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  • Writer's pictureRon Common


Its been an exciting few months at the cottage...

On 5th June, 15 months after it was installed, the scaffolding around the cottage was finally removed. The building emerged like a butterfly from its chrysalis and, for the first time, we got to see the repaired stonework and new roof in all their glory.

Then, on 7th June, exactly 5 years since the mission to save Aqueduct Cottage began, one of the most exciting visual transformations of the whole restoration occurred with the fitting of the cottage’s windows and front door.

Following the addition of the roof in March, this was the icing on the cake. It also means that the exterior of the cottage is now 90% complete. Only the pointing remains to be done, plus a repair to the lean-to pantry.

The beautiful timber frames were manufactured by local joiners, Brinard Joinery, Somercotes. They were made from accoya which has incredible durability and performance and will provide a long life. Details of the original windows were obtained to produce the replacement frames, including the central pivot for the window openings.

P T Joinery Services completed the fitting in a day and once installed the cottage was not only water-tight but it looked absolutely stunning. A new Aqueduct Cottage had emerged.

An exciting moment as the new windows arrive...

Phil Twigg (P T Joinery Services) assists with delivery of the front door, manufactured by Brindard Joinery, Somercotes...

The kitchen window was the first unit installed...

Phil managed to fit the rest of the units in a day...

Onlookers admire the transformation taking place...

By the end of the day, the transformation was complete...

What at contrast! ( The cottage in August 2016, when the mission to save it began).

The news of the transformation soon spread. These “before” and “after” photos had over 100,000 views on the cottage’s social media page.

July saw attention turn to the gardens and one of the most beautiful features created by our volunteer “wallers” was the reconstruction of the dry-stone wall along the south garden.

The original wall was so badly damaged it had to be rebuilt from the foundations up. Over several weeks, its restoration was gradually completed and the new wall was stronger and better than the original. The garden was also cleared for the first time in 2 years, ready for planting.

The south garden dry stone wall during reconstruction.

The completed wall. A beautiful new feature in the cottage grounds.

Inside the cottage, the temporary roof felt was removed and the timbers were cleaned. The exposed beams and roof tiles provide immense character in first floor activity room and the view from the windows along the canal is absolutely delightful.

The activity room will be plastered in the Autumn.

The main timbers were given a rub down...

There's no doubt that, despite the challenges of the pandemic, its been an exciting year (so far) for the restoration and the end is now in sight. The final stage is to fit out the interior of the cottage but more funds have to be raised to complete this work.

Thanks to great support from the public, the Friends of Aqueduct Cottage held a successful Crowdfunder campaign in June to raise "matched funding" for a grant application by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. The outcome of the bid is expected in September 2021. If successful, there’s a good chance the interior works can be completed by the end of Autumn and then, finally, the cottage can be opened to the public.

We’re almost there!

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