Leiston Heritage Uncovered

By Marjorie Barnes | Published on 15 February 2018 | 2 min read

Specialists in historical architecture have uncovered rare original details of a historic listed farmhouse on EDF Energy's land in Leiston, Suffolk.

Upper Abbey Farmhouse was damaged by fire in 2010 destroying the roof and much of the interior.

EDF Energy employed Leigh Alston, an architectural historian from Cambridge University, to conduct a heritage assessment of Upper Abbey Farmhouse before sensitively undertaking restoration work necessary following fire damage.

Leigh said: "The earliest part of the house dates from the 17th century but it contains carved and moulded beams that were probably re-used from a high-status early-16th century building on the same site. A brick extension with a fine door case was added in the 1770s, and despite the fire this survives exactly as depicted on a rare estate map drawn in 1786 by the famous Suffolk artist and cartographer Isaac Johnson. It's wonderful to see this historic gem restored so sympathetically."

EDF Energy has enlisted the expertise of Sweett Group in Cambridge to project manage the restoration work whilst Brooks Architects in Leiston are the designers and Morgan Sindall are the specialist contractors based in Ipswich and Norwich.

Michael Paternoster, Senior Site Manager for Morgan Sindall said: "We are using traditional skills such as mortise and tenon joints for the roof trusses and purlins, lime mortar for re-building walls and lime plaster for re-plastering the internal walls.

"This project goes along way to prove that we still have tradesmen out there that have the skills required to turn out the quality of craftsmanship that has been produced on this project."

The team are also making new windows to match the originals and carefully removing a Victorian porch which hides the fine panelled door case of the fashionable southern faC’ade complete with a broken pediment.

Tim Hannon of Brooks Architects, Lead Designer for the restoration said: "I remember this building as a boy so I am enjoying getting to grips with bringing it back to its former glory. Upper Abbey Farm House is an important part of our local architectural heritage and its listing signifies its national importance too."

The replacement roof and floor structures are already in place, with work underway inside the building. EDF Energy intends to complete the restoration work of Upper Abbey Farmhouse this year.

Posted by Marjorie Barnes

The Sizewell C comms team brings you news, updates, blogs and information on the Sizewell C project.