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Door Repair for Stovax Huntingdon 35 Multi-Fuel Stove

Posted By paddy

It is that time of year when I spend some time repairing people’s wood-burning stoves. This is obviously something best done in the spring/summer months when the stove is not in use, as it involves removing the stove doors and taking them away to be reconditioned. In this way everyone benefits; the customer does not lose the use of their stove during the cold season and I have the time to complete such repairs during the sweeping off-season. This is so much the case; I repaired five different stoves last week alone.

One of the stoves I reconditioned the door for was this Stovax Huntingdon 35 Multi-Fuel Stove. A really nice classical yet contemporary stove. It has a nice seized firebox as well as one large glass stove window. It was this piece of glass and the door ceramic rope seal that required replacing. The glass had become cracked and part of it had fallen out of the door.

As usual I sourced the glass from VetroSpec in Great Chesterford, I have not found anywhere else that is so reasonably priced and helpful. They will actually cut the glass for you whilst you wait! The proprietors Antonio & Penny Portente are ever so helpful and friendly, I would recommend them to anyone! – VetroSpec – Precision Glass Engineering, Unit 1 Park Farm, Park Road, Great Chesterford, Essex CB10 1RN – T01799531363 – Sales@vetrospec.co.uk – www.vetrospec.co.uk

I don’t think there is any dispute that the repaired door looks very good!

A Domestic Pet as a Thatched Animal, a Cat

Posted By paddy

This is a first, a domestic pet as a thatched animal! I saw this thatched animal on a roof in Abbotsbury when I was on holiday earlier in the year in Dorset. I can’t say I have ever seen any other domestic pets as thatched animals. So as here, the choice of thatched animal that appears on any roof must be purely down to the personal taste of the owners. Unfortunately I didn’t see any other examples of thatched animals as pets whilst I was on my Dorset holiday! I had a very relaxing break though with lots of walking.

Yeoman County Stove Swept and Repaired

Posted By paddy

I recently swept and repaired this very large Yeoman County stove at an address in Newport. As can be seen from the pictures, the baffle in this stove had almost completely disintegrated and both the door glasses were cracked and broken.

The baffle repair created something of a problem as in 2006 Stovax who are based in Exeter bought Yeoman Stoves and took over the production of some of their more popular stoves. The problem was that Stovax were no longer producing stoves such as the Yeoman County and were additionally no longer producing replacement parts for these discontinued stoves. Interestingly, Stovax Limited were established in 1981 and tend to produce a more contemporary line of stoves, where as Yeoman Stoves commenced production around about the same time, initially based on a small farm on Dartmoor and have tended to produce more traditional stoves with an emphasis upon a more rustic, rural styling.

So I had a problem, in that I couldn’t just go to the manufacture and buy an off the shelf baffle, because they simply no longer made them. I solved this difficulty by having a completely new baffle fabricated by a blacksmith. I used David Gowlett at Springwell Forge Ugley. David did an excellent job, at very short notice and at a very reasonable price; in fact cheaper than it normally costs to purchase a baffle from a manufacturer. Davids contact details should you need them are:

David Gowlett Blacksmith – Springwell Forge
The Forge, Ugley, Nr Bishops Stortford, Herts CM22 6HY
Forge: 01799 543272
Home: 01638 669326
Mobile:07410 546850

As usual I sourced the glass from VetroSpec in Great Chesterford, I have not found anywhere else that is so reasonably priced and helpful. They will actually cut the glass for you whilst you wait! The proprietors Antonio & Penny Portente are ever so helpful and friendly, I would recommend them to anyone! – VetroSpec – Precision Glass Engineering, Unit 1 Park Farm, Park Road, Great Chesterford, Essex CB10 1RN – T01799531363 – Sales@vetrospec.co.uk – www.vetrospec.co.uk

I think you will all agree that the finished stove looks fantastic!

Football Themed Thatched Animal – Tottenham Hotspur Cockerel

Posted By paddy

I noticed this very unusual thatched animal the other day on the Old Forge in Radwinter. I could be wrong, but I think that this thatched animal is suspiciously like the emblem of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club? Tottenham Hotspur was founded in 1882 and in 1901 they became the only non-league club to win the FA Cup since the formation of the Football League in 1888. The clubs emblem is a cockerel standing on a football and the club Latin motto is Audere est Facere, literally, “To Dare Is to Do”. The origins of the Tottenham Hotspur emblem would appear to be associated with fighting cocks. Apparently the Hotspur part of the clubs name derives from Harry Hotspur who was known to fit his fighting cocks with spurs, which can be seen in the clubs crest. Further to this 1909 a former player named William James Scott made a bronze cast of a cockerel standing on a football to be placed on top of the West Stand and since then the cockerel and ball have been the major part of the club’s identity. Clearly, I think a spurs fan must reside in the Old Forge at Radwinter?

