A former stable block belonging to the adjacent 18thC Doctor’s house which adjoins the Horsforth Village Museum this building forms part of a group of historic buildings within the Horsforth Conservation Area. Over the years the building has had many uses but the original stable box still remained complete with cast iron and timber stall divider. However past alterations had caused distortion of the structure and after years of neglect the building was at risk of being demolished.
With such limited funds available for the project it was vital that the project was strictly managed throughout the contract period and all variations and additional/unforeseen work controlled by the Project Architect. Priorities were established to ensure the full amount of funding was expended but not exceeded. Obviously the main priority was to restore the building fabric, which required specialist building expertise. However, a ‘wish list’ of other works which could if necessary be undertaken outside the contract was produced. The internal decorations, floor finishes and some internal fixtures including the kitchen range were subsequently undertaken by the Museum Volunteers themselves.
Generally the external character of the building remains unchanged; surviving early features have been restored and as far as possible original fabric retained. In the past the lower members of the main roof truss had been removed to improve the headroom within the upper floor, however this had led to spreading of the roof and consequential bowing of the main side wall. This wall was subsequently found to be unstable and in need of partial rebuilding. The whole roof was completely dismantled for repair and the eaves raised slightly to increase the headroom within the upper room and reinstatement of the original timber truss. Generally the external walls were stabilised using a combination of grouting, masonry stitch repairs and strapping to new internal walls and first floor structure.
The ground floor retains the original Stable box although the stall divider is moved to the side wall to free up the space for activities and exhibitions. Mirrors applied to this wall give the impression of another stall beyond.
The Tack Room area has been altered to include the entrance lobby, toilet accommodation and stairway up to the room above. The floor level within this area was lowered to that of the stable to achieve level access within the whole ground floor area and from the outside courtyard. A disabled persons stairlift links both floors internally.
A genuine cooking ‘range’ removed some years ago from the adjacent Council Housing Office and held in storage by the Museum has been refurbished and installed as a feature of the entrance lobby.
The upper room is retained as a single space for meetings, lectures and teaching and is available for use by local organisations. The original fire damaged floor construction was repaired, cleaned and strengthened to accommodate these uses. The new internal staircase complete with stairlift provides the normal means of access. The replacement external timber staircase serves as an alternative means of escape in the event of an emergency. In the corner of the upper room over the stairs is a small kitchen area.
Since completion of the project the building has been used by local organisations for meetings and by local schools for teaching and ‘hands-on’ activities such as Victorian Wash Days. It is also available for private functions, training sessions and small conferences. The building is proving a great asset to the community.