Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Blog 8

As winter approaches, the sun sometimes shines down Swain Street in the morning in a way that it doesn’t in the summer. The lime render is still its natural colour as I am still waiting for it to dry out sufficiently to lime-wash it. Unfortunately one problem is continual dog urination to the right of the front door which I fear will never dry out!

The trenches for water, gas, electricity and telephone have all been dug, the necessary ducting and pipework installed and then the trenches back-filled. The supplies go to the main building and to the outbuildings at the rear as I hope to develop these next year. We now await the connection in the road which will require the closure of Swain Street for several days. This is scheduled for 9 January 2012. I hope it does not cause too much disruption.

Gas piping (yellow) and telephone manhole

Inside, we have constructed the interior block and stud walls to form the office, wc and multi-purpose room for the gallery.

Interior studwork

Most of the joists in the main (front) room are seventeenth century and of elm. They are badly warped, so in order to achieve a reasonably level ceiling and provide for all the electrical cables and pipework, I have had to batten out below them.

Main room with ceiling battened out

The electricians have completed the first fix. There are festoons of wiring providing for the many electrical items in the building such as emergency lighting, fire alarms, security alarm as well as lighting and power.

Festoons of cabling

The new doors have been delivered. The frames for these are copies of the originals with large sections by today's standards (3”X4”) with pencil-moulded stops:

Pencil moulding on door frame

We have been preparing for the lime-plasterers to return to do the inside which requires getting ceilings up and dubbing out the walls with lime plaster to fill holes and get a reasonably flat wall for them to plaster.

Ben, dubbing out

While doing this Ben noticed "Nick Cotton 1973" scratched into the brickwork above the fireplace in the small gallery room. Nick says that this was when he worked with Alf to reconstruct the fireplace.

I have now purchased a small part of the adjacent garden so that I can more easily work on the end of the two-storey building at the end of the plot. I hope soon to submit a planning application to convert this into a cottage. In the end of this building we found the remains of a very old window. It is of oak and is probably seventeenth century. It has no rebates, so was probably unglazed. As this was probably a building non-domestic use, it may have had shutters so that light and/or ventilation could be provided when required.

Old window in east wall of outbuilding

Pegged joint in old oak window

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Blog 7

I have just noticed that some pictures intended to go in the May Blog somehow got left out so here they are:

We found the well which once served the house. It is sited in what had until recently been the kitchen, but which at one time was outside. It is 4.5 metres (15 feet) deep and has 0.9 metres (3 feet) of clear water in the bottom. It is well lined with red sandstone and has a lead pipe which once served a pump. Unfortunately we cannot incorporate it into the new plan for the building, so we have made a reinforced concrete cap and floored over it. It is still there for future generations to find.

In Jackie Binding's fascinating account she mentions the office that her grandmother used. Here is a picture of it taken before I carefully removed it to store it in one of the outbuildings.

Jackie also mentioned the pantry. The rooflight that she mentioned can be seen in this picture. The pantry has now been removed.

The pantry

Jackie told me that her Grandmother sold the property to someone called Bright, who I believe did bed and breakfast. Perhaps someone can fill in this bit of the history? At some stage it became called the "The Old Coffee House".
Back to more recent developments:
We have now re-laid all the internal floors with damp-proof membrane, then insulation, then under-floor heating pipes, then five inches of concrete.

Concrete being laid over the underfloor heating pipes

Outside, we have had a digger in, moving many tons of rubble and the mound of earth at the end of the garden. It has also excavated the trenches to take the water and gas pipes, and the electricity and telephone cables. These will all have to be connected in the road in December.

Service trenches

We have removed the stair to the flat, and built the wall which will separate the flat entrance from the gallery.

We have removed the front upstairs sash windows to refurbish them They are in very good condition for their age. Ben is stripping off all the paint and sanding them for repainting. Most of the old 1/16 inch glass needed replacing.

Sanding the sashes

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Blog 6

Much has changed since the last entry. The new roof is on and the lime render is finished. The scaffold is down.

We finally removed all the old render. We took a long time to do this as we tried to do it in the early morning while the street was still reasonably quiet. We repaired the stonework as we went. We also discovered evidence that the bottom half of the house is almost certainly mediaeval. A horizontal line was apparent roughly in line with the sills of the upper windows. This was probably the original eaves line of the mediaeval house. It would have been a single storey “hall” house consisting of one large room, open to the roof, perhaps with one or more “service” rooms at the north end. The fire would have been in the middle of the beaten earth floor; the smoke finding its own way out through the thatched roof. It would have been a “cross-passage” house with the front door just to the right of the present left-hand window. It is not clear where the original windows were, but they would probably have been quite small, with shutters and no glass.

