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Saved Buildings

Almost lost; now restored

Never give in - never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty
Winston Churchill

Some of our historic buildings were thought lost, but have now been restored.

 

Wranghams
Wranghams{a}

Below: Teutonic Hall • Rock Rose • Wranghams, Sandy Bay • Hutts Gate Store • Read More

Note that this page features buildings that were thought lost but have been, or are being restored. Those that have been, or seemingly will be lost forever can be found on our Lost and almost-lost Buildings page.

Teutonic Hall

History

Location map:
Location Map teutonichall

Previously known as Mason’s Stock House, Teutonic Hall was the property of wealthy landowner Miss Polly Mason. The Mason family were probably the largest landowners on the East of the Island. Teutonic Hall was usually referred to during the time as Miss Mason’s. This may be the house Chaplin claims that Governor Hudson Lowe considered renting for Napoleon at £100 a month. It was later sold to Georg Wilhem Janisch, originally of Hamburg, who renamed it Teutonic Hall{4}

In the 20th Century it seems to have been rented. In 1937 it is shown as being occupied by one Victor M Day, a stamp collector. In 1951 the occupier is listed as a Brigadier Wallace. In February 1957 a George Stuart Moss is living there and in 1965/6 it was occupied by two Belgian naturalists, as guests of the owners, here undertaking a survey of the island’s endemic invertebrates, the property having been bought in 1963 by a Mr And Mrs Mawson, who later also lived there until his death in October 1985. It was offered for sale by his wife with an asking price of £25,000.

Teutonic Hall is a listed building, but became little more than a shell. The Government of St Helena had no powers to force its owner to maintain or restore it, and did not have the powers of Compulsory Purchase in the national interest.

c.1970
c.1970

Distant view, c.1970
Distant view, c.1970

c.1972
c.1972

2005
2005

2010
2010

2012
2012

Interior, 2013
Interior, 2013

…
{b}

 

In 2015, in response to a 2013 Blog posting by John Tyrrell (originally about Wranghams) the following comment was received from someone claiming to be the owner{5}:

Have just come across this blog on period houses on St Helena.

I am the owner of Teutonic but now reside in the UK.

Unfortunately time and weather have not been good to it and is well beyond repair.

However in earlier days there were grants from the St Helena Heritage Society on the island in which I applied for, being turned down because I was at the time working on Ascension Island and so no entitled to any grant as earning a fair wage on Ascension Island.

Other houses grade listed at the time and after all had the grant to help with the work needed even someone who at the time was not an islander managed to get the grant. And guess what the person who is I believe still a member of the St Helena Heritage Society wants to purchase the property…

So now you know why Teutonic is in such disrepair! We have plans but not for the old house it is to far gone.

More about Teutonic Hall on John Tyrrell’s Blog.

Restoration

Late in 2017 Teutonic Hall was purchased by the Thorpe family, and is being restored. Planning permission for conversion into 3 Accommodation Units was requested in April 2018. Progress in 2018 is shown in these photographs:

2018
{b}

2018
{b}

February 2018
{c}

February 2018
{c}

August 2018

 

Rock Rose

History

Location map:
Location Map rockrose

Rock Rose was an elegant country house in the Levelwood district, built c. 1795. An engraved stone found at the site inscribed ‘RB Governor 1789’ refers to Governor Robert Brooke (1789-1801); probably the builder. This two-storey residence could be described as being marginally of Georgian style and when it was built would have been rather a major project in that part of the island, where there were then no proper roads. Originally the house was C shaped, with the primary residence at the front and servants quarters at the rear, linked at the North-Eastern side. The Royal Engineers 1872 map shows the layout (below).

Successive The East India Company Governors used the house as either summer quarters or to house longer-staying guests. During Napoleon’s exile the house was occupied by Governor Lowe’s secretary, Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Wynyard. An advertisement in the St Helena Spectator of 14th November 1867 listed Rock Rose for sale, as the then owner Mr G. V. Seale was about to leave the island.

The house suffered badly from the White Ants introduced accidentally onto the island in the 1840s, which reached Levelwood later in that century. Ownership passed to the Anglican Diocese and then to Solomon & Company together with the surrounding land, which was used in the 20th Century to house a flax mill, but meanwhile Rock Rose itself continued to deteriorate and was declared a ruin in 1920. The last photograph known of the full house is dated 1903 (below) and shows it in a significant state of disrepair.

In the mid-20th Century the main house was demolished, but the servants quarters at the back remained habitable and were occupied until the 1970s, henceforth being known as ‘Rock Rose’ even though they were only a part of the original house. These too were then allowed to deteriorate.

