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We have been told that George Chambers has died. He has been a great source of stories of old Canvey. RIP George.

By Janet Penn
On 23/07/2017

I remember this old building from my explorations of the Island when we moved our caravan to Newlands from North Kent . It's lucky that photos were taken before being demolished .

I studied construction became a QS and went on to architecture and the study of the vernacular of construction up to the Victorian period . I was a member of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) for a number of years. In my lifetime I have discovered many buildings like this that had been upgraded through numerous periods in the fashion to discover within a much older building in existence . Many are now listed by the local authorities , one a 2* for its unique unaltered cellar after discovery of a fake wall next to a central core stack.

From the photo watercolour and description. This building is typical of a 17th Century lobby entrance house of some importance as there would have been no oak on Canvey when built the subsoil and high water table only supporting willow or alder species . The building has been upgraded in the Georgian Period probably because the owners had been quite successful in the farming of the land . It would have showed wealth to restyle the original early Stuart timber frame building to the proportions of a newer Georgian house . It was likely that the refinish would have been ashlared stucco to appear like stone and colour washed . The central stack and back to back " inglenooks" is typical of the period . Originally the roof would have been thatched from local reed and the walls wattled and daubed , but it's location would have taken its toll on this method of construction with its exposed daubed panels . Featheredge , was the usual remedy to keep out draughts due panel shrinkage . The proportions have been altered by the addition of timber plates on top of the originals to increase the height of the walls and and saddle joists on top of the originals to decrease the pitch from the 50° plus of the original thatch roof to 40° to permit slating or tiling . The catslide side addition added at the same time to place the cooking and scullery services outside of the main building . Windows would have been intentionally covered over or altered to achieve the Georgian characteristic appearance .

The brick footings are normal for a timber frame building in this type of marshy location . In well drained areas of sand and gravel the sole plate timbers would have been laid laid directly on the subsoil , sand or gravel . A compacted lime ash floor laid and finished in brick pamments in like putty. Luckily many comparable buildings still exist in similar locations on the Essex coast . Unfortunately the size of the bricks were not described as these are an immediate indicator of age .

The outbuildings were built at the time of , or slightly later during the Georgian upgrading .

An example of a new build Georgian era farmhouse is that proclaimed to be the haunted house of Spragge's farm . This is not the original building that stood on that site in 1704 of William and Mary Period but a later Georgian built house of new build with a stack at either end . The original would have been much like that above . This is all to do with one upmanship to simply show off how well the owner is doing . One upgrades an existing timber frame farmhouse to look 'de rigeur' , the neighbouring farmer demolishes his timber frame building and replaces it in brick in the latest style .

I am surprised that a little more effort was not put into the saving of this Farmhouse by CIUDC at the time .

By Malcolm Roberts
On 08/12/2018

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