Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Changes to the St Katherine’s Car Park, Ledbury

Local residents and Visitors may have noticed some remarking of the car parking spaces at St Katherine’s. The work has been done in preparation for the erection of a large scaffolding that will be required as part of the refurbishment of the Master’s House.

The most significant change has been the replacing the Car Parking spaces between the Master’s House and the Alms-houses with three spaces for Disabled Parking Spaces.  This loss of spaces has been compensated for by creating more spaces elsewhere within the Car Park. The work was programmed to minimise disruption over Christmas and the New Year. The scaffolding is due to be erected in February but preparatory works will commence early in the New Year to prepare the site.
For more details please contact Andy Tector at Herefordshire Council on 01432 261989 or email

Thursday, 29 November 2012

This week at the Masters House

Last weekend saw a very successful Hard Hat Day which despite dismal weather conditions attracted over 250 people to guided by HCC staff & members of the 'Friends of the Masters House' and give their views on the future of the landscaping around St. Katherines.

Last Friday's edition of the Ledbury Reporter also featured a very positive full page write up -follow this link to read the online edition. 

Behind the scenes work continues on the design, and as per the Reporter article the team is working on hopefully a successful Heritage Lottery Bid which will propel Phase 2 of the project into action in the New Year.

On site - eagle eyed people will have spotted a decontamination unit in the carpark as asbestos that was concealed below the floor is removed following the departure of shopmobility from that wing of the building.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Hard Hat Tours of the Master's House - 24.11.12

Hard Hat Guided Tours of the Medieval Master's House
24th November 2012 from 10am - 2pm

Come and see the Master's House and take the opportunity to comment on the proposed landscape design for the St Katherine’s site . . . . 
Come and see the recently exposed medieval part of the building and see the plans for the exciting redevelopment of this historically important building of Ledbury.
Tours of the Master’s House will take place between 10am and 2pm, every half hour.  Spaces can be booked at the Master's House on the day.
We will also be seeking your comments on the proposed landscape design for the area around the Master’s House, which will be on display at the Master's House.
For further information please contact Mick Ligema at Herefordshire Council on 01432 260631 or email:

Monday, 19 November 2012

St. Katherines Car Parking Works

Works were completed over the weekend to rearrange the white lining in preparation for the later phase of works to the Masters House.

The layout as it stands in front of the Masters House nearest the High Street may seem a little strange until the likely extent of the scaffolding is viewed. The spaces have been rotated to allow for the scaffolding to encroach from the front of the building whilst maintaining access to St. Katherines Hall. 

Additional spaces have been created in front of the HCC offices and in the corner of the carpark where the recycling bins used to be located. Parking for motorcycles has also been refreshed.


Ledbury Shopmobility ran by Community Voluntary Action Ledbury & District has now moved to the old Ambulance Station in Bye Street. There are 3 new disabled bays outside the Ambulance Station for users of the scheme.

For more information contact them on 01531 635339  or visit their Facebook page.!/CommunityVoluntaryActionLedbury?fref=ts

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

St. Katherines Car Park Works

As part of the precommencement works for the main Phase 2 of the project due to commence in 2013 we will undertaking carpark alterations commencing Tuesday 30th October which will run for 3 weeks.

There may be minor disruption to the carpark but this should be minimal and should not affect the normal usage of the carpark.

The Carpark will be closed on Sunday 18th November (weather permitting) for Line Marking.

The works include the removal of existing flower beds to provide 5nr additional standard carparking spaces, 3 extra disabled spaces, the formation of an area of a site compound and the installation of an upgraded telephone line system.

3 further disabled spaces have also been already formed at the former ambulance station users of the Shopmobility scheme.

These alterations are necessary to offset the carpark spaces that will taken up by the erection of the scaffolding on the North & East elevations once Phase 2 starts.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Ledbury in Bloom

As one of the sponsors we are pleased to announce that Ledbury struck Gold in the Britain in Bloom competition for the 6th successive year and has also won the category of best town!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Ivy Removal

Just a reminder that for the next few days part of the car park adjacent the Feathers will be closed whilst ivy is removed which is damaging the hotel and old barn. We will endevour to keep disruption to a minimum,

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Jubilee Poems and Queen's visit to Hereford

As part of Ledbury Poetry Festival SpellerMetcalfe and Ledbury Primary School jointly sponsored a poet to visit the school and spend time with the children to create Jubilee inspired poems.

These are now on show on the hoarding - which we are planning to continue to use as a blank canvas for future artworks and displays.

As part of the Queen's jubilee visit to Hereford - she paid a visit Ledbury's tent at King George V's playing field yesterday. The model of the Masters House formed part of a display that the Queen looked at as she passed through. Although her visit was fleeting - the model was seen by hundreds of people on the day - and the whole event was considered a success and a great privilege for all those involved to be a part of.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Car Park Works

There are few elements of work that will be undertaken in St. Katherines Car Park over the next few weeks.

