As part of the initial stages of the project the listed building that the Museum lives in had to be assessed. Working with listed building officers, surveyors, architects and structural engineers this involved discovering what was under the floors and behind the walls in the Museum.
So what did we find?
Below are some images of the main discoveries we have made so far!
These images show the door to 39 Sun Street and an image of the Museum building from the street.
You can see where the doorway is on the outside of the building in the image of the street but who knew the door itself still existed inside the Museum! This would have been an Edwardian doorway which was plastered over in 1979/80 when the Museum was first established. It has been hidden behind the walls in the Museum shop and reception area all this time.
Here you can see parts of the 18th century lath wall structure on the first floor of 37 Sun Street. This was a method of construction used before plasterboard. Internal partition walls and ceilings were lined with individual strips of timber lath and plastered over. The laths, about an inch wide, were made from split timber, and individually nailed to each ceiling joist or wall stud. Lathing a new house would use thousands of nails, each hammered in by hand.
Below is an image of one of our contractors. They carefully revealed the floor joists of the Grade 2 timber frame building for assessment. This joist is a hand sawn, reused piece of timber that seems to be contemporary with the 16th century building next door. It was reused in the floor construction in this part of the building in the 19th century.
The next stages include finalising plans and drawings ready for the building work to begin. Part of the new display will involve a better interpretation of the Museum building’s history and construction using some of the discoveries we have made in the process.