Friday, February 29, 2008

New life for old clock

St Pancras, London Uk

Numerous historical pieces have been restored to St Pancras including a clock which once hung in the grand station. In the 1970's the clock was sold to an American collector for around £250,000. However, while it was taken down it fell and smashed into thousands of pieces. It was said to be beyond repair and so a retired train driver asked to buy the pieces for £25. Now more than 30 years on the clock has been fully restored.

Although, it was to badly damaged to be hung back in the station, so a replica has been made to put put in the same place as the original. Goldbury Coatings Ltd has coated the clock with Cromadex's 750 two pack epoxy primer and 600 two pack polyurethane topcoat. This offers product protection for up to 25 years.

Sleeping with a Pig

Grand Junction, Colorado USA

A Grand Junction man has been ordered to spend 24 years in prison for possessing a bronze pig statue taken from the city's main street.

Forty two year old Daniel Vigil learned his sentence Monday in Mesa County District Court. A jury convicted Mr Vigil in January on one felony count of theft by receiving. The pig statue was found in a stolen trunk in which Mr Vigil was living, last April. Mesa County District Judge Valerie Robinson said that the conviction was Mr Vigil's fourth on felony charges, and she declared him a habitual offender.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

ecobuild, futurescape and cityscape

Earls Court, London 26-28 February 2008

Above: Recycling bin by Laundry Company, who support the Code for Sustainable Homes

Above: Model of a house from BedZed

Ecobuild is dedicated to sustainable design, construction and the built environment. Cityscape is for those interested in urban design and the public realm. Futurebuild highlights offsite and innovations in construction and is hoped to give a new outlook to future design.

All three areas are intended to give a fresh perspective and inspire further thinking through
seminars, conferences and interactive stands and exhibitor's who are eager to tell you more about their product.

Most interesting was the ecobuild section which showcased an example of a house from the BedZed project, roof top gardens and recycling bins already divided into sections which earn developers 3.6 points on the Code for Sustainable Homes. The Stern Report, Part L building regulations, Energy Performance Certificates, the code for Sustainable homes, and the pursuit of 'Zero Carbon" have combined to make sustainability in design, construction and the built environment a 'must achieve' for the sector. Designers and specifiers are clearly responding which is reflected in the huge interest in sustainable construction products and services. Ecobuilds attendence has almost doubled in the last year.

Monday, February 25, 2008

World first Urban Art Auction

Bonhams, New Bond Street sale room London

Above: Nick walker's 'Moona Lisa' [pict by Banksy/santas_ghetto]

Above: Banksy 'Laugh Now' [pict by august.html]

Once marginalized by the art world for their counter-cultural aesthetic and edgy rawness, urban artists have finally, conclusively, been assimilated into the establishment. What was once an underground, often illegal group of artist is now one of the most sort after movements in the modern art world. Bonhams sale f Urban Art - the first of its kind in the world created great interest with over 500 people crammed into the packed New Bond Street sale room on February 5th. The fresh, exciting, edgy and challenging works saw an incredible 99% of the work sold.

Gareth Williams, specialist of the sale comments: "We are delighted at the results of the sale. The Urban Art sale is unique in terms of the unprecedented media coveradge, the phenomenal level of interest from buyers before the sale and the way that it has captured the public imagination. the results achieved are consistently strong across the board not only for artists such as banksy and Keith Haring but also for emerging names whose works have not previously sold at auction. The artists work sold at the auction, included but not limited to: Banksy, Keith Haring, Dan Baldwin, Anthony Micallef, Adam Neate and Faile.

Banksy whose work has earned him many admirers had a number of works in the auction. His large stencil print on wood 'Laugh Now' was the higest selling piece of the day fetching £190,000. Other works included Nick Walker's 'Moona Lisa' which sold for £45,000.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Lead Sheet by Noel Knight

Lead has been found to predate Roman times, with some fragments being found in burial mounds. Its widespread occurrence and ease of smelting made it one of the earlier metals to be explored in Britain. The Romans favoured its usage to form pipes and cisterns, also for lining baths and roofing. Examples can still be found in Bath and Buxton, however, it fell into decline when the Romans left until the sixteenth century.

Lead mining and production in Britain peaked in the eighteenth and ninteenth centuries. Industry declined rapidly in the early nineteenth century due to importation. The last British mines closed about forty years ago.