Hamlet Stove Swept in Radwinter

Posted By paddy

I came across this rather attractive and elegant stove in a thatch property in Radwinter the other day. It is manufactured by a company called Hamlet Stoves and is not a make I had come across previously; hence its insertion in my weekly blog. Hamlet Stoves are a Devon based company that was set up in 1966, by a married couple Rode and George. The companies engineering works are actually based in Axminster, which of course is famous for its carpet manufacturing industry. The company is noted for their Hardy and DEFRA ranges of stoves, all of which have a blend of contemporary and traditional features.

The occupier told me that the stove provides excellent heat in what is a rather large lounge and which he said can get rather cold in the winter. He went on to say that the stove had been alight every day all through winter and was frequently the sole source of heating for the room. Consequently, upon cleaning, the stove flue was found to be rather dirty; however although a large quantity of soot was removed, it was of a very fine consistency showing that the stove had been operated correctly at its optimum performance.

In conversation with the occupier I discovered that the stove had been supplied and fitted by Will Parker of Thaxted Stoves. He told me that Thaxted Stoves had additionally built up the chimney so it was well away from the thatch and had further increased the height by adding a half meter tall chimney pot. I had to admit that it was a very neat and tidy job.

Thaxted Stoves:

Phone: 01371700305 or 07990511589

Email: info@ThaxtedStoves.com

http://www.thaxtedstoves.com

Thatched Aggression – More Fighting Hares

Posted By paddy

More hares, this time on a thatched roof in Stoke by Clare, indeed this is the second set of boxing hares that I have seen in Stoke by Clare; the first set were on a cottage in the middle of the villages whilst this pair are on a roof on the outskirts of the village when travelling from Wixoe. I know that you are thinking why do hares box in the first palace, well I’ll tell you all about it. Firstly it is not the male hares who box each other to win the right to mate with females as many people think, instead it will be a male and female who box each other. This happens when a male hare has been over zealous in his pursuit of a female in order to mate with her. What usually occurs is that the over persistent, unwanted attentions of the male become too much for the pursued female. For example the male might have chased the female across fields for some time in an attempt to mate. Eventually when the female has had enough of this, she’ll turn around and try to fend him off the persistent male suitor and a fierce boxing match will ensue! This mating behavior normally takes place in March giving rise to the expression, “mad as a March hare”.

Small Franco-Belge Stove Repaired and Swept

Posted By paddy

Recently I swept and repaired a small Franco-Belge stove for a customer in Thaxted. It is a common problem with wood-burning stoves that the door glass can break or crack from use. The usual causes for this are that the door is closed to heavily, or closed against a log or other obstruction. Unfortunately, many customers believe that their door glass is toughened in some way and is smash resistant; whilst their glass is heat-resistant it is not the case that it is smash-resistant. In this case I was able to remove the old broken glass, clean up the door and replace the glass for just £80.

As usual I sourced the glass from VetroSpec in Great Chesterford, I have not found anywhere else that is so reasonably priced and helpful. They will actually cut the glass for you whilst you wait! The proprietors Antonio & Penny Portente are ever so helpful and friendly, I would recommend them to anyone! – VetroSpec – Precision Glass Engineering, Unit 1 Park Farm, Park Road, Great Chesterford, Essex CB10 1RN – T01799531363 – Sales@vetrospec.co.ukwww.vetrospec.co.uk

Thatched Animals on the Move – Running Hares

Posted By paddy

I saw these fantastic thatched hares running across the ridge of a cottage in Ashden (opposite the Rose & Crown pub) the other day. I think these are amazing thatched sculptures, perhaps the best I have seen; they are so animated and alive, giving a real sense of movement! Hares are rather fascinating animals, so here are some interesting facts about hares: Hares form part of the genus Lepus, the same family group as rabbits. Young hares are known as Leverets and the collective noun for a group of hares is a ‘drove’. Although, characteristically hares are a solitary animal or live in pairs; they live in a den formed on the ground which is called a ‘form’. A male hare was once called a Jack and a female a Jill. Mother hares have between 1 to 4 litters, usually three, a year, with one to four leverets per litter, with the Leverets being born from February to October. A new litter is conceived before the previous one has been born. Hares can run very fast reaching speeds of 45mph which is how fast these two on the roof are probably going! They also tend to run in straight lines, and if they are seen to turn whilst running it will normally be a right angle turn.

