming of the railway to Ludlow in 1852 there was a rapid expansion of housing development in the Gravel Hill and Steventon Road areas.  Victorian Conservation areas have been created for both these sitess. In order to maintain and enhance the value of your property it is important that its original features are retained. This series aims to help you safeguard treasures such as original sash and bay windows, roofing, wrought ironwork and interior features such as fireplaces and tiles.

 

ADVICE NOTE VE1 - DAMP

 

A property can rapidly deteriorate if a source of damp is not treated immediately. Water penetration is the most serious culprit and can easily cause dry or wet rot in timbers or plaster or brickwork. Look on-line for good pictures of the identification of various types and call in treatment experts quickly before the structure of your building is affected.

 

Cellars are especially vulnerable places and should be kept well ventilated and checked regularly. Gutters and downpipes are frequently the cause of water penetration. They should be checked to make certain all joints are sound, the gutters have the right fall and are cleared of debris. Damp- proof courses should be checked for broken sections otherwise they can cause rising damp .Blocked air bricks can cause dry rot in underfloor timbers. They should be cleared of any obstruction such as rubble, soil or plants. Parapets and copings are often source of damp. Check the joints, flashing and guttering behind for deterioration.

 

This should be read together with  Advice Note 1. “Damp relating to Georgian Buildings.”

Any further advice on the above may be sought from Shropshire Council’s Conservation Officer.

 

Also useful:

The Victorian Society(www.victoriansociety.org.uk,) The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (www.spab.org.uk)

 

 

 

ADVICE NOTE VE2 - ROOFS, INCLUDING LEADWORK, GUTTERING AND DORMER WINDOWS

 

Ludlow’s roof -scape can be seen from the hills around the town, such as Whitcliffe. It is important, therefore, to preserve the intrinsic nature of Ludlow’s roofs not only to retain the character of the building and streetscape but for enjoyment from further afield, for visitor and resident alike.  Homogeneity is given to the town by its predominant grey slate and red brick townscape. Tiles were also a popular choice of material for Edwardian roofs. Although not quite as durable as slate, original clay tiles can be cleaned and missing ones replaced with matching second-hand substitutes. A good roofing firm will carefully design the replacements so they are not scattered piecemeal where variations in colour will show but placed in one section, such as at the edges or under the ridge tiles.

 

Care should be taken with terraces and semi –detached houses.   Nothing is worse than a new roof added to one half of a semi which is different from its other half either in material, colour or scale.  Whenever possible the old tiles should be re-used as in the exemplary re-roofing of “Croftfoot”, St Julian’s Avenue. The house opposite, “Grove Villa” has a Welsh slate roof with red decorated ridge tiles. Roof maintenance replaced missing slates, reset the roof ridges and repointed the chimney stacks, renewing the lead flashings, so that the roof still matched exactly that of the other half of the semi.

 

Solar panels can be a blot on the roofscape. Black panels which are flush are preferable. Aesthetically excellent are photovoltaic slates, solar panels which look like natural slate but incorporate efficient solar cells. PV Slate by GB SOL for example and Tesla’s roof tiles in four styles: slate, smooth, textured and Tuscan. The latter comes with an infinite warranty.

 

Lead has a life of about hundred years before it decays and needs stripping. Victorian bay windows might be roofed with slates and leadwork so should be checked for deterioration.  Cast iron downpipes and gutters replaced lead ones in the late eighteenth century. Modern angular-shaped plastic gutters should not be used to replace rounded cast iron ones of Victorian and Edwardian times.

 

Lofts should be checked for leaks from the roof and for loft insulation carefully placed to allow free ventilation to the eaves. Valley gutters are a vulnerable part of the roof and should be checked for debris. 

Original features of dormer windows should be carefully retained: pointed finials, shaped or pierced bargeboards and decorative ridge tiles. Vulnerable maintenance areas include the junction between dormer ridge and main roof slope, flashing between dormer and roof. Changes to dormer windows on listed buildings will always require listed building consent. A new dormer window in a conservation area will require planning permission.

 

See: English Heritage. Roofing. Ashgate,2013. Victorian Society website.www.victoriansociety.org.uk SPABwebsitewww.spab.org.uk(Technical Notes)

 

Building Conservation.www.buildingconservation.com/books/heritage-retrofit.html (web guide to products and services suitable for conservation of historic buildings.)

