The Old Medicine House

Rear view of The Old Medicine House

The Old Medicine House from the east

 


The house, condemned, rescued and moved, is now home to The Blackden Trust.  It is a three bay timber-frame building probably built in the early 16th century, for an apothecary in the village of Wrinehill, seventeen miles from Blackden

Structure

At the centre of the house is a timber-frame back-to-back chimney with two flues.  It is 3 m square at its base and 7 m high.  It is a rare survival of such a structure and has an additional rarity at first floor level in the form of a small fireplace with a chimney inserted into the main stack.

After the Great Fire of London in 1666 such timber-frame chimneys were banned.  In the eighteenth century, the south west wall of the main timber-frame was encased in brick, concealing the complexity of the timber construction.

The rescue

Drawing of the rear elevationof The Old MEdicine House

Reconstruction of the rear elevation of
The Old Medicine House by Michael Peach

In subsequent years the building was neglected until by the 1960s it had become an 'eyesore'.

From 1966 to 1970 there was an attempt to restore the house on its site. But in 1970, despite its Grade II listing, the owner gained permission to demolish.

A week before the scheduled demolition, at the instigation of Michael Peach, who had previously been involved in the attempt to save the house, Alan and Griselda Garner visited the building.

They were planning to extend Toad Hall by two rooms and a bathroom.  Since the The Old Medicine House was to be demolished, Michael Peach suggested that two of its rooms might be rescued and, using the medieval tradition of moving timber-frame houses, could be used to extend Toad Hall. Alan and Griselda felt that they could not be a party to the destruction of such a beautiful building, so, despite having no funds, they decided to move it all.

The Old Medicine House at Wrinehill. November 1970.

The Old Medicine House at Wrinehill.
November 1970.

They bought the house for £1. Michael Peach was responsible for the dismantling, repair and re-erection of The Old Medicine House at Blackden.  Four men and an apprentice took the building down in nine working days, using no machinery except a three-legs with block and tackle.

Those same men and a team of craftsmen repaired, re-erected, and brought the building up to habitable standards in eighteen months, so that Alan and Griselda Garner were able to celebrate Christmas 1972 around the fire in the chimney of The Old Medicine House.

The survival of the Garners and that of the two buildings has been due to the generosity of their family and friends, who are the true supporters of a vision that has become The Blackden Trust. In 2004, Griselda and Alan Garner together with Patsy Roynon founded The Blackden Trust.

Photo album

The dismantling and reconstruction of the Old Medicine House

slide show  |  click picture to view detail

The Old Medicine House as it was at Wrinehill in Staffordshire Dismantling the wing Dismantling the timber-frame chimney Front of the Old Medicine House during reconstruction

The Old Medicine House as it was at Wrinehill in Staffordshire

Dismantling the wing

Dismantling the timber-frame chimney

Front of the Old Medicine House during reconstruction

Detail of jointing of principal rafters of Truss 2 Detail of reconstructed timber work and plaster showing the distinctive 4-leaf detail used as a logo :: 2008:04:14 15:25:15 Detail of timber and iron work  :: 2008:04:14 15:27:30 Sun through mullioned windows  :: 2011:07:01 06:42:01

Detail of jointing of principal rafters of Truss 2

Detail of reconstructed timber work and plaster showing the distinctive 4-leaf detail used as a logo

Detail of timber and iron work

Sun through mullioned windows

Views of the Old Medicine House

slide show  |  click picture to view detail

The completed Old Medicine House at Blackden  :: 2004:01:01 00:00:00 Front of the Old Medicine House  :: 2004:01:01 00:00:00 View from the rear in the Spring Front with the holly tree now removed to make way for the herb garden  :: 2004:04:03 15:03:36

The completed Old Medicine House at Blackden

Front of the Old Medicine House

View from the rear in the Spring

Front with the holly tree now removed to make way for the herb garden

Architectural drawings of the Old Medicine House

slide show  |  click picture to view detail

Truss 1 gable and front elevations Truss 2 and 3 and wing gable elevations; and first floor plan Plans and elevations of rear wing Elevation of rear wing from east

Truss 1 gable and front elevations

Truss 2 and 3 and wing gable elevations; and first floor plan

Plans and elevations of rear wing

Elevation of rear wing from east

Elevation of the front, with cross section through the chimney    

Elevation of the front, with cross section through the chimney

   

Printed on: 25 Jul 2017

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