Drawing by J Broadway, 1806
Drawing by J Broadway, 1806

Lithograph by J Graham, 1830
Lithograph by J Graham, 1830

On Royal Engineers 1872 map
On Royal Engineers 1872 map

Last view of main house, 1903
Last view of main house, 1903

Servants’ Quarters, 1962 (occupied)
Servants’ Quarters, 1962 (occupied){d}

1970s
1970s

1980s
1980s

2016
2016

… aerial
… aerial

 

Until June 2016 it still belonged to Solomon’s and there had been no attempt at restoration since the building was abandoned in the 1970s. It was being allowed to steadily fall down. However in 2016 it was bought…

Restoration

In June 2016 it was announced that the Thorpe family had bought Rock Rose from Solomon’s.

The building work was completed with lime and stone, not concrete blocks or cement, real slate for the roof and the windows are wooden sash, all as would have been in the original house. The only difference is that the timber used is white ant resistant!

We have photos of the work-in-progress{b}:

Clearing

…

…

Beginnings

2017

August 2018

 

Photos of the completed building were released in January 2019{b}:

Front view

Fireplace

Kitchen

Staircase

 

You can download a leaflet prepared by Thorpe’s which gives details of the people involved in the restoration.

Wranghams, Sandy Bay

Location map:
Location Map wranghamshse

Read’s Map of 1817
Read’s Map of 1817

Wranghams{6} is one of St Helena’s traditional country houses, built probably in the late 18th Century - the Records contain a note for 19th February 1745 Four acres in Sandy Bay leased to one Francis Wrangham and although the building of the house is not mentioned it would presumably have been soon after. In 1817 it is listed as being owned by Major W Seale.

The house remained in private hands until 1972 when it was sold by one Violet Moyce to the Government of St Helena, who restored it. It was used until the early 2000s as accommodation for visiting government officials. It was always damp and in later years many felt it to be below an acceptable standard. It ceased to be used for accommodation and was deployed only as a ‘conference venue’.

In 2006 it was mooted that Wranghams might be deployed for Tourism purposes, though there was no clear plan covering how it might be used. It is too small for a hotel without significant extra building work, which would be out of keeping with the area. In 2007 it was advertised as available for tourism-related development on a lease-hold basis with prospective bidders expected to submit a business plan for consideration before lease negotiations. Nobody did.

In June 2010, with the airport project ‘paused’ and Wranghams in an increasingly sorry state it was proposed that it be sold. It took until March 2011 for a decision to be taken. In August 2013 was it formally proposed that Wranghams be downgraded from a Grade II to a Grade III listed building, but this was not approved by Executive Council. It was finally advertised for sale in December 2013, at an asking ‘guide’ price of £90,000 with bids to be submitted by 5th February 2014. Again, there were no takers, but by August the Government of St Helena was reported to be in negotiations with a bidder. By May 2015 planning applications were being filed. Work was completed in December 2016 and Wranghams is now, once again, one of St Helena’s fine country houses.

For lease, 2007
For lease, 2007

For sale, 2013
For sale, 2013

Before restoration
Before restoration{e}

…
{e}

…
{a}

Restored, Dec 2016
Restored, Dec 2016{a}

 

Look closely on Read’s 1817 map and you will find Wranghams intriguingly named The Castle of Otranto

The Hutts Gate Store

Location map:
Location Map huttsgatestore

Hutts Gate Store Sign

The Hutts Gate Store building is directly on the Longwood road, facing northwest, just east of St. Matthew’s Church. From the front there are four upstairs windows, and downstairs there is (left to right): door; high-level window; door with porch; high-level window. At the back there are various outbuildings. The store bears a distinctive sign which remains today, even though the building is no longer a store. It is designated as a Grade II Listed building.

The earliest record of a dwelling on this site is in 1673. The Crallan Report in 1974 found no definite proof that a building of this date still existed, but considered the possibility that the current building dates from this time. In 1673, following the Dutch capture of St Helena, Richard Keigwin’s men landed at Prosperous Bay and marched across the island to surprise the Dutch at the fort in Jamestown. On their way, they stopped for breakfast at a farm called ‘The Hutts’, the name relating to a sort-of shanty-town for slaves (see our Place Names page).

It is thought the building was originally a military post, given its commanding position on the only road to Longwood and the north east. Apparently there was also at one time an Inn on the site, known as the Rose & Crown, which in 1877 was the only public house outside of Jamestown, but no remains of this can be identified today. It is not known when the building first became a shop.