Sometime in the early part of the seventeenth century, the house was considerably altered. The beams (discussed earlier) would have been introduced to support an upper floor and the walls were raised by about three feet. For this the builders used larger, squarer blocks of lias. The new eaves line could be seen in the stonework as well as the new gable end with a steeper pitch than the present roof, thatch requiring a greater pitch than slate. If there were upper floor windows, they would have been very low, or in the typical thatch “eyebrows”. The large inglenook fireplace and newel stair beside it would have been introduced at the same time.

The house was considerably altered again about a hundred years ago (discussed earlier) and the eave and gable line raised again, this time with much poorer rubble stonework. At that stage, the roof was rebuilt and covered in welsh slate.

The three eaves levels can be seen in the following picture:
Yellow – the original mediaeval eaves line
Green – the seventeenth century eaves line
Red – the original front door

We have also ascertained that the building was once adjoined to the house that was once on the site of the Co-op. That house was clearly slightly taller than No 41, but projected into Swain Street by the same amount. This must have made the street very narrow in front of the West Somerset Hotel. The wall between the properties was clearly a party wall, and when the Co-op building was built, they left this wall in place, building a new brick wall about three inches away. The original gable can still be seen at the front, although I have recently fitted new coping stones on it. Below this, where the bonding stonework was ripped out, the builders filled in very roughly with brick, requiring quite a lot of repair.

Brickwork where next-door once joined

At the rear, we have removed what remained of the gable, to allow the new roof to be lead-flashed into the brickwork making for better weather-proofing. Much water had found its way into the cavity between the two properties, but the walls are now drying out well.

The scaffold went up as soon as the Carnival was over, and the roofers started the following day. They quickly removed the slates with their “Turnerising” and felted and battened the front. The re-slated the front of the roof within a week and the lime-renderers were able to follow on. We only had a 28-day pavement licence for the scaffold, so they had to move fast. The slates used are natural riven slates from Brazil. I could not afford Welsh ones but they look a very good alternative.

Stripping the roof

The roofers then moved to the back and stripped that and felt and battened. Some repairs were needed to the timbers and the barge-boards and fascia boards needed replacing. I tried to copy the mouldings that remained on the front elevation which were still in good condition.

Felt and battening at the rear

The renderers started by putting on a “scratch” coat of hydraulic lime mixed with sand and horsehair. This was then left to cure for several days before putting on the finish coat. The chosen finish was achieved by brushing the render to expose the larger particles of sand. The mix was one part of French (St Astier) hydraulic lime (NHL3.5) to three parts of coarse Chardstock sand. Whilst hydraulic lime has an initial weak “set” somewhat like cement, the main hardening process is in reaction to the carbon-dioxide in the air and takes time. It will be some weeks before the final finish can be applied.

The "scratch" coat goes on

Unfortunately the roofing and the rendering made use of the pavement difficult – apologies to anyone who was inconvenienced!

Whilst all this was going on I was preparing the new fascia and bargeboards, whilst Ben stripped the old ones, then primed, undercoated and topcoated.

Eventually, within the 28 days, the scaffold came down on the front.

The front scaffold down!

The roofers had a great deal of leadwork to do, with the valleys and the flashing around the chimneys. I chose black clay ridge tiles to match the old ones, with a roll-top. The roof-scape looks quite beautiful. Unfortunately much of the work cannot be seen from ground level.

Lead valley, chimney flashing

The ridge and the West Somerset Hotel

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Blog 5

Having gained planning consent to re-roof the property and alter the chimneys, we had scaffold put up in June around the four chimneys. One, at the north gable had been removed some years ago and blanked off with slates. The other three were in poor condition, especially where they had been re-pointed with hard cement mortar and the bricks were deteriorating around it. We took them down to a firm base and rebuilt three of them with the same corbelling as before.

The two rear chimneys before demolition and the S & N chimneys demolished.

