Stopping the rot was just the start
The Peter Cox West Midlands office has recently carried out timber treatment work on Hazelrigg House, the only grade II listed building in Northampton.
Surveyor John Robinson said: “Peter Cox enjoys a great reputation for its work on listed buildings and we were pleased to play a part in the preservation of 33 Marefair, one of Northampton’s oldest buildings.”
Preserving Our Heritage
Hazelrigg House is a two and a half storey Tudor town house dating from the late 16th century. Locals say that Oliver Cromwell spent the night there on his way to the Battle of Naseby in 1645, although that has not been substantiated!
The house was originally wider and without its gabled dormers, which were added in the 17th century when the front elevation was remodelled and a large rear extension added. This rebuilding may have been additional to the repairs after partial damage in the Great Fire of Northampton, September 1675. It was divided into three separate dwellings early in the 19th century, and subsequently (sometime before 1886) reduced in width from five gables to the present three gables when part was demolished.
The present owners Northampton Borough Council, asked Peter Cox to examine fungal decay found to the front right basement room. John said: “We noticed moisture penetration in the two main oak carrier beams which may have been the cause of the fungal decay and we advised the client to expose further timbers as further neglect could cause serious long-term damage to the fabric of the building.”
Inspection revealed the presence of mould growth which is often associated with condensation and so John advised that any treatments are supplemented by increased ventilation.
Peter Cox also found the Death Watch Beetle (Xestobium rufovillosum) in the main carrier beams and the floor joists timbers. John said: “This beetle attacks hardwood which has been affected by dampness, although infestations can also be found in drier timbers. Damage can be extreme and concealed timbers may be at risk. Its mating call is a tapping sound which may be heard particularly in warm weather. Infestation is often deep seated in large section timbers and so effective treatment was advised right away.”
Free from the threat of future infestation
In order to treat the problem the Peter Cox team removed sections of the ceiling to expose the carrier beam ends. They cut away severely tunnelled sections down to sound timber and removed the cement base product from the two main timber carrier beams. All accessible exposed carrier beam timbers surfaces were prepared and insecticidal fluid applied.
“It’s always a great feeling to preserve our country’s heritage,” adds John. “Our work will ensure Hazelrigg House is around for many years to come.”