We would like to share the first letter addressed to the archive at its new home in the Admiralty Boathouse, which appropriately was a Friend’s donation towards work on the Boathouse.
Our approach to the refurbishment of the Boathouse is to restore it to its original condition using existing coving and making skirting to match. Many boards nailed and screwed to the original panelling have been removed to reveal original panelling and coving beneath. New moulding has been used to replace old and damaged sections with a profile matching the original.
A great deal of rubble, timber and plastic trunking inside the building and rubbish that had accumulated outside the building was cleared by Volunteers. There was also an unwanted fridge, steel window bars, a steel security cabinet and a toilet which the Harbour Authorities removed.
The cupboard under the stairs was cleaned out and rubbish removed. This area will be scrubbed and painted. The plan is to have a sink and water heater for tea and coffee making here, which the Harbour Authorities will install. There is a convenient drain to connect to immediately outside.
The chamfered groove between each wall panel was cleaned out to emphasise this feature and the panelling rubbed down and cleaned off with sugar soap solution to remove old dirt and nicotine. Hundreds of nail and screw holes and surface damages were filled with wood filler. There were cuts and slots in the skirting boards and window sills and a start was made filling these with an epoxy resin wood filler. The East and West windows in the first room were stripped of paint using a heat gun and paint stripper, then rubbed down ready for primer and undercoat.
We have taken down damaged sections of the ceiling and installed laths to aid re-plastering which will be done by the Harbours Authorities. The removal of coving and a plasterboard panel from above the front door revealed a pull switch that is now working thanks to the Harbour electrician. At the other end of the room we took down two heavy wooden beams that had once held the dividing panelling to the old Messengers Room
The removal of another section of sagging ceiling revealed an old stove flue pipe stuffed with saturated newspaper and surrounded by very wet timbers.
We removed the sheet of plywood used to reinforce the bottom half of the front door to reveal the original panelling that matches the adjoining panels. The internal bolt was also removed.
The back door has four reed-patterned window panes in the top half of the door, one of these had been broken and covered with a sheet of hardboard and four planks screwed across the door on the outside. We removed the planks, the hardboard, and the broken glass (still in place) and fitted a new matching pane of reed-patterned glass. Further work will follow cleaning up and improving the door.
And so, January came to an end
Many thanks to our January volunteers: Tony Fitt, Ron Hogg, Tom Lodge, Brian Newton, Sean Perrott, Vaughan Williams who have worked so hard and to the Harbour Personnel for their help and encouragement.
Progress Report for January 2017 (Ron Hogg)