 

 

 

ADVICE NOTE VE3 - BRICKWORK

 

The Victorian period saw the rise of brickwork as an economical and fashionable material suitable for meeting the needs of mass housing expansion during the Industrial Revolution. Prior to 1840 hand-made bricks varied in size and shape and tended to be long and thin. The standardization of bricks to a size of 9x4.5x3.5 inches meant much quicker and easier bricklaying. Repeal of the 1850 Brick tax, the introduction of machine manufacture of bricks, improvements in kiln technology ( in 1886 Ludlow had seven kilns, five in Fishmore Road) ,led to the commercial viability of brick buildings. “Ludlow” bricks were manufactured in a pleasant red colour.

 

The key to good renovation and maintenance of brickwork is to intervene as little as possible. Bricks should not be painted, rendered or sandblasted. This will lead to moisture in the wall and deterioration. Treatment of exterior surfaces out of context with their historic environment can lead to devaluation of a property. Consult the Conservation Officer of your local Council for advice. This is necessary if you live in a Conservation Area and if your building is listed, you will require Listed Building Consent. Take expert advice if planning to insert a damp-proof course. Check that there are enough airbricks for ventilation to sealed- off chimneys and the space underneath floors.

 

Re-pointing is a most important aspect to maintaining brickwork. Always use lime mortar to match the existing and never use cement-based mortar. Cement mortar can damage brickwork irrevocably. If used, the bricks cannot breathe and permanent moisture sets in. When it freezes the bricks will eventually crumble. Lime mortar allows moisture in the wall to escape. It may be a good idea to employ a specialist bricklayer who is used to working in lime mortar. Colour-matching the mortar to the colour of the brickwork and to harmonize with the original mortar is achieved by using the correct colour of sand. Several practice attempts may be necessary before the right colour is achieved. 

 

The Victorians used different colours of bricks for patterning (yellow in contrast to red is sometimes used in Ludlow). Care should be taken to maintain the original pattern. Likewise, moulded, shaped or cut brick should be retained. Local architectural salvage suppliers or suppliers of historic bricks on the web can be useful. Do not rely on your memory to match bricks. There may be several colours in one batch.

 

Extremely useful is:  The Victorian Society. Care for Victorian houses. Number Seven : Brickwork by Kit Wedd.8 page illustrated pamphlet.Email:admin@victoriansociety.org.uk

 

See also: Victorian Society website:www.victoriansociety.org.uk

Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. SPAB website for Technical Advice:www.spab.org.uk

 

Building Conservation. www.buildingconservation.com/books/heritage-retrofit.html(web guide to products and services suitable for conservation of historic buildings.)

 

 

 

ADVICE NOTE VE4 - RENDER, STUCCO AND PLASTER

 

Render was originally used as a method of draught proofing and waterproofing external walls, often to cover inferior materials. Therefore it is a mistake to remove rendering if this can be avoided. Similarly, professional advice should be sought before removing stucco, the hard surface incised with lines to resemble stonework, which was also used to cover poor brickwork.  Stucco was used throughout the nineteenth century, especially for basements and ground floors of townhouses. After 1840, to facilitate easier cleaning from pollution, stucco was often painted in oil rather than colour- washed. Always repair outside historic finishes on a like-for-like basis.

 

Improvements in rendering led to the introduction of the first Portland cement in 1824, a harder, more easily worked surface. In the early nineteenth century, a new render was introduced, pebble-dashing where pebbles were dashed on the wet render surface to provide a distinct decorative effect. Several Edwardian Ludlow houses have pebble-dash exteriors above the red brick ground floor exterior.

 

Pargetting, a form of decorative plasterwork, is found on the facades of two Edwardian houses in St Julian’s Avenue, “Ailsa Craig” and “Fernleigh”. Unlike the traditional hand-crafted pargetting of East Anglia, these are made from moulds, like Victorian interior plasterwork decorations. Any maintenance should preserve the original white colour. Look out for cracking caused by the brittle nature of some cements and deterioration of the sharpness of the pattern due to too many layers of paint.

 

For a guide to internal plasterwork see: The Victorian Society. Care for Victorian houses. Number4.Interior Mouldings. By Kitt Wedd.1992.Email:admin@victoriansociety.org.uk

 

For best advice contact the Victorian Society(www.victoriansociety.org.uk) and The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings(www.spab.org.uk)

 

Building Conservation. www.buildingconservation.com/books/heritage-retrofit.html(web guide to products and services suitable for conservation of historic buildings.)

