It is some while since I last posted an entry and I do feel awful about that. But the past 6 months have been hectic beyond belief and only now with the finish line finally in sight do I find I have time to even contemplate an update to my blog.
As I write the carpet is being laid and in a few days the furniture will arrive. The portico is undergoing a much-needed and long overdue face lift and the finishing touches are being made to the electrical, security and fire alarm systems. All will be ready for when Kemp & Kemp move in at the end of January.
It would be nice to say that the work has gone entirely to plan but with an old Grade 2 listed Georgian building it was inevitable that there would be some unknowns. Having said that we have not been hit by too many surprises, and nothing that we perhaps could not have anticipated. We had to completely rebuild two chimneys that had clearly been rebuilt (badly) back in the 50’s or 60’s, the gas pipe through the building has been rerouted and we ended up having to re plaster the entire building, including many of the ceilings, whereas we had budgeted for patching and repairing and then papering. But when the plaster falls off as soon as you touch it there is simply no choice and the end result is so much better.
The exterior to the building still needs redecoration but that can wait for a period of better weather and the courtyard gates and the courtyard itself need to be upgraded but that too can wait.
Some of the tradesman that have worked in the building are convinced that it is haunted, but I do not subscribe to that, quite the opposite in fact. I have spent many a silent hour in the building, alone, late at night, and in the early days with nothing more than emergency/temporary lighting through the property and I have never felt anything other than 100% “at home”. In fact if buildings were ever able to have a soul I would credit 1 – 3 Ock St with a warm and friendly one!
I wrote in an earlier blog about the D’Almaine family who occupied the building 100 years ago. The father was a solicitor who lived and worked from the building and sadly lost his then only son Roy (Duroy) on the Somme in 1916. Last week I was contacted by a direct descendant and we will be arranging for them and other members of the family to visit the property. I will post on that as and when it is arranged but I am very much looking forward to reuniting them with their past and to learning more about their family.
Finally, we are putting a time capsule under the floor to the building and are asking a number of Abingdon institutions and organisations to contribute to the content. As well as telling the story of the building and its new occupants, we want the Abingdonians of the future to know what life was like in Abingdon in 2014. If any of you have any ideas or suggestions do please post a comment.
Thank you for reading.