Wednesday, February 5, 2014
In the pink
The previous post about the black and white timber-framed Round House in Evesham provoked some comment – in the comments section, via email, and elsewhere – about the relative merits of the black and white 'magpie' look of this building and the more restrained (and arguably more 'authentic') approach of leaving the timber untreated and perhaps colouring the infill with some kind of pigment. I thought this scene in Tewkesbury, showing the latter approach, might interest my readers.
What you can see here is a view along a side street into the main street. In the distance, on the left of the picture, you can catch just a glimpse of a late-15th century row house, which has been restored with natural grey timbers and plain white infill. This row was built by Tewkesbury Abbey and the buildings were originally shops. On the ground floor, where the window and green panelling are, there would have been an opening, closed at night with wooden shutters and open by day to reveal the shopkeeper's wares.
In the middle of the picture is another house, also restored and probably also late-medieval. It has been restored with a pink infill. Not everyone likes this, but it was certainly an approach taken by some house-builders of the late Middle Ages and was achieved by mixing animal blood with the infill material. I'd not want every building to look like this, but the result certainly adds a note of cheer to the street (it wasn't all monochrome in the Middle Ages, or always raining in the ancient world!), especially as the rain relentlessly falls and the floods get worryingly near to the town centre.
On the right is another timber frame in grey and white. This time the original building has been refronted in brick, and heightened too, and the exposed frame at the end of the structure shows how this has happened. It's a reminder that timber frames lurk inside many later brick buildings – although this one can hardly be playing a structural role much beyond the end wall. It's still pat of the story, though, even if it's not entirely clear in this case what the story actually was.