 

 

 

ADVICE NOTE VE5 -  METAL AND IRONWORK

 

 

Apart from a revival of hand craftsmanship toward the end of the nineteenth century with the Arts and Crafts Movement, the Victorian period saw the replacement of beautifully hand-crafted wrought ironwork by mass produced cast iron. Cast iron is made by pouring molten metal into moulds. When the iron is cool, the mould is broken open and so the “casting” takes place. The expensive part is making the pattern for the mould but the process is economical because the mould can be used time and again. Suited to mass housing production, manufacturers’ pattern books were nationally available to speculative builders.

 

There are many cast iron gates and railings in Ludlow’s Victorian Conservation areas. These range from simple hoop designs for artisans’ houses to more elaborate art nouveau or butterfly pattern designs. Many of them are in poor repair, suffering from a lack of regular maintenance.

 

Cast iron should be inspected annually for rust and should be cleaned and re-painted if necessary. Debris should be removed from the base of railings and rainwater pipes. Never allow hedges and plant foliage to penetrate through railings. Dripping water will lead to rapid corrosion. Repair loose fittings, especially on moving parts on gates, as quickly as possible.

 

Repairs should only be done to the minimum requirement, retaining as much of the original material as possible. A survey should be done recording problems before any work is carried out. Rust is a major problem and can cause ironwork to expand extensively. Vulnerable areas include grooves, upward horizontals, ornamental leaves, angles and crevices. Rust must be cleaned back to the sound metal. Small areas may be cleared with a wire brush or chemical stripper. Shot- blasting of large areas should only be done by an expert. Always use a test area before starting in case the cast iron contains soft metals which could be irretrievably damaged.  Rust may be repaired by using a  steel and proxy resin filler. Missing railings can be replaced with careful measurement.

 

Paint colours for ironwork in Victorian times were not gloss black. In the mid Victorian period dark green was popular. Dark red, dark blue and chocolate brown were also used. It may be possible to discover the original colour of ironwork by carefully uncovering layers of paint applied. Do not apply gold paint to black railing finials. This is historically incorrect as gold leaf was normally only applied to more well-to-do properties.

 

For more detailed guidance see the excellent: The Victorian Society. Care for Victorian houses. Number six: cast iron.8 page illustrated pamphlet by Kitt Wedd.Email:admin@victoriansociety.org.uk

 

See also: Victorian Society website: www.victoriansociety.org.uk

Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. SPAB website:www.spab.org.uk

 

Building Conservation. www.buildingconservation.com/books/heritage-retrofit.html  (web guide to products and services suitable for conservation of historic buildings.)

 

 

 

ADVICE NOTE VE6 - DOORS

 

 

The front door is the most distinctive feature of a house. Retaining its integrity is an essential requirement for good repair and maintenance. A great variety of door types applied to early Victorian times. However, the four panelled door prevailed. In the 1830s they often had margin lights and coloured glass in over lights. In the late nineteenth century front doors had two upper panels in glass; coloured glass was possible. Etched glass was also used especially after 1870 when etched glass became cheaper with the introduction of a new sandblasting method which provided a frosted appearance for the panels of front doors. Later on it was possible to mass produce joinery so mouldings and architraves became more elaborate.

 

Doors were usually painted. Semi- gloss or matt finishes should be used. High gloss is historically incorrect. Popular Victorian colours were olive green, dark brown and dark blue. The Aesthetic Movement introduced a soft white colour for doors. (Brilliant white should never be used.)In the 1870s, The Movement despised the graining paint finish (to imitate oak) which was popular for doors mid- century.

 

Door furniture was usually produced in cast iron. Brass was too expensive and only applied to affluent houses.  After the introduction of the penny post in 1840 new doors were designed with wider lock rails to accommodate letter plates. Some letter plates had “Letters” cast in the flap. If original ironwork survives it should be retained. The knocker, letter plate and door knob should be all the same material. It is possible to source Victorian ironmongery at specialist shops and reclamation sites. Beware of purchasing unseen on-line.

