Merchant House, Silent Street, Ipswich.
Previously 8&10 Waterworks Street, Ipswich.
In 1990 Jackson projects were planning to construct a large office development in Silent Street with a small two storey office building beside the access road to the site. Duncan McKenzie was the architect responsible for design and supervision of the project.
Late in the design process the Ipswich historic building trust had approached local developers including Jackson seeking to find a buyer and suitable site for the mediaeval frame which had been saved from the road widening scheme in Waterworks Street. The trust had been unable to secure either funding or a location for the building for it to be resurrected under their own conservation scheme.
An inspection of the stored timber at Villa Farm, Tuddenham and a check on the overall size of the wall plates confirmed that with some tight planning the building could be accommodated on the site. On this basis the builders had the courage to commit themselves to the purchase of the structure for incorporation into the new two-storey building. The building was to be designed to current commercial standards of cost and amenity.
Suffolk Building Design Ltd were employed to repair and direct the frame onto prepared piled foundations. Structural timbers were cleaned at their premises and each framed panel was assembled there to identify the extent and nature of repair and replacement. Replacements for missing items were generally made in green oak and spliced repairs were made on a like-for-like basis. Surprisingly it was found that the frame was made from a mixture of timbers predominantly of oak but including chestnut elm pine and ash.
No attempt was made to disguise intervening repairs and replacements. The structure was clad in lime-rich render over metal lathing and plywood sheeting. Mineral wool fibre installation was sandwiched between the external cladding and internal plastering. The internal plaster was carried out using lime plaster reinforced with man-made fibre in place of the traditional hair binding material.