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September 20, 2016 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Apley Home Farm’s laminated beams


King Edward VI College, Southampton

This relates to our Apley Archive project & is a follow up to a recent meeting with Professor David Perrett who recently came to Apley with the Association of Industrial Archaeologists, to look at the model farm buildings (model in 1877) at Apley Home Farm. I love this archive work & the research done by these historians is so important for our nation’s cultural history.

Professor Perrett told me he had recently attended a lecture on laminated timber roofs at the Institution of Structural Engineers History group, the subject of which was laminated roofs like the one at Apley Home Farm. The speaker was Paul Bell & the following is the abstract of his talk given in London:

Until recently there has been a misconception that the earliest surviving English nineteenth century laminated timber roof in England is that of the assembly hall of King Edward VI College, Southampton (1860). Paul Bell has found nine earlier laminated timber roofs, particularly in two clusters in Northumberland (from 1840) and in the Liverpool area (from 1852). Building on the papers of Geoffrey Booth, Paul will look at the railway viaducts and roofs of John and Benjamin Green in Northumberland. The Liverpool churches and their builders and other early laminated roofs in London will also be considered. In France Colonel Armand Rose Emy was the engineer for several military riding schools with laminated timber arch roofs in the 1820s and 30s. The drawings in his Traité de l’Art de la Charpenterie are outstanding. His buildings had problems, the arch roofs pushing on the walls. Captain Paul-Joseph Ardant, another military engineer, published a critique of laminated timber arches based on experimental analysis in 1840. Booth believed that laminated timber arches were superseded by the arrival of wrought iron but, at least on the Continent, the problems created by thrust upon the walls were the reason for their demise.

3 Oct 2016, I just heard from Paul Bell, MA MSc DIC CEng FIStruct MICE: “The laminated timber [at Apley Home Farm] interests me but is not particularly noteworthy since the spans are not great and the date is quite late.  Reading the history, I think the building may be more important as an example of the sophistication of agricultural technology in the steam age.”

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