Galena, lead ore, is particularly common in limestone, but can be found in any hard rock. Often it is found in veins along with other minerals such as quartz and at times has been found to contain silver. It is soft and easily worked yet durable and has a life in excess of 150 years.

Lead sheet can be produced in three basic ways:

Sand Casting. Possibly the original method of producing lead sheet with a few specialist firms today who can still undertake the process. molten lead is poured or run over prepared beds of sand into boxes of a set size with a gauging bar then being drawn across the surface to give a relatively constant thickness. Lead manufactured in this way has a particularly long life, due to its thickness and impurities. Old lead of this type is often melted down and recast.
Milled lead sheet. Produced by passing ingots of lead through a series of rolling mills. It can be supplied in a variety of thicknesses, which are encoded 3-8 and correspond roughly to its weight in pounds per square foot, and from 1/16th inches in thickness. It produced to a British Standard and can be cut to size or rolled sheets up to 2.4m wide and 12m long.
Cast lead. Also known as continuously cast lead or direct manufacture lead. In production a cooled roll is rotated on the surface of a bath of molten lead which solidifies as it passes over the roll to produce a continuous sheet. Speed of roll rotation determines the thickness of the sheet - slow rotation means its thicker, faster rotation produces thinner material. It is available in a variety of widths up to 1.4m and any required length.

Which product should one use?
sand cast lead is more or less reserved for elite structures and consequently very expensive. There is little between milled or cast lead, although there is much controversy around their differing molecular compositions. In cast lead the molecules are in their natural state, whereas in milled lead they are stretched and rearranged during the rolling process and choice will often lie with the individual.

Lead is highly resistant to corrosion and can be used in contact with most metals, however if used in a marine like environment contact with aluminum should be avoided. Care should be taken to avoid contact with chemically treated timbers until dry. Due to its softness and malleability lead naturally expands and contracts, this movement must not be restricted. Newly laid lead will at first release a white patina of lead carbonate which will cause staining and streaking of both the lead and any other material over which it passes. This can be prevented with the application of patination oil over the surface. Condensation could be a problem which can denature the lead causing it to flake to a fine white powder. Flat surfaces now incorporate underlays - a vapour barrier and a geotextile membrane. Lead sheet on historic buildings is mostly used to prevent rainwater ingress and to aid its drainage away from the roof. It is used in such places as ridges, hips, valleys and the sealing of abutments, also vertical cladding and both flat and pitched roofs.

When requiring any form of lead work to be undertaken, seek the services of a qualified plumber and ensure that all work undertaken complies with the relevant code of practice.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Marbling by ceramicist Sandy Brown

Above: Sculpture by Sandy Brown

Marbling goes back nearly a thousand years, and is thought to have originated in Japan, where one family has been continuously marbling paper for fifty-five generations. The technique can be applied to clay too. One of the main attractions is the fluidity of the patterns. the colours blend and merge yet still remain separate, swirling and whirling and circling.

Potters have always loved the way that you can play with colours in different clays. Then, by cutting and slicing to reveal the coloured layers, and using the slices to build up gentle simple dishes which have deep rhythmic folds in them for example. Potters love that only natural materials that occur in the ground can be used to make clays and glazes: all modern technology and plastics and chemicals are no use. It is only naturally occuring oxides, minerals, rocks and stones that will withstand the heat of the fire. Potters add colbalt oxide to a white clay to give a grey-blue colour, iron oxide makes a rich rusty brown, and copper rust can give a deep, rich green. They build up laminated layers of these coloured clays; the layers can then be folded over onto each other and sliced like bread to show the colours inside.