Thursday 5th July - White Lining - Creating additional Car Parking/tidying existing lines.
Monday 9th July - Survey Works - The North-East section of the Car Park will be closed while Amey undertakes below ground surveys. This is to assess whether the ground is capable of undertaking the loadings that will be imposed by the scaffolding.
1st August - Ivy Removal - Ivy which is damaging the old barn and the Feathers will be removed. Small sections of the carpark will be closed as the works progress.

We will endevour to keep the disruption to a minimum as these essential works take place.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Telling the story of the Masters House in Ledbury

Telling the story of the Masters House in Ledbury

Herefordshire Council is encouraging residents to have their say about how the story of the masters House in Ledbury should be told. 

Residents are invited to a community consultation morning on Tuesday 3 July outside the Market House in Ledbury from 9am to 2pm.

Herefordshire Council have been awarded a stage one pass from the Heritage Lottery Fund to develop plans for the restoration, and to tell the story of the Masters House, which forms part of the medieval St Katherine’s Hospital site in the centre of Ledbury.

Once restored the building will be used for a range of community services including a community library, Herefordshire Council customer services and the registrar’s service. It will also become home to Ledbury Voluntary Action and the Victoria County History Trust.

The Friends of the Masters House and PLB Consulting (heritage consultants working on the bid) will be available to discuss possible themes and stories that might be told about the Masters House and the wider St Katherine’s Hospital site via a range of interpretation methods. This may include information boards, guided tours, heritage open days, family history sessions and the development of education packs for school visits. 

Andy Tector, Herefordshire Council, said: “This is a very exciting project and we’d like to encourage people to come and look at the ideas that have developed so far and tell us what they think. “

“The team will be available from 9am outside the Market Hall in Ledbury until 2pm. There will also be an opportunity to have a look inside the Masters House. The building has now been stripped out and the medieval timber frame is exposed for the first time in hundreds of years.”

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Open Day at the Masters House

A 'Hard Hat' Day was held on site on the 26th May allowing residents and interested parties a chance to tour the site now that the works have been stripped out ready for planning for Phase 2.

The event was a success with over 120 people attending and raised the collection and BBQ raised £80 for St. Michael's Hospice.

Before works get underway to fully start restoring the area in New Year we plan to hold another open event to allow those who missed out this time a chance to see this exciting project.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Buzz Site Gear's Visit to Ledbury Primary School

Buzz Site Gear has paid a visit to Ledbury Primary School to promote Health & Safety and warn children of the dangers of playing on building sites.

In two sessions the children from ages 4-11 learnt about what the different signs meant - including those they might come across at school or in town.

SPLAAT - Safety Please Learning At All Times.

Further visits are planned to other local schools and nurseries in the future.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Masters House Medieval Fabric Exposed

As the stripping out work continues - removing many layers which have been added on unceremoniously over the years - reveals the splendour of the original Medieval frame which the project is attempting to restore. See below pictures taken internally. If you would like a closer view then please feel free to attend for a site visit between 2pm-4pm this Saturday 24th May.

Looking in East in the Main Hall reveals the lath and plaster to the walls. The timber roof structure can now been seen directly from ground-level.

The original roof structure has been cut through when later extensions were added causing structural deformation to the building

Bill Cave (SML director) and Ed Mandrell (Site Manager) discuss the structural elements of the roof whilst Aaron carefully remove lath and plaster.
Looking across into the old HCC reception area - modern brick piers meet historic fabric.

The inscrpition in the panelled room dated from 1588. Whilst the panelling dates from then - it is believed to have been moved from Hereford to Ledbury at a later date.

The Timber roof structure now fully exposed as send from 1st floor level

15th Century Wattle and Daub (Centre)  adjacent to later Lath and Plaster shows how the building has been significantly altered over its lifetime.

Friday, 11 May 2012

What does the text say?

In today's Ledbury Reporter there is a article about some medieval writing that was discovered on a beam in the Masters House.

The text is difficult to read as per the picutures below . Colour and Black/White Versions.

But after posting the picture of Facebook and asking for help the best translation that has been come with so far is that the text is Latin and is Proverbs 28:18. 'Whoso walketh uprightly shall be saved: but he that is perverse in his ways shall fall at once'. 

14th May - Update - This has now been confirmed by Joe Hillaby an author of many local history text books as being a correct interpretation.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Hard Hat Tours of the Masters House - Saturday 26th May 2012

Residents and visitors to Ledbury will have seen that work on the Master’s House has been continuing apace over the last few months.   The Customers Services Team have temporarily moved to the recently refurbished wing to enable stripping out of the rest of the building.  This work will enable Herefordshire Council to do the preparatory work for the next stage, due to start in 2013, which will see the restoration of the Medieval Hall and kitchen.

The stripping out has meant that much of the medieval structure has now been exposed for the first time in many years and it is now possible to begin to understand what the building would have looked like when it was first built in the 15th Century.