We used good bricks reclaimed from the demolished chimneys or other parts of the site, and laid them with a lime-based mortar. Unfortunately the weather was very hot and dry, so the lime mortar and the flaunching required continual wetting down to prevent it drying out too quickly. None of the old pots were re-usable, so we have replaced them with new ones. The four flues at the ends (N & S) of the building will not be used, but will be vented to prevent internal condensation. The pots for these have vented caps to prevent rain ingress. The chimney at the rear which stands tall above the 'catslide' or lean-to may be used in the future gallery. I have 'parged' this with lime render in the traditional manner. This parging was to prevent acid soot settling in the mortar joints and eroding them. Soot would then settle in the eroded joints providing a fire hazard.

Parging in process.

Completed N & E chimneys.

The fourth chimney was clearly quite a late addition. It was visible only with difficulty from the rear and has not been replaced.

During July we slowly removed the render from the front of the building and replaced the ground floor windows. We uncovered considerable deterioration in some areas of stonework and have had to execute some repairs. Some damage had been caused by earlier movement of the building (not recent, or cracks would have shown in the render). Some had been caused by the hard cement render which had been used in repair work. It could not always be removed without damage to the underlying stonework. In the SW corner of the building we have inserted long stainless steel reinforcement rods to 'stitch' the building together. In other places we have done deep pointing with lime mortar. Elsewhere we have filled holes with lime mortar and broken clay tiles, bricks or lias stones.

Render partially removed, new windows, stonework repairs.

The new front windows we designed to be as close a copy of the old ones as could be achieved whilst providing for double glazing. The building is not listed and has to satisfy current building regulations. The depth of external sill, the depth of the external reveals, the size of the glazing bars and the internal mouldings are the same as before.

When fitting the front left-hand window, we found that the external lintel had little or no bearing on the right hand end. What bearing there was, was on the remains of the lintel of the original front door – still a very hard piece of elm. We had to cut this away to build up a new brick bearing. We then inserted a new concrete lintel. The remaining lintels at the front are in reasonable condition.

One feature on the front of the building is not fully explained. The SW corner has been cut away and replaced with a section of concrete across the angle, swept to the corner at head height. The same feature exists on the corners of the West Somerset Hotel and the Chinese Restaurant. One theory is that the council did this when it was intended to bring heavy traffic through Swain Street to provide more pavement space. Any other theories?

At the rear, we have also replaced the windows and repaired stonework and brickwork. The roof of the outshot lean-to was in very poor condition and we have installed new rafters. Half of it was covered in Bridgwater double-roman roof tiles and half in welsh slate like the rest of the building. The slate was covered in 'Turnerising' – a bitumen or tar-based product which was intended to seal a leaking roof.

The rear roofs as they were.

New rafters.

Two items which relate to the buildings twentieth century history have appeared. A board attached to the sill of the front middle upper window had the words 'The Old Coffee Shop' written in capitals on it. This must have been part of the shop’s sign when it had that name back in the 1960s.

Also we have uncovered a mural of a sea scene which Nick Cotton painted when a teenager. It was on the rear wall of what was then the fish and chip shop run by his parents.

Some of the render on the front of the house was very old indeed and under the white masonry paint there we could see the many layers of different coloured limewash that had been used over the years –white, grey, two shades of deep pink and two shades of yellow ochre.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Blog 4

Over the past weeks we have been removing plaster from the inside of the building and render from the outside. Some of the plaster/render is lime-based and comes off easily. Some is cement based, where later repairs have been done, and it comes off with difficulty, often damaging the stone underneath. Our intention is to re-render/plaster using a lime/sand mix which will allow the walls to “breathe” and be kind to the stonework. The stone is mainly blue lias which has been taken from the cliffs or from the beach below, supplemented by pebbles large and small that have been collected from the beach and may have more distant provenance. Some of the lias stones have fossils within and it makes one wonder what the seventeenth century builders made of these, as geology was an unknown science to them.

One of many ammonite fossils found in the walls

Exposing the stonework also helps in the interpretation of the history of the building. We had located where we thought the original seventeenth-century front door had probably been. Houses of that period usually had a “cross-passage” between the front and back doors, with a timber “plank and muntin” screen between the passage and the hall (the main room). We had found the head of this screen still in situ, forming the top of a later stud dividing wall, so we guessed where the front door would have been. On removing the plaster we found the evidence – a rendered reveal with a blocked-up doorway. More recently we have removed the render on the outside and found the original lintel still in place.

The left-hand side of the original doorway from the inside.

As many passers-by have observed, there is evidence of another doorway having been made into the end of the building. This is clearly a later doorway – not original to the building, which has been blocked up some time ago.