Taken from 'Resurgence' magazine

Courses at Weald & Downland

Timber building conservation
  • An introduction to timber repairs, Wed-Fri 27-29 Feb 2008, Cost £285
  • Lath making workshop, Fri 7 Mar 2008, Cost £95
  • Wattle & Daub, Mon 17 Mar 2008, Cost £100
  • In-situ repairs to historic timber structures, Tue 29 April 2008, Cost £95
  • Traditional timber frame construction, Thur 1 May 2008, Cost £95
  • Repair of timber-framed buildings, Thur 15 May 2008, Cost £95
  • Strength grading of oak, Tue-Thurs 9-11 September 2008, Cost £450
Carpentry, Joinery & Furniture
  • Timber framing from scratch, Mon-Fri 21-25 April, Mon-Fri 15-19 Sept, Mon-Fri 20-24 Oct 2008, Cost £475
  • Roof Framing, Mon-Fri 19-23 May 2008, Cost £475
  • Wall Framing, Mon -Fri 16-20 June 2008, Cost £475
  • Early oak furniture an in-depth exploration, Mon-Tue 19-20 May 2008, Cost £275
  • The roofing square, Fri 27 June 2008, Cost £95
  • Square rule timber framing, Mon-Fri 18-22 Aug 2008, Cost £475
Brick, Stone, Earth & Lime
  • Repair to traditionally constructed brickwork, Mon-Wed 16-18 June 2008, Cost £330
  • Historic plasters & renders, Mon-Tue 23-24 June 2008, Cost £190
  • Jointing and pointing of historic brickwork, Mon-Tue 15-16 Sept 2008, Cost £200
  • English brickwork- Tudor to Edwardian, Wed 17 Sept 2008, Cost £95
Traditional Roof coverings
  • Oak shingles, history, manufacture and use, Tue 13 May 2008, Cost £95
  • Practice thatching, Tue 1 July 2008, Cost £150
  • An introduction to lead work for specifiers & installers, Thur 24 April 2008, Cost £110
  • Three day practical leadwork course, Wed-Fri 11-13 June 2008, Cost £330
Buildings and Architecture
  • Architectural photography, Wed 5 Mar 2008, Cost £95
  • Preparing conservation plans, Tue 6 May 2008, Cost £95
  • Victorian & Edwardian building types, Fri 7 Mar 2008, Cost £95
To find out further information and courses please visit:

Courses and Seminars

Lime plaster for plasterers, This one day hands on course is aimed at working plasterers interested in broadening their experience, and amateurs with some plastering skills. The day will explain how to fix laths, prepare lime putty mixes, and plaster on to laths as well as highlighting the importance of good preparation and aftercare.
4th April 2008, Cost £95

Timber frame repairs, Will learn how to repair historic sole plates, studwork and carpentry joints on a live project. Designed for working carpenters and joiners, but those with basic skills are also welcome.
7th - 9th May 2008, Cost £235

Materials for Historic Buildings Seminar, Look at the range of materials found in historic buildings in east Anglia, it will cover the history of the materials, how they can be repaired, and their availability today. The day will include timber and infill, brick, lime plaster, render, pargetting and cladding, thatch, roofs, metal work and new materials.
9am - 4.30pm Thursday 22nd May 2008 at Cressing Temple Barns

For further information and courses contact; Katie Seabright, Essex County Council, Tel: 01245 437672, Email:

Renovation Award

Bethnal Green Road, East London UK

Above: Rich Mix new arts venue from redundent building (pict. from

A project by Penoyre and Prasad has won the inaugural European Aluminum in Renovation Award for the best use of aluminium in a public building. "Rix Mix" is an East End of London property that has been transformed by the use of external aluminium louvres whilst still maintaining its original facade. not only has the property been totally transformed but also the internal space has been giver a new lease of life by controlling solar gain. Situated in bethnal Green Road in East London the project involved the conversion and enlargement of a derlict concrete frame building previously used as workshops for the manufacture of leather goods into new intercultural arts centre and performance venue.

Bernard Fitzimons commented, "This project is called Rich Mix and when you look at it, it is a rich mix. it uses an animated facade and colour to reveal that animation. i hope it proves to be a building that the people of the East End of London and the users of the building continue to enjoy."

Look out for the Pyeroy Group

Pyeroy Limited was founded in 1973 as a marine and industrial painting contractor. Pyeroy specialises in large scale protective coatings and refurbishment projects which include major refurbishment carried out on the Tyne Bridge. The Forth bridge where the repainting almost 40,000 meters of the southern stretch of the landmark structure took over four years. HMS Illlustrious Edinburgh and Westminster and the Lords Cricket Ground.

Protective coatings specialist, the Pyeroy Group, has successfully completed a £1.3 million contract to refurbish North London's Iron Bridge for Transport for London (TFL). The work has been completed in several stages during the last three years. The contract saw Pyeroy act as the principal contractor completing traffic management, scaffold, grit blast paint, refurbishment, concrete and steel repair work to the superstructure as well as repainting the bridge soffits. An interesting aspect of the work was that the sixteen-strong Pyeroy team of contractors and underground engineers only had access to the Victorian bridge for one to two hours a night (for the soffit works) when trains were not running. During these restricted time the team had to erect the scaffolding, prepare and apply protective coatings to the soffit steelwork before dismantling and clearing the site each night before the trains started running again.

