Tag Archives: frame

Littlebourne – Queen of the Kent Barns

At last I’ve been able to get into the Littlebourne Barn and it was worth the wait.  It is a fabulous space dating from 1340.  I was given a little booklet by Betty which is so concise and well written, there seems little point in trying to rehash it here, so instead (with permission) I have reproduced parts of it.  It was written by Peter Bell, Lead conservator at Canterbury City Council.

(from the Peter Bell and CCC booklet:)

INTRODUCTION

In Kent’s rich tradition of timber-framed buildings, the aisled barns represent the best of the carpenter’s art.  It was their scale and status in the hierarchy of farm buildings which presented such a challenge to the carpenters of the Middle Ages.  Littlebourne Barn is one of the finest and the best preserved of this most imposing of building types.

EXTERIOR

Littlebourne Barn has all the characteristics of the Kentish aisled Barn: the steeply pitched roof; the long roof slope which sweeps down from the ridge to the low eaves; the oak-boarded walls and the close relationship to the farmhouse and other farm buildings which have long since disappeared.  The timber framed walls stand on brick bearer walls which keep the frame and its wooden cladding away from the damp earth.  They are clad in riven vertical oak boards which are tarred to keep out the weather. The gaps between each board allowed ventilation to the crops within.  The two hipped porches were added in 1961.  The original entrances would have been below the aisle plate.

Littlebourne Barn, c1340, Kent, England

Littlebourne Barn, c1340, Kent, England

INTERIOR

The barn is 172ft long, divided into 7 1/2 bays.  According to carpenters marks found in the architectural survey, it originally had nine bays. t is aisled on all four sides, ie it has an aisle or outshot on each of the main body of the building.  This was the usual way of achieving greater width that the length of the standard tie beam.  The timber frame consists of arcade posts which support arcade plates, which run the length of the barn supporting the rafters.

This section may help!

Barn Section

Tie beams span between the arcade posts at high level and in turn support the crown posts, collar purlins and collars.  Crown-post roof construction gives considerable strength to the upper part of the roof and resists the tendency of rafters to crack.  It was widely used in the 14C and together with diagonal braces between most of the principal timbers and notably the curved shores between arcade posts and post plates, resulted in a remarkably stable structure.  (with thanks to Peter Bell and the Littlebourne Barn Committee)

And now some pictures: I’ve included a few in colour this time but as before I think in general Black & White work better!

Littlebourne Barn, c1340, Kent, England

Littlebourne Barn, c1340, Kent, England

Littlebourne Barn, c1340, Kent, England

Littlebourne Barn, c1340, Kent, England

Littlebourne Barn, c1340, Kent, England

Littlebourne Barn, c1340, Kent, England

Littlebourne Barn, c1340, Kent, England

Littlebourne Barn, c1340, Kent, England

Littlebourne Barn, c1340, Kent, England

Littlebourne Barn, c1340, Kent, England

Littlebourne Barn, c1340, Kent, England

Littlebourne Barn, c1340, Kent, England

Littlebourne Barn, c1340, Kent, England

Littlebourne Barn, c1340, Kent, England

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Singleton Environment Centre, Nr Ashford 2006

As I am in London all day tomorrow, I thought I’d squeeze this in today!

I had a rather quick but interesting visit to the Singleton Environment Centre recently with my good friend Jasper.  I somehow missed this completing in 2006 (that was a very busy time!!).

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I can remember during my first (and only) year of an architecture degree, my tutor telling me that most buildings are designed in less than ideal circumstances for less than ideal sites (or something along those lines).

This though looks like an ideal commission in a ideal location!

BBM Architects, Singleton Centre Building, Neaer Ashford, Kent

BBM Architects, Singleton Centre Building, Neaer Ashford, Kent

BBM Architects, Singleton Centre Building, Neaer Ashford, Kent

BBM Architects, Singleton Centre Building, Neaer Ashford, Kent

BBM Architects, Singleton Centre Building, Neaer Ashford, Kent

I think the building works ok, it sits comfortably in it’s surroundings and the tree columns place it very definitely in the mid naughties!  This said I remain slightly unsure about this sort of eco-modernism and I can’t quite put my finger on why!

BBM Architects, Singleton Centre Building, Neaer Ashford, Kent

But whatever I think, the people there were relaxed and obviously happy in the space and that has got to be the best test of any building.

BBM Architects, Singleton Centre Building, Neaer Ashford, Kent

(Apologies for the abundant fire extinquishers, benches, bins, gas bottles etc)