Prominent Dunmow building given makeover

PUBLISHED: 11:24 03 February 2011

Clock House new archway built.

Dunmow.

February 02, 2011.

Photograph by Michael Boyton.

Pic shows: The new archway that has been built.

Clock House new archway built. Dunmow. February 02, 2011. Photograph by Michael Boyton. Pic shows: The new archway that has been built.

Archant

ONE of Dunmow's most prominent buildings has been restored to its former splendour after being deemed as "dangerous" over a year ago.

Clock House, on The Causeway, had to have its outer wall taken down last year after surveyors noticed a prominent lean that could put people in danger.

Uttlesford District Council’s principle building surveyor Andrew Nason said: “The wall had started to lean to the point that if you pushed it you could easily move it. It was reported around December 2009 and we assessed that it was, in fact, about to collapse. It was deemed that emergency action needed to be taken.”

The emergency action involved demolishing the upper most part of the wall so it would not pose any danger to the school children that walk past and congregate next to it as they wait for friends and family.

After removing the upper part of the wall, Mr Nason’s team decided that it still posed a safety risk so Andrew Briggs, who owns the building, had the entire wall pulled down despite his apprehension.

He said: “I was reticent about pulling it down because I wasn’t sure it could be rebuilt the way it was but [Byfords] have done a really good job.

“I questioned whether it was necessary because, although it definitely had a lean, it had been like that for years. I had also put metal framework into the brickwork to make it more secure but better to be safe than sorry.”

Byford and Company Ltd’s Trevor Hammond said the work is completed and that the scaffolding should be coming down either on Wednesday or Thursday.

“A surveyor must have seen it and deemed it dangerous so the homeowner was asked to take the wall down and then he has had it rebuilt,” he said.

“It is a grade-I listed building so all the bricks had to be hand made so they would match the clock house. It ended up being 12 different types of bricks, which took over 20 weeks to be hand made and delivered, and we used lime mortar to make it look like it used to.

“We then used photographs to construct the wall in exactly the same way it had been before it was pulled down.”

Mr Nason admitted that he had been tentative when his team were called to assess the wall because of the significance of the building to the town. But he is pleased with the outcome.

He said: I was hesitant because the clock house is such a feature of the town but it had to be looked at very carefully so it didn’t injure or kill anyone if it collapsed on somebody.

“It will be very nice as it will be put back to the way it was before and the owner has been very cooperative with making sure that happens.”

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