The company has recently been awarded a Euro 3 million contract for the coatings maintenance and refurbishment of wind turbines at the Arklow Offshore Wind Power Plant in the Irish Sea.
Located on the Arklow Bank about 10km off the coast of County Wicklow and 60km south of Dublin, the wind farm comprises seven, 3.6 megawatt turbines providing renewable energy to meet the electricity requirements of around 16,000 Irish households.

As part of a 6 month refurbishment contract Pyeroy will carry out the abrasive blast cleaning and repainting of the base sections of all seven tubular steel towers extending from the sea level splash zone to the turbine’s access platform located 13m above. The special anticorrosion paint specification comprises abrasive blast cleaning followed by the application of a 400 micron glass flake epoxy coating and a urethane acrylic top coat at 50 microns. A specialist compound is also used in the splash zone location.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Safety on refurb sites

Last year the number of deaths in construction rose by a massive 28 per cent to a total of 77 workers. Although this figure is still lower than five years ago, worryingly it is the first time in five years that the downward trend in deaths has been reversed, and most of these deaths were in the refurbishment sector.

Throughout February HSE construction inspectors will be carrying out a rigorous 'falls and trips inspection initiative' focused directly at refurbishment construction sites across the Great Britain. In summer 2007 similar checks were undertaken and enforcement action was taken against nearly one in three sites inspected and 244 prohibition notices were served, stopping work instantly. "Work at height remains our biggest concern and falls from height will be the focus of inspections" said Stephen Williams, HSE Head of Construction.

If you are a principle contractor you should:
  • Have a system for the procurement and control of contractors that includes arrangements to check the competence of workers
  • Actively monitor the work of your subcontractors
  • Ensure their safety standards are the same as yours
All duty-holders need to:
  • Identify jobs that involve work at height and ensure that appropriate safety precautions are in place
  • Have procedures for the selection of correct equipment and ensure that the selected equipment is actually used
  • Communicate risk control measures to the workforce
  • Ensure workers are competent to use the equipment that has been correctly installed and assembled
  • Arrange inspection and maintenance of equipment as appropriate
  • Have a risk assessment in place that applies to the Work at height Regulations hierarchy available on the HSE website
Plan how to keep the site tidy
  • Traffic routes should be segregated from pedestrian routes
  • The logistics of material supplies and movements should be considered (what is to be delivered, when, and where it is to be stored), alongside waste control
  • Walkways and stairs should be kept free of tripping hazards
  • 21 per cent of accidents reported to the Electrical contractors Association by members were caused because of a slip or trip.

Victorian Woodworks get St Pancras contract

St Pancras Station, London

Respected as one of the UK's premier flooring installers, Victorian Woodworks Contracts was delighted to install Jatoba wood flooring throughout the Business Premier Lounge and ticketing area at the refurbished St Pancras International. Offering ideal properties for this heavily foot-trafficked environment, Jatoba has inherent beauty, ,a rich colouring and is notable for its hardness and durability and ease of maintenance.

London & Continental Railway's hugely successful £800 million restoration of St pancras International station has seen this magnificent station immaculately restored and intelligently rebuilt - a Victorian classic reborn for the new age.

****New SalvoNEWS click here ****

Glass - featured in the latest SalvoNEWS

The manufacture of glass in this country can be traced back to 1200AD, but it did not become readily available until the 1600's, and by the 1900's its usage was widespread. Glass is an entirely man made product being an amalgam of natural silica in the form of flint or fine sand, potash, sodium and lime, also recycled glass. All is then heated to melting point and then formed in the required shape.

Early glass was manufactured in the form of either "spun" or "crown" glass. In this process, a blob of molten glass was spun on the end of a shaft, due to centrifugal force the blob gradually took the form of a disc increasing in diameter as the shaft was rotated until as near a constant thickness as possible was achieved. Once cool the disc was then cut into the required shape. The central bullion was rarely used due to its irregular shape and obscured vision. none the less they can sometimes be found as decorative small panes in external doors for instance. crown glass can be recognised fairly easily as it frequently has curved sweeps formed during the spinning process which tended to develop as the disc's rotation ceased to be constant. The effect can be likened to the ripples on a pond after a stone has been dropped onto the surface.

Cylinder glass production was more complex. The glass blower would place a lump of molten glass on the end of his blow-pipe and gradually blow producing a long elongated balloon. When satisfied with the length and that the diameter was roughly constant it would be allowed to cool. the ends of the balloon were cut off leaving a cylinder, this was then cut along its length and relaxed in an annealing chamber until flat.