If your original door no longer exists, you can have a replacement made by a good local joiner. A copy can be made from a similar door nearby. If you are seeking a Victorian replacement door from an architectural salvage source beware of purchasing one that has been acid stripped in a tank as the door may fall apart if its joints have been loosened. It is much better to get a door that has been stripped by hand or still has the paint on it. It is not advisable to cut down a replacement door as this alters the proportions.

 

Porches gave instant embellishment to the setting of front doors. In Ludlow’s Victorian conservation areas these range from pretty traditional latticed wooden porches for artisan cottages to brick porches with glazed tiled walls and tiled floors to elaborate timber structures with tiled hoods. Porches should never be enclosed, Not only does this lead to condensation problems but it destroys the character of the building. Inspect your porch regularly for maintenance problems. You can, for example, employ specialist conservators to repair your floor and wall tiles.

 

An excellent guide is: The Victorian Society. Care for Victorian Houses. Number 1:Doors.By Kitt Wedd.2008.8 page illustrated pamphlet.Email:admin@victoriansociety.org.uk In the same series: Number 2:Decorative  Tiles. By Kitt Wedd.1992.Email:admin@victoriansociety.org.uk

 

See also: Victorian Society website:www.victoriansociety.org.uk

 

Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. SPAB website. www.spab.org.uk

 

 

 

ADVICE NOTE VE7 - WINDOWS

 

 

Windows provide the key character to a house. Maintaining original styles are vital to ensure your house preserves its original features and intrinsic historic value. The sliding timber frame sash window was the main type of house window in the nineteenth century. The introduction of cylinder glass in the 1830’s meant that large sheets of quality glass facilitated sashes of 2 or 4 lights and eventually single light sashes were available. The large paned bay window became a popular feature of Victorian house facades. Large window panes meant that sashes had to be strengthened with joints at the corners. This led to the extension of stiles beyond the sash, hence the “horns” so typical of sashes after 1840.

 

 Another characteristic of Victorian windows is the beautiful Crown glass which refracts the light and should be retained at all costs. Genuine hand- blown cylinder glass is still available at a cost to match existing cylinder blown or Crown glass. At a lower cost is Victorian sheet Period style window glass which is designed to give the wavy appearance of cylinder glass and can be used when specific matching up with hand blown glass is not necessary. Stained glass repairs will require specialist repairers.

 

The most ill-advised treatment of windows is the replacement of wooden windows by plastic ones. This can seriously devalue a property, limiting the range of potential purchasers. A good example is a pair of Edwardian semi-detached houses in St Julian’s Avenue, one of which, prior to the creation of the Conservation Area, has had plastic replacement windows. Its other half, has recently had its Edwardian sash windows carefully restored by the owner. The two properties, which were designed to be seen as a whole, now have totally different characters. Beware of plastic window companies who offer “Victorian” style windows as often these do not have the correct glazing bar proportions.

 

Insulation of original windows can be improved by draught stripping, rubber or neoprene gaskets and low friction brush strips. Secondary glazing is excellent if well done and retention of original shutters is important to minimize heat loss.

 

If well- maintained, timber windows will out-live plastic ones. Timber windows should be regularly checked for wet rot and defective sections replaced. Cracked stone sills can be repaired and repainted. Periodic repainting is important. Windows should be surveyed for settlement, possibly for decay in the timber lintel. If contractors are being used several quotes should be obtained and any guarantees should be specified. The Victorian Society provides guidance on how to tackle damp, mechanical faults in sashes, how to replace sash cords, reinstatement of original windows (see below).

 

Repairs and alterations to listed buildings require Listed Building Consent, and in Conservation Areas advice and permission should be sought before work commences.

 

Extremely useful is: The Victorian Society. Care for Victorian houses. Number Nine: Timber Windows by Kitt Wedd. 8 page pamphlet. E-mailadmin@victoriansociety.org.uk

 

 

 

ADVICE NOTE VE8 – PAINT COLOURS

 

The choice of paint colours is often a personal one (see Advice Note 8 for Georgian Buildings.) It is a good idea to choose an appropriate colour for your house’s environmental setting whether it be detached, semi-detached or part of a terrace. The selection of colour will also depend on the material of the façade; whether it be brick, stone or render. Ludlow has some red brick houses with  decorative yellow brickwork: balance and harmony can be achieved by picking out the windows and bargeboards with a matching yellow paint. Similarly, black and white facades on Edwardian houses look good with decorative bargeboards painted black.

