Work continues to progress at amazing pace at the LSI and recent developments for some reason have lots of very strong colours running through them.
The rear roof is now covered with slate and lead guttering details are being put in place.
The front roof isn’t far behind. Now the interior scaffolding has been removed the new first floor mezzanine is starting to take shape.
Inside the floors are being cut to allow for the lift shaft so the old colourful toilets are now gone. In contrast the rear building is looking a little ominous as the tanking begins but it won’t be long before dark becomes light
At the front the light is flooding through the scaffolding and casting lovely shadows on the ramp down into the basement – and I wonder if the builders are making votive offerings to help speed the project?
We are looking to commission an artist to work with community groups to develop a permanent art installation reflecting the literary history and heritage of the LSI, for the interior of the lift carriage.
The project is part of the programme of heritage inspired activities for the restoration project.
To request a full brief for the project please contact us through the website or email firstname.lastname@example.org
It is so busy at the LSI this week – although everything seems to be happening at basement and higher levels leaving the ground floor relatively calm.
At basement new walls (many wheelbarrows of bricks being laboriously taken down the front ramp to where they are needed!) and the base of the lift shaft are being constructed.
The rear basement rooms are being prepared for tanking to deal with the constant damp and make them usable in the future. The air is filled with dust as concrete is sprayed onto the walls as part of this process.
Big excitement at first floor as the huge steels of the mezzanine have now been installed. These were craned into the first floor windows early last Sunday morning. It has absolutely transformed the space – it will be the most amazing space to work with views down to West Bay. (if you are interested in office space leave your email on our contact page and we’ll add you to our mailing list so you here about opportunities as soon as they become available – the LSI will be THE place to be!)
The roof is looking good and it won’t be long before slates can go back on. There’s still quite a lot of careful repair and restoration to restore the original features in this beautiful old building – but its getting there.
The builders working on site are doing a fantastic job and its worth just recognizing that they are working in really tricky conditions and appreciating how jolly and friendly they always are. During the cold weather it has felt as if the inside of the LSI is significantly colder than everywhere else but due to constraints of the site there is no warm and cosy site office for coffee and lunch times. The builders have to use what ever space is available (currently the landing) and heat comes from small freestanding electric heaters – its freezing in there!
The hallowed flexi bucket has been the tool of choice during the excavations – tonnes and tonnes of mud, clay and rubble have been removed by hand from the basement and out of the building through a small window opening – a feat of patience and endurance!
There is a real sense that everyone working on site is very proud of their work, they really care and appreciate just how important the LSI is as an historic building. Its incredibly exciting to see work progressing and reassuring to know that the building is in really good hands.
Things are moving at a pace now and slowly the building seems to be coming back together after some really, really BIG repair work.
In the basement the rear building floor has been excavated and new drainage laid to deal with the perpetual damp and flooding. Just in the last few weeks there has been mud, followed by gravel and now there is a screed.
The drainage pipes to deal with all the water are huge!
At the front of the building the ugly ramp has gone and the original stone and basement windows have been exposed – this really opens up the building and will allow natural light into the basement to make the rooms usable. A platform lift will be installed over the small steps at the top of the ramp going down to the basement to allow access for all and the original steps up to the front door and railings along the front will be reinstated – its going to look great and will start to make visual sense with the building next door once again.
On the roof the front parapet has now been rebuilt and there are lovely new (and very stable!) chimneys that are crucial for natural ventilation in the building.
The flat roof behind the parapet is being constructed and all the massive structural steels are now in place. I think we can all be sure that this building is still going to be standing many hundreds of years into the future.
The last week has seen the arrival and installation of the major steels in the roof to reinforce the building structure and enable the new mezzanine in the first floor. For safety we had to close the footpath outside the building for one day but when you look at the size of the steels – which all had to be individually hoisted up the front of the building – I’m sure no-one would really want to be walking anywhere near them when they were in mid air!
Meanwhile elsewhere in the building the floor to the rear building has gone – it would make quite a lovely banqueting hall! However a new floor will be going in, together with miles of cabling and ventilation to create lovey new toilets and super smart professional work space (if you’re looking to set up, expand or simply get out of the house to work, the LSI will be the place to be – you can send us an email via the contact page if you want to be kept in touch!)
This work has revealed more lovely handmade details – here the mortise and tenon joinery on the old fireplace hearth
Like a little chick hatching from its shell we’re nearly through opening up the downstairs arch – and the lift openings are now finished.
We will hopefully have one more post before the site closes for Christmas next week. Thank you all for your ongoing interest and support – 2017 will see huge changes and a glorious reopening of this amazing building later in the year.
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Face: Shape and Angle – Helen Muspratt
An illustrated talk on the photographer by her daughter Jessica Sutcliffe
Tuesday 7 February 2017
7.00pm for 7.30pm
BRIDPORT TOWN HALL
The pioneering photographer, Helen Muspratt was encouraged to open her first studio in her home town of Swanage, Dorset by Francis (Fra) Newbery, painter of the murals in Bridport Town Hall and the retired head of the Glasgow School of Art, who had himself studied at the LSI.
He later introduced her to her future partner Lettice Ramsey and together they opened a new studio; Ramsey & Muspratt, in Cambridge and were drawn in to a brilliant society of young intellectuals, artists, scientists and left wing activists and made portraits of many well known people.
Fascinated by the work of Man Ray, they began experimenting with techniques such as solarisation and multiple exposures, producing extraordinary images of their friends and clients which are now recognised as important examples of Twentieth Century photography.
Helen Muspratt also ventured into documentary photography when she visited the Soviet Union in 1936 and the Welsh Mining Valleys the following year. Her story includes fascinating glimpses of a childhood in India, the artistic community in Purbeck in the twenties and thirties, experiments in the darkroom with Cambridge Scientists, marriage to a communist party activist, the reality of being a working mother and above all, her passionate interest in recording the human face in all its shapes and angles.
This talk celebrates the publication of a new book on Helen Muspratt by Jessica Sutcliffe, copies of which will be for on sale on the night and for signing by the author.
Working on the lift openings…
Breaking through blocked archways… Seeing the floor in the back building coming up…
Marvelling that the roof hasn’t collapsed in before now… (check out the rot – the major steels to support the whole structure will be going in next week)
Going slalom through the basement and generally appreciating all the straight lines and the light coming in…
I was told by the architect today that this is a VERY important new brick pillar. It is now holding up the main dividing wall throughout the building so we can feel confident that it is not going to collapse any time soon.
The window in the basement under the front door is the latest to be removed for restoration.
The roof is now off the LSI and the condition of the rafters and the underlying support can be inspected.
Detail of some of the wood to which the rafters are attached – not looking that great.
A good opportunity to have a vacuum up in the roof!