Almost all of the stone in the building is rough rubble-stone but we have found a few pieces of “dressed” or “tooled” stone which must have come from somewhere else. The piece in this picture has been used as part of the inglenook fireplace and may have come from Cleeve Abbey.

Many seventeenth century houses in Watchet have medium-sized fireplaces in the upper room (chamber). They usually have a slightly cambered chamfered bresummer (beam) of elm. We have found the remains of one at 41 which has unfortunately been cut to accommodate a later, smaller fireplace. It can be seen at the top right of this picture.

In the last two weeks we have been rebuilding the chimneys and installing new windows. More on these next time.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Jackie Bindings Account

41 Swain Street - My Home until 1947

The owner of the house in Swain Street from around the early 1900s until 1947 was Gladis May Lewis.  She was my grandmother.  In 1921 she was widowed, leaving her with three children aged 8, 6 and 4, her husband having died from septicaemia.  Below is a photograph of my Nan and her son, two daughters and two smaller friends of the family.  This was taken, I believe, outside the kitchen window at Swain Street.

Nan was the GWR agent for the area which involved collecting parcels delivered by rail and distributing them throughout the locality.  I don't know whether she took on this work when she was widowed or if it was something her husband, my grandfather, did before his death.  Parcels were delivered with a horse and cart.  The horse when I was a child was Kitty, a black Welsh cob pony.  She also owned two shire horses which were used for heavy work that involved pulling trucks along the East Quay.  All the horses were kept in stables up the yard from our house in Swain Street.  There were double gates at the top of the garden opening out opposite the back of the Cinema for the shire horses to go in and out on to Station Road (now Harbour Road).  The horse and cart came down our yard and out the gates into Swain Street.  When we were children Nan employed two men, a father and son, who each worked with the horses she owned, Mr Sully and his son, Arthur.

Initially I believe that 41 Swain Street was leased from the Wyndham Estate because in the early 1920s Nan bought the property from them at a time when the Wyndham Estate was selling off properties.  

The house was ‘L’ shaped and was an old farmhouse with very thick walls and small rooms downstairs running one into another.  From the front door a black and red tiled hall ran through the front part of the house and linked by a sharp corner into a passage from the back part of the house with a curved steep stairway leading off from the left.  In the front part of the house was one room from the right of the hall, which was always referred to as the Nursery, and one room to the left leading into another and thence into a room at the back.  This in turn led into another brick floor hall with a small room to the right for Nan’s office and through a doorway into the passage from the main hall, forming a circle.  Immediately opposite the back hall and more or less opposite the stairway was a pantry with a slate worktop and shelves.  I can remember that the floor of the pantry was worn into a dip.  The only light came in from a high up window from the kitchen and the pantry was quite dark. 

The passageway then led on through to the back and into the kitchen which looked out on to the back garden and then into a brick floor room with a skylight where the toilet was, and on into a coalhouse/general outhouse with a wringer and other things stored there.  Except for the three front rooms, all the downstairs rooms were brick floored.  The back door was along the passage near Nan’s office and up one or two steps as the whole house was below ground level.

Outside, about one third up the yard, on the right, was a water supply running into a large rectangular, metal tank.  On the left hand side of  yard were outhouses and a chicken run where we kept hens.  Just before the chicken houses there was a tall building which was a once a grainstore but at the time when I was a child had old cinema seats stored on the ground floor from Mr Peel's cinema, the Cosy, which was in, what is now, the Doctors' surgery.  Mr Peel had a new cinema constructed in the 1930s, the Conquest which is on the Esplanade. (The old Cosy Cinema building went on to become a garage, a shirt factory and a nightclub). 

An old staircase led up to the top floor.  The staircase was said to have come from HMS Fox which came into Watchet in the 1920s to be broken up. Many houses in Watchet have relics from this ship.  Above the steps was a wooden arrangement for a pulley to hoist the sacks up into the grainstore.  Here is a photo of Mum standing at the foot of this staircase.  Behind her you can see the open door to the lower floor of the outhouse where the cinema seats were stacked.

Further up the yard were the stables on the right and opposite on the left a large dutch barn where the cart was kept and also hay and straw supplies.  Beyond that was our garden with three apple trees, a plum tree and plenty of ground for vegetables and fruit all of which were looked after by Mr Sully, the horses providing plenty of good manure for the garden.  

