Salvage or the Skip?

Blacker Hall FarmOne approach to the restoration of a building is to rip everything out and produce a space fit for purpose for the 21st century. The approach that I prefer  – as here at Blacker Hall Farm Shop – is to compromise a little and keep the old features that give a building character and give us a sense of its story.

I’m always sorry to see history thrown in the skip because so many bits and pieces can be recycled. But even architectural salvage only gives you half the story because when you wrench some prize feature from a building and pop it into another it’s like cutting and pasting a paragraph of Charlotte Brontë into a Charles Dickens novel. You might have just about got the right period but you’ve lost the vital context.

barn, Blacker HallHaving said that, I suspect that, several hundred years ago, whoever built this barn – which now houses the farm shop restaurant – went down the architectural salvage route: each of those beams looks as if it had a history before it ended up in its present position.

Link: Blacker Hall farm shop

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  1. Interesting post Richard. The trend in renovating barns takes away important roosting and breeding habitat for barn owls from what I have understood. I hope they are being replaced by something else for the birds and other animals that might need them. What a shame. Barn owls are such striking birds. It’s always a treat to catch a glimpse of one isn’t it.

    1. Next time I’m there I’ll ask them whether they’ve got a resident barn owl. There are other buildings, some very much in an unrestored state.

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