 

The purists among you might wish to choose a true Victorian colour. There is plenty of evidence for these from trade catalogues of the period. Blue was unusual at the time. Olive brown, purple brown, russet and dark green (Brunswick green) were popular for windows. Dark green or “Invisible” green was appropriate for garden furniture. Sometimes graining was used to simulate oak or mahogany.

Modern legal restraints, for example on using lead sulphate or carbonate in paint, make it impossible to entirely replicate Victorian paints. However, many contemporary paint manufacturers include a Heritage range.

 

Listed Building Consent is required when painting or re-painting a listed house and advice should be sought for choice of paint colours for historic houses in Conservation Areas.

The best advice on paint colours as well as a useful bibliography for further information can be found in: The Victorian Society. Care for Victorian houses. Number 8. Paintwork: a brief guide to paint colours and finishes in Victorian and Edwardian houses by Kit Wedd. The Victorian Society,1988.This 8 page pamphlet also covers interior paint decoration.

 

See also:

Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings www,spab.org.uk

 

 

 

 

 

FIRST SERIES - GEORGIAN BUILDINGS

 

ADVICE NOTE 1 - DAMP

 

Maintenance makes a difference - never put it off!

 

Damp is a potential problem for any building and can cause serious structural damage. The UK's wet, blustery weather and the recent run of harsh, cold winters underlines the importance of regular care: your money can be saved by tackling a few important maintenance tasks.

 

There are several types of damp, including rain penetration and condensation, and they are completely different. One is caused by poor external maintenance and the other by internal condensation that may be caused through poor ventilation.

 

Gutters should be clear of autumn leaves, twigs, old bird nests etc and be working properly. Any gutter that slopes the wrong way or discharges water onto the wall should be re-fixed. It is wise to check that down-pipes are working correctly.

 

Even a relatively small gap in the roof can let in damaging amounts of water. Roofs can be checked from the inside by looking for chinks of daylight in the attic. Outside, you might find that using a pair of binoculars helps to get a good clear view of potential problem points, especially damaged or slipped tiles.

 

Windows are another problem area and should be checked for decay, if possible by washing paintwork, rub down and repaint where necessary.

 

Many people do not realise that vegetation growing on or near a house needs monitoring. Trees and bushes should be pruned back. Ivy growing on a wall can trap moisture where decay may result and such vegetation should be removed, cut back or pruned carefully as soon as possible.

 

Inside, make sure that bathroom fans are working properly and that the whole house is aired regularly.

 

And here's a very important extra tip - remember to take care at all times. Wear protective equipment when necessary and never work at heights or use ladders if you are alone. If in doubt always seek help from a professional.

 

Any further advice on the above may be sought from Shropshire Council’s Conservation Officer: Ben Williscroft, E-mail: Ben.Williscroft@shropshire.gov.uk

 

Supported by: The Georgian Group (www.georgiangroup.org.uk) ,
The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (www.spab.org.uk) 

 

 

 

ADVICE NOTE 2 - ROOFS, INCLUDING LEADWORK, GUTTERING AND DORMER WINDOWS

 

Owners of Georgian houses in Ludlow find that they shoulder a serious responsibility to preserve the character and appearance of these, mainly listed, buildings, however small. This applies also to their roofs. The roofs of Georgian houses were usually designed to be invisible from below (so it is important to keep an eye on the area behind parapets where debris collects), but in Ludlow with its hilly streets, they form an important part of the streetscape as well as the view from Whitcliffe. In this area, Georgian houses are generally roofed with slates or brown clay tiles.

 

The best advice on repair, reinstatement and sources for the correct materials is freely available on the website of the Georgian Group, http://www.georgiangroup.org.uk (click on 'Historical Building Repair/Roofs). Another useful website is http://www.buildingconservation.com/books/heritage-retrofit.htm

 

 

 

ADVICE NOTE 3 - BRICKWORK

 

The façades of the Georgian houses in Ludlow with their weathered bricks make a crucial contribution to the main streets, even if some of them are additions to earlier buildings which have received new façades to reflect the latest fashion. The town contains some excellent examples of Georgian brickwork, notably 39 Broad Street and (a little later) 16 Castle Street. There is also an interesting use of local stone shaped as bricks at 27 Broad Street and 4 Brand Lane. Unfortunately, in the past, there has been some poor repointing with cement which not only looks ugly, but which does not allow the bricks to breathe. Pointing should generally be done with lime mortar and should never project proud of the bricks themselves. Wherever possible, repairs should use reclaimed or carefully sourced bricks. Some brick exteriors have been rendered or faced with roughcast, and it seems to have become acceptable in the town to take the cheaper option of painting directly onto the bricks, but these practices lead to damp and deterioration.