We were very fortunate to have a house with a bathroom (upstairs) and toilet indoors (downstairs).  We also had a fridge and a telephone both used in Nan's business.  Both of these were very rarely in houses at that time but the fridge was bought by Nan to cater for her tea garden business which she ran from Esplanade House before the war.  We had mains electricity – something which was not in all houses in Watchet at that time.  In the winter the bedrooms were cold with lino on the floors and in the winter frost on the inside of the window panes as well as outside.  Our bedroom was on the end nearest the papershop.  There was a street light outside which was strung across the road and swung around on windy nights, but in those days street lighting went off at around 11.00 pm.

The three front rooms downstairs had wooden floors and two had a carpet square laid in the middle of the floor with the outer border varnished in a dark stain.  The other room on the far side of the front door was called the nursery although I don't remember being in the room very much.  This room had a linoleum covered floor.  All the rooms had small firegrates.  The dominating colours of all the rooms were cream and dark brown making the house quite dark.  However, the inner front door had coloured panes of glass which shone on to the tiled hallway when the sun shone in.

Above is a picture of a school friend of my mother's in her Grammar School uniform standing on our delivery cart.  After the war GWR stopped its delivery of goods by horse and cart and so the delivery part of Nan's business was over.  She sold the house in 1947 to Mrs Bright who, subsequently, opened the front rooms as a coffee shop.  I believe that Mrs Bright later sold on to a Mr and Mrs Baldwin who ran a small chip shop in the rear of the property from what was our coalhouse/outhouse.

Nan retained the top part of the garden because of the water supply and stables as she still had the two shires working on the pier for the Paper Mill.  In the 1950s this work was also stopped as the Mill modernised and no longer needed coal.  They decided to use a tractor to pull the trucks on to the pier and to the side of the ships and so Nan sold the shire horses.  For a while she employed a man to drive the tractor but ill health and modernisation forced her to wind up the business.

In 1954 Nan had a house built on the top part of the garden behind the Swain Street house and sold Esplanade House back to Mr Peel, from whom she had bought it in 1947, and we moved into Little Silver in 1955.  The Council bought the very top part of the original land belonging to the Swain Street house and in due course converted this and the orchard next door behind the old town hall into a car park.

Jacilyn Binding
(nee Bulpin)
May 2011

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Diary Entry No 2

The very first job that I had to tackle at 41 Swain Street was the dry rot. Many people have looked through the windows during the last year or so and seen the yellow and orange fruiting bodies with lilac coloured fringes showing above the carpet. This indicated a serious problem below and the floors had become unsafe to walk on as the dry rot had attacked the joists.

Dry rot is caused by a fungus (sepula lacrymans) which eats wood. The name dry rot is a bit of a misnomer as it requires a good source of damp to survive. The name was coined in the eighteenth century to distinguish it from wet rot which is caused simply by wet conditions. Dry rot will spread rapidly form a damp area to attack dry wood. Its fronds can pass through brick or stonework and behind plaster in search of wood to eat. It consumes all the cellulose in the wood, leaving a brittle matrix of weak material in a typical “cuboidal” manner. In the summer, the fungus “fruits” giving a bright yellow or orange display, and sends out red spores. Dry rot in occupied buildings is very serious because, not only does all the affected timber need to be replaced, but nearby timbers and plasterwork need to be removed to check its spread.

When I started to take up the floor at No 41, the pungent mushroom smell pervaded the whole house. The white fronds and cushions of dry rot filled the space between the floor and the soil below. The joists and floorboards had been almost entirely consumed, but the later (treated) timbers had hardly been touched. I was afraid that the fungus would have found its way up the stud partition wall, but on removing the plaster, I found that it had only got halfway. Another year and it may have reached the upper floor.

I removed all the timber, infected or not, from the ground floor and burnt it. Then we removed all the plaster from the walls and they are now drying out nicely. With a lower moisture level and good ventilation, any remaining dry rot will die. The floors will be replaced with solid concrete and no timber.

Ben Allen and I are now making progress on removing the cement and lime render from the outside and making the inside structurally sound. More on that next time.....

Friday, 8 April 2011

Diary Entry No 1

41 Swain Street from the front. Summer 2010.

I have recently purchased No 41 Swain Street, Watchet with the intention of refurbishing the building that fronts the road to provide an Art Gallery with a flat above. There is a garden behind with outbuildings which will be the subject of a planning application to provide a house and other facilities which may be associated with the gallery. I have started work on the site, my first task being to clear it of the vast quantity of stuff left behind by the late Mr and Mrs Cotton who had lived there since the early sixties. Another priority has been to remove all the timber in the ground floor rooms which were infested with dry rot. As work progresses I am beginning to uncover some of the history of the building and am grateful to the many callers who add small pieces of information to help piece it together.

