Friday, July 19, 2013

25 Tanners Hill: 18th century building restored

25 Tanners Hill was for many years the base for Witcomb Cycles, which hand built frames in the shop and workshop space behind. It closed in 2009 and has been converted to a private house and the Peter von Kant gallery space.

The conversion/restoration of the building by Dow Jones Architects won a RIBA London Regional Award earlier this year. Like the other buildings in that row, this one dates back to the early 18th century. As described by the architects: 'This grade II listed building, formerly a bicycle repair shop, is a timber-framed building made using timbers from ship construction at the historic Deptford docks. Our restoration exposes the elements of the historic structure that are intact, and uses lime plaster and timber joinery as a neutral background'.

The buidling has been profiled in an article, Down Deep in Deptford, by Jay Merrick in the Architects Journal (15 February 2013). He says: 'The scheme’s exposure of historic fabric is exemplary, the faintly surreal material and spatial qualities of its groundplane an engrossing temporal puzzle. The building is part of a higgledy-piggledy terrace of small two and three-floor houses, most built at the beginning of the 18th century and, in the case of No 25, rebuilt or recast circa 1750. This small fillet of Deptford still radiates a strong sense of that distant past'.

'Most recently, No 25 Tanners Hill had been a bicycle repair shop with a long single-storey asbestos roofed extension at the back. When the architects hacked, investigatively, through the mouldering layers of centuries-old distemper, lime plaster, and detritus on the inside of the western ground floor wall, they were effectively stripping back the final 18th century dividing line between Deptford and the rural wilds of Kent.

The architects Biba Dow and Alun Jones were dealing with a profoundly dilapidated building whose original plan had been derived from an early 18th-century standard London housing design for the ‘lower orders’, taken from Joseph Moxon’s Mechanick Exercises: Or The Doctrine of Handy Works, Applied to the Arts of Smithing, Joinery, Carpentry, Turning [and] Bricklayery'.


Unknown said...

Many (20+) years ago I went on a tour of Deptford with a local historian, who said that the model for this type of house had been taken across the Atlantic, to Baltimore where I believe one or more examples still exist.

shipwright's palace said...

Great to see these buildings being understood and cared for. But not just 'a bicycle repair shop' a famous hand built bicycle frames workshop as indicated in the first photo. A cool correspondence between the tubular steel Stam/Breuer (?) chairs and Witcomb's be(spoke) product. any possibility of a discreet, small or even bike-size homage to this history in the window?

Sue said...

An ideal candidate for Open Space this year!

shipwright's palace said...

AJ article in full here without subscription

Just. Hangsing said...

Wow...I got to drop by and have a look. Very impressive.