Increase in metal theft

The BMRA (British Metals Recycling Association) has said that new regulations won't stamp out metal thefts. They have reported an increase in metal thefts and some of its members are reporting thefts daily. However, it said that as each licensed metal recycling site has to comply with more than 15 sets of legislation including the Scrap Metal Dealers' Act (requiring name, address and vehicle registration of people selling metal), more legislation would not help.

BMRA director Lindsay Milington, said: "Metals recycling is already one of the UK's most heavily regulated sectors and further legislation would only serve to encourage more illegal and unlicensed trading of metals. we are working closely with all relevant authorities on this issue."

Visions of a straw bale Auction House

GE Sworder & Son Auction House, Essex

Above: Straw bales being put into place to create walls

Above: Sworder's auction house visionary project

Robert Ward-Booth is a partner of GE Sworder & Son, fine art and antique auctioneers, a company founded in 1782 and based in Stansted Mountifitchet in Essex. His vision is to build the largest commercial straw bale building in Europe and the only auctioneer's sales room to be constructed with straw bales in the world. The £1.2 million project to build the new auction room and offices is on time for completion in the spring and is scheduled to hold its first auction in May.

"Whatever we build, we have built for the future," explains Mr Ward-Booth. "It is all about diminishing resources. There is no longer such a thing as cheap energy and it's only going to get worse. We wanted a building that is going to be genuinely sustainable."

The design of the single storey building incorporates straw bales (450mm wide x 350mm high x 1 to 1.1m long) which infill a timber frame. Other sustainable measures within the building include a rainwater catchment system, 4m2 solar water heating panels, a biomass boiler and lime rendered and plastered walls. Another feature that makes the sales room unique is the building technique. "It is what we call a compressive frame, whereby the roof structure is lowered onto the straw walls once all the straw is in place, thus adding the advantages of a load-bearing structure to a framework building," Explains Ms Jones.

In the USA there are about a dozen houses nearing 100 years old that are still inhabited and showing no problems. Mr Ward-Booth is even more optimistic and puts the anticipated age of the new sales room at 150 years. "There are plenty of them about an no evidence of them falling," he adds. When questioned about the safety of the building in terms of fire risk he said "It may seem strange, but when you stack bales up in a wall and plaster them either side, the density of the bales is such that there isn't enough air inside the bales for them to burn," explains Ms Jones.

"Technically we will be self-sufficient in that we will be harvesting all the water that falls on the building" says Mr Ward-Booth. Mr Ward-Booth said that "in terms of cost it works out about £100 a square foot which is about right."

Monday, February 11, 2008

Gaze Modern Design sale

Gaze & Sons, Diss Norfolk

Above: A pair of 1970's ceiling lights, moulded clear plastic 'Ice' shades
'Serie Marrakesh' by Marbach Electric
Estimate: £60 - £90
Hammer Price: £190

Above: Pietro Psaier (1936-2004) framed and glazed mixed media on bleached fruitwood artists proof Mick Jagger printed by Rupert Jasen Smith new hope penna publishing for studio Psaier image size 21cm x 27cm
Estimate: £100 - £150
Hammer Price: £300

Above: A pair of white floor lights in the style of Tom Dixon
Estimate: £5 - £80
Hammer Price: £48

Above: A Bernard Rooke owl lamp base 18 1/2 inches tall on stamp decorated with leaves with original shade.
Estimate: £250 - £350
Hammer Price: £240

Above: An oak framed armchair with leather strapwork arms, leather seat and back, in the style of Kaare Klint's Safari chair
Estimate: £120 - £180
Hammer Price: £130

Above: A rosewood sideboard, four cupboards over four drawers on steel legs
Estimate Price: £200 - £300
Hammer Price: £190

Friday, February 08, 2008

Retrouvius answer to old shelving

Retrouvius, Kensal Green London

Above: shelves in The Patent Office in Chancery Lane before they were removed

Above: Shelves for sale at Retrouvius

Above: Decorative cast iron ends of the shelves

Above: A Victorian cast iron table with filigree mask, top covered in leather vinyl fabric also taken from the Patent Office

A few years ago The Patent Office in Chancery Lane was converted into offices and Retrouvius have bought a large quantity of its furniture which has been hidden in storage for a while but is quickly become unearthed. Adjustable library shelving forms the bulk of the consignment. But there are also a number of cast iron tables. The shelving was made in Oxford by W.Lucy & Co, Engineers and Founders, using the Lambert Patent Perfect Adjustable system. Decorative brackets finally cast in classical style with spring-loaded arms clip into the uprights and can be slid to any height. All elements can be repainted to any colour required.