41 Swain Street from the rear. Summer 2010.

It seems probable that the building has mediaeval or earlier origins, although we have found no evidence yet of any features earlier than about 1600. From the shape and size of the plot, and its position within the town it seems most likely that it was one of several burgage plots in Watchet. Burgage plots are long narrow plots giving frontage to the street for residential and trade purposes, but providing land behind for agricultural or trade activities. The burgesses paid rent to the landowner and were entitled to vote for members of parliament. This plot originally extended right through to Harbour Road, but is now only half that size. There are the remains of many old buildings still visible in the garden of No 9 Harbour Road – the other half of the original plot.

The building that fronts on to Swain Street is mainly of early seventeenth century origin. As we work on it we are discovering more about it. Before starting work on the building the only evidence of this date was one elm beam with a chamfer typical of that period. A further beam had been encased in softwood, but, when this was removed it proved to be similar. Dry rot had severely affected a studwork partition wall which had to be removed, but its top member (also elm) proved to be the head of an earlier screen, probably a cross-passage screen. When we removed plaster from the chimney breast at the north end, we found that the bressummer was still in place, of a size common in the seventeenth century and a small chamfer on the front lower edge.

The bressummer revealed.

We suspected that there was a further fireplace on the east (back) wall of the front rooms as there is a chimney above the roof level at this point, but we were thrilled to find, on removing plaster, that there was a much larger fireplace and probably older, complete with bressummer. We opened it up carefully and found remains of at least four stages of infill before reaching the back of the original inglenook.

The inglenook opened up.

Fireplaces and chimneys of this size were introduced to existing houses in the beginning of the seventeenth century where previously the fire had been in the middle of the floor, but in much of Somerset they were commonly introduced inside the house, usually inside an end wall in Watchet. In Devon and in the most westerly part of Somerset they were more often built on the outside of the house, on a side wall and often can be seen sticking out. This fireplace and chimney at 41 is therefore unusual in Watchet. It is probable that the beams and upper floor were introduced at the same time and about two thirds of the original elm joists have survived, and in the room with the large fireplace they are smoke-blackened, indicating that there was originally no ceiling. They support broad elm floorboards which are not smoke-blackened indicating that they are not the originals. They have been overlaid with newer pine boards, probably about a hundred years ago.

The head of the cross-passage screen; one of the two elm beams; elm joists and floorboards.

At some stage, probably in the eighteenth century, a two-storey extension was built on the northern end of the back wall, probably housing a kitchen or scullery. It too has a fireplace, but smaller than the others and possibly built to house a range. A lean-to or “catslide" extension was constructed across the back of the house providing a rear entrance and larder/pantry. Further outshot single- storey extensions were later built to accommodate service rooms and a toilet.

The original house would have had a much lower roof than it has now and it would have been thatched. Nothing remains of this roof as the building was considerably “modernised”, probably between 1900 and 1915. Major work was carried out. The roof was removed and the whole upper floor was raised, giving bedrooms with a generous room height. The roof was covered with Welsh slates. Three sash windows were introduced in these upper rooms, facing Swain Street. New doors, skirting boards, floorboards and fireplaces were introduced, and a new stair was constructed. The ground floor room floors were excavated and suspended wooden floors inserted. Between the cross-passage screen and the south (Co-op) end of the house was probably all one room (the hall) until then, but as part of these alterations, a brick dividing wall was built dividing it in two. A new narrow entrance hall was formed with the, then fashionable, patterned floor tiles and a new front door way was made.

Entrance hall floor and brick wall.

Between the entrance hall and the south (co-op) end, a small room was formed with a suspended timber floor. It and the hallway were panelled out, walls and ceiling, with matchboarding which had a pencil moulding beside the tongue, but the boarding was fixed the wrong way round, with its face-side to the brick/stonework. I have found this elsewhere in Watchet and can only assume that there was a plentiful supply of quality matchboarding going cheap in the town at the time. It was then covered with a layer of fine fabric and then wallpapered over. The result must have been a cosy, draught-free room. Jackie Binding, who lived in the house as a girl says that they called it the nursery. A small fireplace with a tiled surround was installed with a relatively small flue. Presumably the matchboarding was an available alternative to lath and plaster (plasterboard had not been developed by then) and the fabric was to prevent the wallpaper from tearing with the shrinkage of the boards.