Repairing the dovecote

Dovecote surrounded by scaffold and a crane lifting off the cupola from the top of the building

Over the closed season the buildings team have been hard at work, carefully conserving the grade II* listed dovecote.

The conservation work on the dovecote has been in full swing and will soon be coming to a close after months of hard work. Thanks to the support of members, private donors and anyone who has purchased a raffle ticket during their visit to Antony. Your support allows conservation projects like this to happen.

What did the works involve?

The cupola was removed from the top of the building with a crane. Following this, the dovecote was encased with scaffold to allow access for building conservators and also to protect the open roof from the elements. First, work began carefully removing the slates from the roof. Each slate had to be methodically stored with a record of where it had been taken from. Following the repair of the timbers underneath they will be re-layed as before. The conservation of old buildings requires carrying out essential repairs in a way that alters the building as little as possible using traditional methods and materials that are already available.

Damaged timbers on the dovecote roof
Damaged timbers of the dovecote roof at Antony
Damaged timbers on the dovecote roof

The timbers holding the roof up were extremely fragile and in need of repair. Extensive damage from previous repairs was also uncovered. Ends of rafters had been wrapped in plastic and set in a concrete ring beam. A new sectional oak wall plate was constructed by a National Trust carpenter to support the repaired rafters.

The new sectional oak wall plate in the dovecote at Antony
Sectional oak wall plate for the dovecote at Antony
The new sectional oak wall plate in the dovecote at Antony

Soon the roof will be fully repaired and the slates re-layed. Once the building has been tidied up and made safe it will be opened to visitors.

Eighteenth-century dovecote at Antony
Eighteenth-century dovecote at Antony, Cornwall
Eighteenth-century dovecote at Antony