Norbord supplies wood for sustainable build

Aberdeen, Scotland

Timber products manufacturer Norbord has supplied its Sterling OSB3 moisture-resistant sheathing board for use in a project to develop a sustainable low-cost rural housing concept in Scotland.

project, led by Aberdenshire-based timber building specialist Sylvan Stuart, involves the build of a prototype "Model-D' timber house at Pitmachie, just north of Aberdeen. The house aims to demonstrate the concept of a low cost, environmentally sustainable home built entirely of locally grown timber. The building's timber fram,e employs Sterling OSB3 as external wall panel sheathing, roof sheathing and floor sheathing, relying on the material to provide rigidity and strength to the structure.

Norbord said its Sterling OSB is sustainable as it's made from timber grown in sustainably-managed Scottish forest. Sterling OSB makes use of 'thinnings', the small diameter logs from immature trees harvested to allow larger specimens to grow to maturity. The company adds that wood which might otherwise go to waste provides the raw material for Sterling OSB.

The prototype Model-D house will incorporate 220 sheets of moisture-resistant sterling OSB3. The cottage (which incorporates traditional features of the Scottish vernacular such as a long linear plan and 45 degree roof pitches) is made almost entirely of Scottish grown timber.

Architect Gokay Deveci, said: "The house is a modern take on traditional Scottish designs - unobtrusive and complementing the landscape. It is built almost entirely out of timber and is highly insulated, with triple-glazing all round. As a result, it is environmentally sustainable and almost entirely passive; no heating system is required".

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Brass for cash

Christie's auction house, South Kensington UK

Casimir Collection of Metalware from 1500-1900,
auction January 23rd 2008

323 lots went under the hammer and only 24 lots were unsold, translating to 93 per cent sold by volume and 87 per cent of the material for a total of £285,595. Although metalware is not seen to be fashionable private buyers were wiling to shell out huge sums for what they wanted, and copper proved especially popular. The second highest price of the day went to a collection of 12 different sized copper saucepans from the second half of the 19th century. the smallest was 8in (23cm) long and the largest, which was numbered 12, stamped c.Earll Maker, Mayfair, and with the owner's initials W.d.R., measured 2ft 5 3/4 in (75.5cm)long. They were guided at £1500-2000 but a private collector took bidding to a massive £10,000.

Raise your own profile

Albert Road, Southsea UK -

Ian Parmiter of Architectural Antiques in Hampshire, has really made his mark on trade in his area. He has been dealing for twenty years in architectural and twentieth century items and built up what he describes as a small but successful business. He is proud to deal from Albert Road, Southsea, and tells me that up until ten years ago there were fifty antique shops on the road.

Now there are just ten. Mr Parmiter feared the whole road would die. So, last year, he started the Love Albert Road campaign to raise the profile of all the businesses, not just antiques, in the street.

His actions had some positive results and last September he organised 'Love Albert Road Day' with live entertainment and much joility. He expected a few thousand revellers but to his amazement attracted 20,000. He financed the whole thing with about £1000 of his own money and plans an even bigger 'Love Albert Road Day' on September 28th this year.

Mr Parmiter said "Most importantly I have shown people will support small independent business and that this kind of niche shopping is very attractive. My takings and those of my neighbours have risen significantly since the campaign began".


Ship Wreck

Brighton & Hove, the south coast UK

Above: Worthing beach after 3,000 tonnes of timber was washed up
(pict. www.worthingherald)

Above: Your Nicked! Timber from the sunken ship 'ice prince'

" A couple of weeks ago around 3000 tonnes of timber was dumped on the south coast as a result of a ship wreck. The recovery and disposal of this timber has taken one of the least environmental options by choosing to ignore approaches by local businesses with offers to quickly clear the beach of all the timber, and house it in a farm warehouse to dry out until it is ready for reuse in and around the Sussex area" said Johnathan Essex.

