Work is continuing to bring a landmark Uckfield building from the 15th to the 21st century without destroying its architectural heritage.
Bridge Cottage, Uckfield was built in about 1436 and although much of the original timber remains the building had been altered bit by bit.
For more than 20 years it was carefully maintained by the Uckfield and District Preservation Society (UDPS) which obtained a £1,017,600 Heritage Lottery Fund grant in 2014. This meant that instead of simply maintaining the building, the Society could press ahead and create something usable and sustainable, retaining its authenticity but converting it into a heritage resource for the town.
The latest development in the ambitious scheme has been the start of work on a ground source heating system. A six ton rig arrived on site last week ready to drill four bore holes for pipes. The rig, together with supporting pumps and settling tanks, arrived on Thursday and work began on Friday. It should be there for about two weeks.
Mick Harker, chairman of the UDPS’ Bridge Cottage committee said: “It’s a very messy operation as the drill has to be lubricated with a constant flow of water that both keeps the drill bit lubricated and flushes the spoil to the surface. There is quite a lot of spoil as each bore is 250mm and goes down to about 120 metres.”
Once the bore is dug a plastic pipe loop is inserted to the bottom of the bore hole and cemented in position. The pipes will be fed, via a balancing manifold, to a ground sourced heat pump located on the first floor of the refurbished building. The pump will, once commissioned, pump a liquid through the bore hole pipes to extract heat from the ground to heat the building in the winter. In summer it works in reverse.
Mr Harker hopes the project will be finished by the end of the year and become a meeting place and resource centre for the town so its true heritage can be appreciated by everyone. There will be education programmes at all levels, hands-on heritage activities for all ages, local history and craft events and a heritage hub for historical research. People can even get married there - the building will be registered for civil ceremonies.
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