WORK IN PROGRESS AT THE OLD FIRE STATION
All the work on the refurbishment of the new room has now been completed and the decorators are doing their job. This just leaves the final electrical work, mainly the installation of the light fittings, to be completed once they have finished. Already the room is completely transformed and it will only be a few days before we can install the large picture of the 'Fire in Alresford' in its new home.
We will then have to embark on an extensive 'Spring Clean' which we may delay until the kitchen/toilet refurbishment especially as, in the light of Government guidance we will not now be opening on Easter Sunday.
The restoration of the old door at the rear of the room has also to be completed and whilst we have obtained the wood for this job we will probably wait until the kitchen is finished before undertaking this as there is now no time pressure to complete it.
Whilst the electrical work was being done we discovered that the loft above the Engine House is completly boarded over, insulated and dry and light and power have been installed. This area will be a useful storage area for certain artefacts.
Work has been progressing steadily during the last few weeks.
- The framing for the large picture that was on the rear wall of the 'front room' has now been put in place and provision made for the electrical sockets below.
- The brickwork where the old breeze block wall joined the existing wall has been made good.
- All of the old floor coverings (there were at least four) have been removed and the original brick floor exposed. It is exactly the same as the front and is in remarkably good condition. We were at first dismayed to see a very large patch of concrete in the middle but after some very careful work with a cold-chisel it was removed to expose the original drainage grill in perfect condition albeit a little rusty.
- All the skirting boards have been removed to provide a route for the electric cables. This exposed a considerable amount of rotten timber at floor level, which when removed enabled us to see daylight. At the moment we cannot get external access to the wall to assess the extent of the problem.
- Following the removal of a couple of T & G boards the room is now ready to have the electrical cabling installed. However the bigger problem will be removing the existing cabling once its original purpose has been established and making sure it is safe to remove.
- The fibre board that covered the rear doors has now been completely removed and the window, mentioned below has also been taken out. This allows us to see what needs to be done by way of restoration.
- With thanks to Pete Bridges all remaining rubbish has now been removed.
Next jobs on the list are the removal of the old outside toilet to allow us access to the north wall to assess the remedial work to be done there; the restoration of rear doors and the electrical work.
During November we removed the old stud partition wall which divided the back room and refitted the door between the picture framing workshop and the rear room. This enables Artworthy to secure the workshop from the museum. Following that the block wall between the Engine House and the rear room was removed creating a huge pile of rubble. A doorway has been cut through the temporary partition wall, which with the help of Cleeve Builders, enabled the rubble from the demolished wall to be removed. We can now move freely between the rooms.
During the course of removing some old fibre board on the rear wall of the back room we discovered the old back doors, which are identical to the front except somebody, in their wisdom, many years ago decided to cut an opening and insert a window. We hope to remove the window and restore the doors in the next few weeks.
This does beg the question as to whether there was some sort of vehicle (albeit horse drawn) access to the back of the building. This is quite a common feature in 20th century and modern fire stations but it would seem it originated in Victorian times.
In the meantime the temporary partition wall is being completely removed.
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