Say Uncle

10 High Street  Winslow

The Monday Photo

When I look at this house in Winslow High Street, I don’t think of its Georgian style 19th Century frontage and the large, timber framed 17th Century building behind it, I think of my uncle Dick and aunt Julie, who once lived there.

We used to visit them as kids; walking through the gate at bottom right, past (if I remember right) exposed timber framing to our left, and in through the door at the back.

Up and Down
We couldn’t get in via the front door on the High Street, because the ground floor was a bank, completely separate from their two story flat. Dick and Julie had just one room and a staircase at ground level; everything else was upstairs.

But the first floor was on several levels, with short flights of steps between. The kitchen in a small pitched roof extension was several steps lower than their hallway, and for years had just a skylight.

If I remember right, it wasn’t possible to put a window in the gable end because the roof of the bank vault was there.

But when the bank changed to a flat roof Dick chopped through the brickwork and at last there was a window in the kitchen. That was easier said than done, because the wall was thick and built of hard engineering bricks, to protect the vault beyond.

Young Man
I remember timber framing inside the house, but as a child I paid little attention to it, as I did to Dick and Julie’s furniture and antiques.

Aunt Julie used to tell me I should get my hair cut; it was shoulder length from my teenage years on, and would give me Christmas presents of aftershave, when I had a beard! Maybe this was a hint...

I still have a beard, but Julie might have been please to see the long hair is long gone; I just shave my head now to keep it tidy, as I’m going bald.

Sadly, Julie passed away at quite a young age, but Dick lived into his eighties. I’d love to have a look round the back, but the alley is private now.

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please leave a comment below.

Down at the Farm

Manor House  Stewkley  Bucks

The Monday Photo

In Stewkley’s High Street South were once two farms; Dovecot Farm and Manor Farm.

This building was the farmhouse for Manor Farm, and was built in the late 16th Century. That makes it one of the oldest houses in North Bucks.

It’s timber framed, except for the whitewashed brick extension to the right of the photo. That’s part of some early 19th Century alterations, as are the chequered brick faces on the ground floor, facing the road.

The two massive chimneys have diagonally set stacks; two on the furthest one, (not visible here) and four (the last one hidden behind the others) on the nearest one.

You can just see the long rear wing with its plaster infill, behind the whitewashed extension.

To the South of the farmhouse and to the left of our photo is a rectangular plot that’s now a garden. It’s likely that this was once the farmyard, though no other farm buildings seem to remain.

Except, that is, for a Dovecote just outside the corner of the plot, and now visible if you walk down into the Manor Farm Business Centre. It has a date stone; 1704.

The 1925 A History of the County of Buckingham (courtesy of British History Online) says of the farmhouse: ”The manor-house of the chief manor in the parish has been converted into a farm.” Hence, I suppose, the name.

Oh yes, I know today is Tuesday; I ran out of time yesterday!

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please leave a comment below.

Shopping for Clues

High St. shop  Newport Pagnell

The Monday Photo

This is a commonly seen sort of a building; a house that’s been converted into a shop. This is 104 High Street, Newport Pagnell and until fairly recently it was the Smarts Trophies & Engraving shop.

Now the sign board above the shop window has gone, we can see how this Victorian house has been modified.

A big clue is the flat brick arch over part of the shop window. It’s directly below an upstairs window, and when we look at the arch above the shop doorway, that’s directly below its own upstairs window. This means) that the arches were once over downstairs windows.

Note how both the downstairs arches match in design and level, but the very similar arch over the turquoise door at the far end is one brick course lower. This, not the dark blue door closest to us, is the original front door, or at least its doorway.

Rolled Steel
Above the shop window is an RSJ; a Rolled Steel Joist that supports the wall above. This is common in shop conversions. You will also often see beams across a shop or pub ceiling.

That’s almost always an RSJ too, in pubs usually disguised to look like a stout wooden beam, in shops often just boxed in. They replace walls that once supported floor joists and brick dividing walls above.

Removing internal walls is not a job for the amateur builder; it can cause a house to fall down.

Curiously, the kitchen shop next door seems to be part of the same building. Although the layout and window proportions are quite different, it shares the same corbel detail under the eaves and a continous roofline above.

This is a Monday photo, one of many on this blog. It’s one photo (the clue’s in the name!) with up to about 500 words; just right if you want a short read. Just click on “Monday Photo” in the sidebar; there’s over 130 to choose from.

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please leave a comment below.

How Old?

Woughton on the Green Manor House
The Monday Photo

This old farmhouse by the green at Woughton on the Green, appears to be either Georgian or 19th Century. But which is it?

Actually it’s neither. Behind the chequered brickwork is a timber framed 16th Century building; two hundred years older than it appears and one of the oldest domestic buildings in Milton Keynes. In the left hand front room there’s a fine, large, 16th Century fireplace.

The rear wing hasn’t been recased so still shows it’s massive timber framing; part of it can just be seen by walking round to the right from the camera position. The chimney to the right is in that wing.

The central gabled projection and ground floor bay windows were added to the Georgian front in the 19th Century. Imagine the house before it was updated, with no centre projection, timber framing (probably massive like the rear wing) and a thatched roof.

Every house has a story, if you know what to look for.

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please leave a comment below.

Dragons at Bridge Lodge

Bridge Lodge  Eythrope
This Victorian era house was built for Alice de Rothschild around 1880-90, as a lodge or gatehouse for Eythrope Pavilion.

She had bought the Eythrope estate in 1875, a year after her brother Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild bought the adjacent property, Waddesdon Manor. She built Eythrope Pavilion as a day retreat from the manor between 1876 and 1879.

Continue reading "Dragons at Bridge Lodge" »

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please leave a comment below.

Estate Houses

Estate houses  Biddlesden

The Monday Photo

At first glance, these semi-detached houses looked to me like just another example of those 50s and 60s ex-council houses, the type that are everywhere in this part of the world; I grew up in one.

But when I noticed their unusual, round, paired chimney stacks I looked more closely.

Then I saw the brick pilasters (like flat, partial columns) at the corners and in the centres of the front walls. These six pairs of homes were built as estate cottages for Biddlesden Park, in about 1830.

Our old council house was large but plain; these estate cottages are nicely detailed and bear closer attention. The windows have flat brick arches and the front doors have hoodmoulds to divert rainwater away.

The brickwork is in a chequer pattern. As well as the round chimneys and pilasters, the cottages have wave edged eaves and bargeboards.

These might still be the original wooden windows, but the early 50s council house I grew up in had the Crittal Company’s metal framed windows, replaced in the mid 90s by double glazed units. When that happened I took three of the windows away and built them into a motorcycle shed that I still use today.

Each pair of cottages seems to have been knocked into one. In this nearest pair you can see that the nearest doorway has been blocked up and the two front gardens have been made into one. It’s a similar story with the rest.

In contrast, just down the hill are a couple of council type semi-detached houses, similar to the one I grew up in; it’s interesting to compare the two types.

A little further down the hill is the county boundary with Northants, subject of a recent Monday Photo. The county boundary marker is in the middle of the bridge; the boundary following the course of the river.

There you go, two things to see for the price of one.


If you have any comments or questions about this post, please leave a comment below.