By then start of the 21st Century it was still an active shop, and in September 2001 the following notice appeared in the St Helena Herald:

Hutts Gate Store will be reopening on Saturday 29th September at 10am. On sale will mainly be groceries to start with but will be branching out to clothing and hardware soon.{f}

The store was put up for sale as a going concern in September 2002 but evidently there were no buyers. It closed soon after and the building, unoccupied, was left to deteriorate. In March 2006 part of the rear of the store collapsed, possibly as a result of ill-advised building work. The owner was forced to put the building up for sale by auction.

After two attempts at auction, on 2nd September 2006 and on 24th March 2007, it sold. It is being restored by the new owners and expected to be be a private house.

From St. Matthew’s Church, 1961
From St. Matthew’s Church, 1961{d}

Close-up, 1961 {1}
Close-up, 1961{1}{d}

Rear view, 1970s
Rear view, 1970s

Damage, March 2006
Damage, March 2006

Damage, March 2006 (rear)
Damage, March 2006 (rear)

Auction, 2nd September 2006
Auction, 2nd September 2006

Close-up, January 2017 {2}
Close-up, January 2017{2}

From St. Matthew’s Church, 2017 {3}
From St. Matthew’s Church, 2017{3}

 

Read More

Below: Historic Environment Record • Article: The Old Ways are the Best

HER image

Historic Environment Record

For more about our historic buildings consult The Historic Environment Record.

Article: The Old Ways are the Best

Lime Mortar
Lime Mortar

Published in the St Helena Independent 27th March 2009{7}

On Tuesday morning, Ben Jeffs, who is working on the High Knoll Fort and the Round Tower renovations, showed how lime mortar is better than cement in just about every way.

Ben organised a practical demonstration in the PWD Yard in Jamestown. About 30 people who were PWD workers, private contractors and planners attended.

By the end of the demonstration Ben had convincingly shown that lime is much better than cement mortar for all buildings, new or old, in several different advantages. Not only does lime help to keep a building cool in the summer heat or warm when it’s chilly, it stays good longer, needs less maintenance and is much cheaper to buy than cement mortar.

Lime based paint or ‘lime-wash’ was also shown by Jeff to be better and cheaper than the modern paints now in common use. It does not flake off and less preparation is needed before a surface previously painted with ‘lime-wash’ receives a fresh coating.

Ben emphasised that the Island’s old stone buildings must be maintained using lime mortar. Cement mortar causes too much damage to the stone. Restoration work on the rock fall damaged Baptist Church in Jamestown includes the use of lime mortar and the new Boat Shed on the wharf has had lime mortar included in part of the work and in the mix used to paint the renovated buildings.

Lime mortar was in widespread use long before cement was even though of as a building material. Now, lime as a building material for blocks and mortar is fast returning to common usage. Lhoist UK is part of Groupe Lhoist, the largest manufacturer of lime in the world. Based at Buxton in the Derbyshire Peak District, Lhoist UK produces high [97%] purity Quicklime and Hydrated Lime. Lhoist tells prospective users of lime on its website at www.lhoist.co.uk:

Lime is frequently used in mortars as it ensures superior workability and less wastage making mortars easier to use. From an engineering perspective lime mortars display greater long-term durability and enhanced flexural strength. These characteristics can reduce or even eliminate the need for construction joints in brick and blockwork. In addition, their ability to react with water provides a self-healing capability for minor cracks. Increasingly in new build applications as well as in historical refurbishment, lime is specified not only for mortars but also for plasters, renders and screeds. The advantages of the breathability of lime based products and their self-healing and ductility characteristics make them ideal for these purposes.

Laugh at funny Saved Buildings humour - LOL

Credits:
{a} Neil Fantom{b} Ed Thorpe{c} John Tyrrell{d} Copyright © 1962 Film Unit, used with permission{7}.{e} Chris and Sheila Hillman{f} St Helena Herald, 28th September 2001{7}

Footnotes:
{1} If you can identify the people, please contact us.{2} Damage repaired - just needs a coat of paint!{3} This was an attempt to re-create the 1961 photo from the same spot, but unfortunately the flax (left) has grown so high you can’t actually see Hutts Gate Store from the spot where the 1961 photograph was taken!{4} His son, Hudson Ralph Janisch, became Governor of St Helena in 1874, in which office he remained until his death in March 1884 at the age of 59. He remains the only person born on the island to have served as Governor.{5} Naturally we cannot verify this.{6} Strictly it should be Wrangham’s - there was a Wrangham - but Wranghams is the currently-used name.{7} Reproduced for educational non-commercial use only; all copyrights are acknowledged.

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