The local council said "This is not being treated as an environmental issue but as a health and safety problem. The timber was in the water too long and is no longer useable". Locals have disputed this claiming it is a false story to give the impression that it is of no use as DIY to stop people from stealing it. One local who recovered some of the timber said "The outside edge is abit flakey but when it has been dried out it can be replaned and reused." The salvage industry, which now mainly reuses timber from home refurbishments and the construction industry - started with "salvage" from ships. "Tom Angove "Builder's Mate" from 1953, retiring in 1993, recalled how single handed Rowena carried twelve 15ft beams from the shoreline right up to the Theatre. Customs men looking for this "wreck" from a Spanish freighter met her on the beach. Challenged as to whether she had seen the timber, Rowena admitted that she had taken up some wood that morning. She suggested that the men should come and see it. Concluding that such a frail looking woman could not have lifted what they were looking for, they went on their way. "I didn't tell them a lie now did I?" remarked Rowena as she and Tom built the twelve beams into the new dressing rooms."

However, the council have chosen to ignore the sustainable option and the DRS are currently transporting all the wood to Crawley to chip for green fuel for electricity generation. "This ignores the most sustainable option of reuse, the goverments waste hierarcy, the european protection and by my calculation is causing atleast 500 tonnes of extra C02 emission," commented Mr Essex.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Indonesia demands historic stone back

AN ANCIENT Indonesian carving given to a British diplomat almost 200 years ago as a gift has become the latest relic involved in intricate discussions about its repatriation. Government ministers in Jakarta have confirmed they are negotiating for the return of the four-tonne Minto Stone, on which is carved in ancient script of the history of the island of Java. It has been part of the Minto family estate near Hawick, Roxburghshire, since 1812, after it was given to the 1st Earl of Minto by explorer Stamford Raffles, and is now overseen by the family's Minto Trust.

Repatriation has increasingly become a major issue in Scotland after ministers called for the return of the Lewis Chessmen from the British Museum. Nine Maori heads held by Marischal Museum at the University of Aberdeen were returned to New Zealand last year. And last month, the National Museum of Scotland announced it would return an aboriginal skull to Tasmania.

There is no legal requirement for the repatriation of items that are not human remains. In Indonesia last week, officials said the stone - known as the Sanggurah Stone or Batu Minto - was an important historical artefact and belonged in the capital's national museum.

And last night, the 7th Earl of Minto, Timothy George Lariston Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound, confirmed discussions were continuing with the Indonesian government.

But the father of four, 55, who heads stationery firm Paperchase, denied the issue had been dragging on for a long time. He confirmed: "We have received an approach from a representative of the Indonesian government and we are prepared to continue discussions." The Minto Stone was carved in AD982. It was taken from its site near the town of Malang in East Java by Stamford Raffles after he became governor of Java in 1811. He gained the post thanks to the patronage of Gilbert Elliot, the 1st Earl of Minto, and gave him the stone in thanks.

But the monolith is considered a valuable record of the Javanese kingdom of Mataram, which grew to power between the 7th and 10th centuries. Last week, Hadi Untoro Drajat, of the Indonesian culture and tourism ministry, said: "We are in negotiations to return the Sanggurah Stone back to Indonesia. It is an important historical artefact. Upon its return, it
will be placed in the national museum in Jakarta.

"The Indonesian government has been attempting to secure the return of the artefact since 2004, but government-to-government negotiations have proven difficult because the relic is currently in the custodianship of Minto trustees."

Hashim Djojohadikusumo, an art dealer who was caught with five antique statues in his home last November but never charged, said he was negotiating the return of the Minto Stone. He said: "The Indonesian government has a policy of not paying for the return of ancient artefacts, but we are ready to cover the transfer costs and compensation to the Minto Trust. So far, it hasn't determined the amount. The Minto Trust are willing to discuss it in a family meeting." And he added: "The Minto Stone is a heritage that has been handed down for

Theft of ancient artefacts is said to be rife in Indonesia, home to ruins of Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms that flourished from the seventh century onward. Also, at one point, there was a Minto family museum of historic items held in Fatlips Castle on Minto Crags, near Jedburgh in the Borders. But they were all removed after the site was plagued by continuing vandalism.

By Tristan Stewart-Robertson

Battersea Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair

22 - 27 January 2008, Battersea Park London

Above: A pair of stone lion's on Lorfords Antiques stand

Above: Various garden ornament on Damien Sherlocks stand

Above: a pair of cherubs on Damien Sherlocks stand, originally created by H. Crowther Ltd and have recently been restored by Paul Crowther.

