Ellie, 22 years old, is a bricklayer and stonemason. She has been working for Dobson Construction Ltd for 4 years, and has been working on the Calverley Old Hall restoration since summer 2022. Here she explains how she got involved, what it’s like on site at Calverley Old Hall and what she has been working on during her time on the project.
I got involved in the project by chance when my employers sent me here as they were in need of a mason on site, and I’ve been here ever since! Previously I have worked on many old homes but never a Grade I Listed building like Calverley Old Hall.
After being onsite at Calverley Old Hall for just under a year, I have seen many changes. From first going to site and it being an empty shell (minus some questionable wallpaper), to now having internal walls and pipework in place as well as new built ‘plant room’ for the boilers and electrics…it looks completely different. It’s been a pleasure to see the old building being repaired, and it’s been even better to be a part of it.
A room at Calverley Old Hall before any restoration work took place
My favourite part of the building has to be the re-instated floor of the Great Hall. When I first came to site the stone flags in the Great Hall were being lifted, ready to make way for the new underfloor heating. After being painstakingly photographed, marked, measured, sorted and stored, myself and another stone mason had the pleasure of re-laying them exactly where they used to be, before bedding and levelling them. Now it is complete I have a real sense of pride, it’s fantastic to see the floor back in place the same way it would have looked maybe 300 years ago.
Relaying the flooring in the Great Hall
Not only has it been great to work on the building, but it has also been nice to have met so many different people through the project. Regular visits and tours have meant I have been able to chat with members of the public as well as the variety people who work for The Landmark Trust. I have especially enjoyed talking with the archaeologists who have been able to explain more about the history of the site; why something is where it is, as well as why people may have put shoes in the wall and other little trinkets we have uncovered along the way.
Three Children's shoes found at Calverley Old Hall
The building has constantly surprised me, not only with the ‘finds in the walls’, but also in terms of the craftsmanship of such an old building. It amazes me that it has stood for so long, yet undergone many adjustments over the years.
I am excited to see the final outcome of the project, to see how this historic building is transformed into a place for people to stay, and what an honour it is to be part of this process. I’m particularly looking forward to working in the painted chamber and to seeing it fully reinstated, with the paintings in pride of place and the furniture to make it a gorgeous bedroom!