Mansfield Bros, Otterhead Estate, 1900

Foxwell & sons, builder and maker of poultry houses

Peter Harrison talks to the History Group

Peter Harrison entertained the History Group at the September Thursday meeting on the history of building materials including bricks, clay tiles and terracotta. The Italian specialists on terracotta who were very active in England pre 1500 were all sent packing when our links withRome ended in 1534. The archaeological dig at Churchills which unearthed a Mediaeval Pottery Factory perhaps benefited from this precursor of the English Defence League in the shape of Henry VIII. When brick buildings became fashionable, the older wooden frame buildings were then covered in overlapping thin tiles that made them look brick built. We have always had a fashionable approach to architecture and building designs, importing techniques and materials from around the world. Our innovative approach has now resulted in the many successful architectural practices in the UK winning contracts all over the world.

Peter presented many examples of our building techniques used in previous ages by showing slides of many of our more famous buildings around the country. Here in the South West we have a rich heritage of Country Houses using different building styles. One of these, EscotPark, held a Heritage Day recently when Mark Cox, who has spoken at our monthly meeting, had created a full size Iron Ore Furnace using Iron Ore and charcoal from the Blackdown Hills. Escot have a Saxon village laid out in the grounds with examples of handicraft from this era being worked on.

Ronald Doble – 1973

Ronald Doble, a builder, who began his career as a carpenter and wheelwright. The family business is now continued by his son Brian.

Dennis Hart – 1973

Dennis Hart. Dennis’s family first came to Hemyock in 1702 and have been builders in the village for generations. He has now retired but his son, Steve, continues to run the family business.

The Old Saw Mill Yard, Hemyock

The Old Saw Mill Yard c 1891-1893. This circular saw was driven by a portable steam engine, as opposed to a traction engine which moved under it’s own power. This engine was hauled by a horse, the shafts are visible in front of the smoke box. The chimney was hinged to fold horizontally, laying in the