Cob Repairs

The Coal Store, Guilsborough

The cob barn is a central feature in Guilsborough but it has been suffering from a common earth building problem of water entering through the base due to a raised ground level.

The adjacent ground level land was lowered and the brickwork foundation walls were rebuilt and re-pointed.

Repairs were then aimed at removing the decayed earth and replacing with pre-dried clay blocks. The blocks were made using local clay that would match the existing colour, texture and porosity. The building is not rendered so a satisfactory surface finish was an important aspect of the work. All mortar repairs were carried out using a lime putty mortar. Another part of the project was to close up holes that bees had burrowed into the walls; this was obviously causing decay, albeit over a long period of time. This was carried out without affecting the overall appearance or character of the structure.

It is important that any substantial repairs are not “lost” within the building and for historical reasons there must be subtle differences between original material and any subsequent repairs. This will enable future generations to “read” the building.

Internally one of the stores had further cob wall repairs carried out and the lime render was laid on top. The whole store then had three coats of lime wash applied.

A report of the work will be supplied to the Parish Council for their records. This will enable future repairs to be carried out, with an understanding of what has gone on before.