One of Britain's Most Important Architectural Treasures Gets Rescued

Robin Stummer reports on the fate of Britain's greatest surviving historic wooden building, a huge medieval barn that had suffered from years of neglect.
February 10, 2012, 8am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Located on the northern edge of Heathrow Airport, and dating from 1426, the Harmondsworth Great Barn has been called a "masterpiece of carpentry" by English Heritage.

"The barn is exceptionally rich in original oak timbers – some 98 per cent of which remain in place. It is more than 60 metres long, 12 metres wide and 11 metres tall, with 13 massive oak trusses supporting the vast, tiled roof. A complex lattice of mighty curved braces and beams above a "nave" and a dozen chapel-like bays give the impression of a large medieval church," writes Stummer.

Bought for £1 in 2006 by a developer based in Gibraltar, the barn has suffered from neglect and a lack of necessary repairs. However, recent purchase and repair by English Heritage has the barn back in safe hands, with an expected public opening this April.

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Published on Monday, January 30, 2012 in The Independent
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