Above: Stone lion on Tina Pasco's stand, Espirit du Jardin

Above: Johnathan Swire's fossils

The Decorative Antiques fair has over 130 exhibitiors and enjoys an international reputation, welcoming visitors from around the world. It has strong routes in design and had a hand full of of stands which showcased sculpture and garden statuary, including Tina Pasco from Espirit du Jardin who said "It wasn't the buzziest Battersea I've ever done, a bit like swimming against the tide! But I got there in the end." Damien Sherlock at Garden Antiques UK Ltd and Lorfords Antiques both showed examples of garden ornament.

Johnathan Swire's stand had large examples of fossils rather similar to the popular ones sold at the last Sothebys garden sale.When asked about the fair he said "It was a very good fair for us. Especaially for our fossils. We have always sourced these from all over the world - including China, Africa, the Phillipines - but have recently been able to offer items from Siberia. Our most encouraging sale was a large Woolly Mammouth's Tusk which was from Siberia - a very beautiful and rare item."


Interbuild 2008

Interbuild, 26 - 30 October 2008 NEC Birmingham

A NEWLY CREATED SALVAGE SECTION at Interbuild '08 will showcase the reclamation of traditional building materials, such as stone, brick, slate and tile, and associated services.

"Interbuild is a celebration of innovation in building and construction," says Event Director, James Gower. "As part of that ethos, the show is recognising the innovative use of reclaimed materials. Sympathetically salvaged building materials are not only popular but there are obvious environmental benefits of using salvaged items that would ordinarily go to landfill. Promoting practical, sustainable solutions is an important strand of the show and the new salvage area supports this thinking."

Many sectors of the trade work with salvaged items on a daily basis and the new area will enable them to source items representing everything from architectural salvage through to reclaimed building materials and demolition. Bricks; ridge tiles; York Stone paving; oak flooring; old beams; edging stones; chimney pots; garden statues; street lamps and flagstones are all popular salvage items in continuous demand in the trade.

A tale of two auction houses

SOTHEBY'S aim of cutting out lower value lots bore fruit in the first half of 2007 with record sales of $2.9bn, compared to $3.25bn at Christie's in the same period. Sotheby's set the bar at £3,000 minimum lot value, and achieved its results by selling half the number of lots sold by Christie's. The total lots sold with a hammer price over $1m were 391 lots by Sotheby's and 358 lots by Christie's. Total sales for 2007 ended at $6.3bn up 36 per cent on 2006 for Christie's and $5.4bn up 44 per cent on 2006 for Sotheby's, which sold 42 per cent fewer lots. Top lot was at Sotheby's, this was Mark Rothko's White Center painting at $72.8m, just beating Christie's which sold Andy Warhol's Green Car Crash for $71.7m.

In 2007 Christie's South Kensington started weekly 'Interior' sales, aimed at decorators. A recent example (see photo) of an unsold lot with high ambitions at one of these sales was for a pair of old and incomplete cast iron inserts estimated at £300 with a typical Christie's 'possibly Coalbrookdale' catalogue description. This was the kind of lot that even Gaze's would probably not have wanted. These sales specifically target retail buyers.

The love hate relationship between the architectural garden and decorative antiques trade, and auctioneers, especially Sotheby's and Christie's continues. Generally the trade seems to want to sell at Christie's and buy at Sotheby's. One of the auction houses is happy to handle one-off dealer clear-outs with quality and clever photography, and catalogue descriptions which might arguably include glowing descriptions irrelevant to the item concerned but miss detail on condition and repairs or reconstructions. Another auction house might be more honest in its descriptions, tougher on trade consigners, and have a longer lasting reputation with its customers. But all auction houses sail close to the wind with respect to honesty. For example, chandelier bidding is commonplace - is this deception, or a legitimate device to keep an auction's momentum running? When an auction house is selling your lot, every device in the book is fair game to maximise profit, but when you are buying from them cries of unfair and deception echo resoundingly.

There have been successive moves in the past twenty years towards sanitising auction houses so to conform to consumer retail laws. The old style dangerous auction with sleepers and misdescriptions or no descriptions played into the trade's hands and was an excellent vehicle for moving things along. Ebay and other online auctions have taken their place, but their cost base is low that an unsold rate higher than any live auction is deemed quite acceptable.

Some punters believe that Sotheby's will not stick to its £3,000 limit or that Christie's will be forced to join it. Rylands and Werff have taken an alternate tack - live auctions with high value lots and sealed bids auctions for the rest. Will that work? We will see in 2008.