Large Coalbrookdale Severn Stove Swept

Posted By paddy

I recently swept this large Severn Stove in a house in Radwinter. They are a rather handsome, elegant if not a little old fashioned type of stove, but are well suited for large inglenook chimney places appertaining to large room spaces. Attractive features of the stoves are the decorative iron work, which includes latticework, decorative swans on the air intake controls and the name Severn on the top of the stove. The Coalbrookdale Company also manufactures another similar stove called the Darby which has similar ornate decorative features.

I am not sure whether these stoves are still in production and haven’t been able to find out one way or another from internet searches. I say this because I have seen a lot of Severn Stoves in and around the Walden area; in particular in Radwinter, Wimbish, Ashdon, Wendons Ambo and Arkesden to name a few. However, in all these instances the stoves have been in place for a long time, 30 years plus in some instances. This leads me to believe that the stove was very popular in the past, but is either no longer as popular, or is out of production. Certainly, at some time in the past there must have been someone in the Walden area who was installing Severn stoves as the stove of choice.

What I did find of interest whilst conducting my internet searches, was that the Coalbrookdale Company has an extremely long and interesting history that goes right back to the birth of the Industrial Revolution and far beyond. In the 12th Century the area of Coalbrookdale which is in Shropshire fell within the manor of Madeley, which belonged to Much Wenlock Priory. The monks here operated a bloomery (iron foundary) called “Caldebroke Smithy”. In 1536 bloomery recorded as still being in operation, however in 1540 during the dissolution of the Monistaries Much Wenlock Priory was closed by King Henry VIII, but the bloomery continued working. Then in 1544 the “Smethe Place” and “Calbroke Smethe” were leased to a Hugh Morrall. This is believed to refer to the Lower Forge (SJ667038) and Upper Forge (SJ669042). Before in 1545 the abbey’s lands being eventually bought by the king’s Italian physician, Agostino Agostini but he sold them in the same year (presumably at a profit) to a local man called Thomas Lawley. Then in 1572 the manor was acquired by John Brooke, who constructed a number of coal mines on his land and continued the operation of the bloomery.

In 1615 Brooke’s son, Sir Basil Brooke, bought the patent for making steel by the cementation process and built a blast furnace at Coalbrookdale. Interestingly, Brooke was arrested in 1644  by Parliament after being involved in a plot to prevent the Scottish army taking part in the English Civil War. The following year Brooke’s estate was sequestrated by Parliament but the works continued in use. Then in 1651 the manor was leased to Francis Wolfe, the clerk of the ironworks, by Brooke’s heirs.  Brooke had died in 1646 so presumably Parliament had returned the manor to his family. In 1658 – a new blast furnace and forges were built. In 1688 the ironworks were leased by a Shadrach Fox, who in 1696 was supplying round cannon shot and grenado shells to the Board of Ordnance during the Nine Years War. Unfortunately in 1703 the furnace blew up but the forges remained in use.

In 1709 Abraham Darby I acquired the lease and created the Coalbrookdale Company, an iron foundry which used coke as fuel to make pots and pans. The company had a very long history and is famous for making the first iron bridge which still stands to this day. In 1945 the company started manufacturing wood-burning stoves and the Rayburn cooker. In 1969 the company was absorbed into Allied Ironfounders Ltd.

As an interesting aside, my dad was evacuated to Coalbrookdale at the beginning of the Second World War; he subsequently spent the war living with an elderly widow helping to run her small holding.

Another Thatched Animal Family – Mother Fox & Her cubs

Posted By paddy

Here is another family of thatched animals that I spotted in Stoke by Clare when I was out working the other day. I thought that this family grouping looks rather cute, but I should think that there are many country people who view foxes as vermin, who would not be of the same opinion. Did you know that fox cubs are born in the spring with the mother usually giving birth to between 4 to 5 cubs; the mother gives birth in a den which she rarely leaves when the cubs are young. The mother’s pregnancy lasts for fifty three days which is just a little shorter than a domestic dog. The choice of dens is very varied, and they can be above or below ground, for example, reused earths of other animals like badger sets, and unused or unoccupied buildings and garden sheds. To begin with the cubs are blind and deaf and their fur is very short and black in colour. Initially the father fox will bring food to the den to help feed the mother fox whilst she is suckling the cubs. During this time mother and cubs do not leave the den as the cubs are totally dependent upon the mother for food and warmth. After a time the mother begins to start leaving the den, progressively spending more and more time away from the cubs. After about a month the cubs begin to leave the den, exploring the local environment for short periods. It is at this time that the cubs begin to start eating solid food and are well on the way to adulthood. If you keep your eyes peeled you might be able to spot some fox cubs in the late spring.

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