 

The best advice on repair, reinstatement and sources for the best materials is freely available on the website of the Georgian Group, http:/www.georgiangroup.org.uk (click on 'Advice/Historic Building Repair/Brickwork).

 

Other useful websites:

 

Building Conservation: http://www.buildingconservation.com/books/heritage-retrofit.htm
SPAB Technical Notes on Brickwork: http://www.spab.org.uk/advice/technical-qas/technical-qa-2- brickwork/

 

 

 

ADVICE NOTE 4 - RENDER, STUCCO AND PLASTER

 

Ludlow has many examples of rendered finishes on both brick and stone.  There is an obvious example of the latter at Stone House in Corve Street, and the stone drum towers at the Broad Gate have been rendered and cut to look like dressed stone, probably in the eighteenth century.  At that time render was also applied to half-timbering, although most of this has now been removed.

 

Render should always be repaired on a 'like for like' basis.  It is not advisable to strip it from brick or stone as the material underneath may be in a poor condition or was never intended to be exposed.

 

Houses with render or stucco exteriors should be painted in cream or soft colours, not bright white, and with due respect for their neighbours.  Chemical damp treatments (ie DPC) should never be used.

 

Owners should always remember that repairs and alterations to listed buildings require Listed Building Consent, and in Conservation Areas advice and permission should be sought before work commences.

 

The best advice on repair, reinstatement and sources for the best materials is freely available on the website of the Georgian Group, http://www.georgiangroup.org.uk (click on 'Advice/Historic Building Repair/Render, Stucco and Plaster).

 

Other useful websites:

 

Building Conservation: http://www.buildingconservation.com/books/heritage-retrofit.htm

 

SPAB http://wwwspab.org.uk/advice/technical-qas

 

 

 

ADVICE NOTE 5 -  METAL AND IRONWORK

 

Ludlow still has its fair share of good ironwork on Georgian houses, including gates, railings, fanlights, cellar covers and door furniture.  Many sets of railings were removed during the Second World War (notably a fine set outside the Gatehouse in Lower Broad Street which were designed to match the pattern of the stonework round the windows above) but much remains.  Railings were originally painted a dark green, but black became the normal colour in the 19thcentury.
 
There are occasional balconies such as that at 11 King Street, and some elaborate ironwork in gates and fanlights.  However,  the grills over basements and the cellar covers were intended to be as unobtrusive as possible, with simple iron bars and the covers painted a dark colour.
Metal door furniture on Georgian front doors should be of cast iron, painted black, or brass, never chrome.
 
The best advice on repair, reinstatement and sources for the best materials is freely available on the website of the Georgian Group,http://georgiangroup.org.uk (click on 'Advice/Historic Building Repair/ Metal and Ironwork).
 
Other useful websites:
 
Building Conservation: http://www.buildingconservation.com/books/heritage-retro-fit.htm
SPAB http://wwwspab.org.uk/advice/technical-qas

 

 

 

ADVICE NOTE 6 - DOORS

 

The front doors of Georgian houses create the important first impression.  Ludlow has many examples of fine front doors with surrounding hoods, pediments, fanlights and pillars or pilasters.  In Georgian times and for a century or so afterwards, front doors were invariably painted, presenting a variation in colour along a brick-built street.  Stripping doors is historically inappropriate.  Many doors in the eighteenth century, both external and internal, were made of pine which was always intended to be painted, and even heavy oak front doors, once they had weathered, might be painted too.  Once an oak door has been painted, stripping is inadvisable, as no amount of varnish or staining will replace the original patina.  Internal hardwood doors of fine quality may be left unpainted if they have always been so.
Replacing front doors must always be on a like for like basis.  A new more modern door can reduce the character and authenticity of a house, and repair should always be considered before replacement.  If a door has to be replaced it should observe the pattern of a genuine Georgian door, consisting of appropriate proportions in panelling, detail etc.  Door furniture should be placed symmetrically and should be made of cast iron or brass.
Care should be taken in moving the position of internal doors as doing so may destroy the proportions of a room.
 
