Here in the Yorkshire Dales we are surrounded by once modest vernacular buildings (some unlisted like ours) which have been ‘upgraded’ in a manner which has destroyed their uniqueness and finding a building firm with the skills needed to maintain their originality and architectural charm can be difficult. So, faced with a roof which appeared to have ‘failed’ very suddenly, it would have been all too easy to have been persuaded that the ‘only’ solution was complete renewal with modern materials and that this would prove ‘cheaper’. Thanks to Pickles both these apparent solutions have proved a myth.
We were immediately encouraged by their very different response to our dilemma and are delighted with the result, which is perfectly in keeping with the building as a whole. They have just completed a four week repair of the stone slate roof on our vernacular Dales cottage and its single bay attached barn. This has involved the careful removal of all the original stone slate, assessing its suitability for reuse (only 30%) checking all the timber work (thankfully nearly all OK), sourcing replacement stone and reslating with it.
We have been impressed by all aspects of the team’s approach to the task and to us, they were a pleasure to have around. We particularly liked:
1. their teamwork as evidenced by how well they got with each other and the sharing of tasks, for example not leaving the least pleasant job (loft insulation!) to the two ‘junior’ members of the team; sharing which pair did the front and back of both roofs so that the two ‘junior’ members had the opportunity to slate the front of the barn.
2. their evident understanding of and respect for an old building like this one as evidenced by their care and consideration for the building itself. Their calm and confident approach to the task was evident throughout and gave us an immediate sense that the building was in safe hands.
3. witnessing the care which an improver on the team was being supported by a senior foreman. It’s been a delight for us to enable both training in and gaining experience of an important heritage skill and to see how seriously this aspect of the work is taken.
Thank you Gary, Steve, Steve, Sam, Reeece and Paul