As I mentioned in the previous blog to watch this space, I have taken a few more photos showing the walls which have just been erected on the second floor. In the photo you can see Trevor nailing in bridging to the floor joists. This is to stabilise the joists stopping them from moving individually, creating a floor that moves as a whole and not in parts. I have also included a short video showing the layout of the chapel storage.
The ceiling height this time is 8 feet high or 2.440m as opposed to the ceiling height of the ground floor being 10’-5” or 3.180m high. All in all we will have three floors with ground floor being as stated and the other two being 8”or 2.440 high.
Things are moving on now at an ever increasing pace; the phase ‘getting ready‘ is almost complete. I can say a lot of head scratching has been done because of the structural problems we have uncovered.
However during this stage while opening up floors we made some very interesting discoveries. The newspaper mentioned in a previous blog post gave us dates; whilst the bones of the different animals found in the same room gave us an insight to the culinary tastes of workmen in 1912! The bones when analysed where found to be from different animals including sheep, geese, rabbit and chicken.
At the moment we, the project joinery team, are in the chapel erecting three floors of studwork. The work being carried out by us in the chapel is to provide an area in which the project conservator can store items such as; furniture, curtains and carpets from the various rooms while the work is carried out in them. All the rooms in the house are full with furniture and family memorabilia, all of which are very important to the property and need very careful storing and maintenance. Unfortunately for the project conservator, this makes her life here in Mount Stewart that little bit more complicated.
We have been working steadily and progress has been coming on well. Although we all (and I personally), miss our project apprentice joiner Callum while he is away on his trip to China.
As you would be aware the Chapel is out of bounds to the public for sensible health and safety reasons while the construction work is under way. I have included a few photos of the building work so you can see what is happening. Also the whole building works has been filmed using a time lapse camera and I for one can’t wait to see the footage!
I am currently the Project Curator at Mount Stewart and have worked for the National Trust in Northern Ireland for over 20 years. Prior to that I lived in Co. Donegal looking after the Glebe Gallery in Churchill.
As project curator my role is to advise the team on the history of the house and its architectural development, the significance of the building, the decorative schemes and the collection, and to help develop a vision for the property. I work closely with the architect and design team, the conservator, house team, property manager and the donor family, and also benefit from the input from many external and National Trust advisers on a whole range of subjects.
I am currently working on a history of the house and the way in which it has changed over the years. This is helping to inform decisions we need make as part of the current project.
As the Apprentice Joiner for the Project here in Mount Stewart, I have been given a wonderful opportunity to learn the skills that are needed for conservation joinery. This has so far presented itself in many different ways including training courses in England and the opportunity to work with some very knowledgeable and highly regarded specialists, and now I am very excited to say I have been given the opportunity to travel to Shanghai for 2 weeks to take part in a heritage project.
A view of Tongli, China. Tongli is well known for its system of canals and because of this is known as the ‘Venice of the East’.
During the 2 weeks in Shanghai I will be involved in the renovation of a 100 year old clinic in a town called Tongli. This trip is being run by a charity called Ruan Yisan Heritage Foundation and there are 8 participants, including myself, travelling from the UK. I am very excited and extremely grateful to the Trust for this opportunity as it will be invaluable experience for me as a tradesman and as someone working in the conservation field.