Owners should always remember that repairs and alterations to listed buildings require Listed Building Consent, and in Conservation Areas advice and permission must be sought before work commences.
 
The best advice on repair, reinstatement and sources for the best material is freely available on the website of the Georgian Group,http://georgiangroup.org.uk (click on Advice/Historic Building Repair/ Doors).
 
Other useful websites:  Building Conservation, http://www.buildingconservation.com/books/heritage-retro-fit.htm
SPAB, http://wwwspab.org.uk/advice/technical-qas

 

 

 

ADVICE NOTE 7 - WINDOWS

 

Windows are perhaps the most important feature of a Georgian house, as the eyes are in a face.  The replacement of Georgian small-paned sash windows with Victorian plate glass or modern windows has done more than anything else to ruin Georgian façades.  In Ludlow sash windows come in many different shapes and sizes, and although the 12 pane window is most common, there are many variations on this theme from quite small attic windows to full-blown Venetian windows as on No. 39 Broad Street.

 

Glazing bars became thinner as the 18th century progressed.  There is at least one example in Ludlow of thin bars made of cast iron, but normally timber was used and with careful maintenance will last for hundreds of years.  UPVC windows should never be used in any historic building.  Even with imitation glazing bars, the proportions are not replicated to the correct standard.  They always look wrong, often open in an inappropriate way and devalue the house.

 

The original crown glass panes remain in many of Ludlow's windows and should always be retained if possible, or replaced with reproduction crown glass which is readily available, and not plate/cylinder glass.  Crown glass, in the way that it refracts the light, gives character and vitality to a window which contributes to the overall integrity of the whole building or group of buildings.  Window frames should be repaired like for like and Victorian 'horns' should not be used in Georgian windows.  As with doors, windows should be painted and not stripped or stained.

 

The modern demands for heat conservation have presented a challenge in Ludlow.  The simplest method is draught-proofing with unobtrusive strips, and secondary glazing is acceptable.  False glazing bars stuck on to a double-glazed window look wrong and almost invariably fall off! If the entire window is to be replaced, it is perfectly possible to use double-glazed panes set into conventional glazing bars as at 44 Mill Street.  Those owners lucky enough to have the original shutters will find that they also help with retaining heat if they shut tightly enough.  It is also important to remember that old houses need ventilation to prevent damp and mould.

 

Owners should always be aware that repairs and alterations to listed buildings require Listed Building Consent, and in Conservation Areas advice and permission should be sought before work commences.

 

The best advice on repair, reinstatement and sources for the best material is freely available on the website of the Georgian Group, http://georgiangroup.org.uk (click on Advice/Historic Building Repair/Windows.

 

Other useful websites:  Building Conservation, http://www.buildingconservation.com/books/heritage-retrofit.htm

 

SPAB, http://www.spab.org.uk/advice/technical-qas

 

 

 

ADVICE NOTE 8 – PAINT COLOURS

 

Paint colours are often regarded as a matter of personal taste, and it is true that, unlike structural changes, inappropriate choices do not often do permanent damage to a building, but it is always wise to consider the impact of colours on the street as a whole. In Georgian towns houses are generally constructed in terraces, and, while colours do not have to be uniform, an unusual choice can look like a bad tooth in an otherwise perfect smile. It is important to remember, too, that Listed Building Consent is required for the painting or repainting of a listed building which would affect the historic character of that building, and in Conservation Areas advice should be sought before work begins.

 

Anyone hoping to recreate the original appearance of their Georgian house will find it easy these days to find ranges of historic colours to choose from, but these should be appropriate to the date of the house and dependent on whether the frontage is brick, stone or render. Modern brilliant white paint should not be used on Georgian houses, and flat paint is more appropriate than gloss. Cornices, window frames, door frames, fanlights and porches should generally be painted in stone colours or 'broken' white, and doors themselves should be painted 'off' black, brown, dark red or green, or another dark colour, or occasionally grained, but never stripped or varnished.

 

The best advice on paint colours for both external and internal decoration, as well as a very informative account of the history of paint colours at this period is freely available on the website of the Georgian Group, http://www.georgiangroup.org.uk (click on Historical building Repair/PaintColour).

 

Other useful websites;
SPAB: http://www.spab.org.uk/ advice/ materials and components/ paint.

 

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