Herefordshire Council is organising an open day, to enable residents and visitors to don a hard hat and have a look at some of the work that has been done to date and to see the stripped out Mediaeval Hall.  Staff from Herefordshire Council, Volunteers and the builders, Speller Metcalfe Ltd, will be on site from the 2.00pm to 4.00pm on Saturday the 26th May to show visitors around the building.  Entrance will be free but there will be an opportunity to make a donation to the St Michael’s Hospice Charity.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Completed Phase 1B

Handover of the Phase 1B was made on time to Herefordshire County Council and they have now taken occupation of the fully refurbished 19th Century Wing of the building releasing the previously occupied area for stripping out works.

Below are some photos of the finished article!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

BBC Hereford & Worcester Interviews

Ed Mandrell SpellerMetcalfe Site Manger & Andy Tector from Herefordshire County Council were interviewed last week by Nicola Goodwin from BBC Hereford & Worcester. The interviews were played as snippets but they are all available to listen to below. They provide an interesting insight into the completed works and what is planned for the rest of the project. Just click the links below.

BBC Interview Part 1

BBC Interview Part 2

BBC Interview Part 3

BBC Interview Part 4

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Ledbury in Bloom

The team at the Masters House are pleased to be sponsoring Ledbury in Bloom this year - the first tubs have recently brightened up the High Street. Last year saw the town winning the Gold Award for the 5th sucessive year. Obviously it is a something that we would like emulated or bettered this year!

You can support them as well and follow their updates by visiting their Facebook page at:

Monday, 2 April 2012

April Progress Update

Progress Update 2nd April 2012

Phase 1C

Phase 1C consists of the exploration of the existing fabric of the historic section of the building to enable the design for the future 'Library' Phase to be firmed up. Whilst the designers have a good idea of what the structure underneath is like - until it is exposed the location and condition of many of the timbers is unknown.
Stripping back some of the woodchip wallpaper has already revealed extremely well preserved timbers which will left exposed so they can viewed once the building is in use.

Historic timbers now exposed for inspection.

 Butler Hegarty architects have produced this excellent model to illustrate how the existing frame is likely to have looked and to illustrate which parts of the original strucutre will be exposed.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Nearing Completion

The hoarding has now been adjusted ready for the final external works and tidying up of the flower beds. As you can see from the photo below the daffodils are out and Spring is in the air!

Friday, 2 March 2012

Considerate Constructors Scheme

Our site in Ledbury is registered with the Considerate Constructors Scheme which is a national initiative, set up by the construction industry to improve its image. Any work that could be construed by the general public as ‘construction’ can be registered with the Scheme. Sites and companies that register with the Scheme are monitored against an eight point Code of Considerate Practice, designed to encourage performance beyond statutory requirements. The Code consists of the following eight sections: Considerate, Environment, Appearance, Good Neighbour, Respectful, Safety, Responsible and Accountable. When monitoring, the Scheme considers all those involved in the construction process, from the local authority and the client, to the operatives and delivery drivers.

We have recently had our 1st inspection and are extremely pleased with the result achieving a score of 37.5 out of a possible 40 points. As can been seen in the table below - it is very difficult to achieve such high marks with our site being rated well within the top 10% of sites in the UK. 

Of course we wish to continue this through the duration of the project - so if there is anyway in which you think we can improve or have suggestions how we can get involved in the community please do not hesitate to get in touch.  Our site telephone number is 01531 633 917.

Update: Visit  to see how the Ledbury Reporter's write up on our assessment and score.

Project Update 1st March 2012

March see's the Phase 1 works nearing completion with the external works complete with the exception of a new tarmac topping to provide access. The hoarding will be altered at the start of April to allow access to what Ledbury residents may remember as the old entrance to the Doctors surgery. The lift installation will commence in the next couple of weeks. The internal fit out elements will progress over the month ready to handover to HCC mid-April.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Phase 2 Planning

As Phase 1B the relocation of HCC services from their existing location to the newly refurbished 19th Century Wing nears completion in April works to progress the main phase '2' of the buildings can begin.

Initially this will consist of a 'stripping out' phase where certain areas of the historic fabric will be exposed during Phase 1C. This will enable the designers to see and assess how the existing layout can be altered whilst repairing and retaining the heritage of this Grade 2* listed building. As the building is of national significance it is not possible to undertake too many alterations to the existing layout - which is a challenge faced by the design team in how to turn the Masters House into a exciting and usable community space but within the space constraints imposed.

To faciliate the assessment of the fabric and protect the works as the roof is replaced the current proposal is erect a large temporary roof over the whole of the building. We are currently working on the design for this structure - with particular thought going into how the main site will setup up. Adequate room for the scaffolding is needed, so is adequate work area to allow the project to progress whilst complying with all Health & Safety legislation. We are also looking at how to rearrange the setup to minimise the impact on the carpark. The erection of the scaffolding is currently hoped to start in the New Year 2013.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Meet Buzz Sitegear

James Speller welcolming Buzz to the SpellerMetcalfe Team!
Buzz Sitegear is SpellerMetcalfe's new Mascot and Safety Champion. He will be visiting local schools and nurserys spreading the message of Site Safety. 
We have already been to visit Bubbles Nursery at Eastnor where Safety Signs were shown to the Pre-Schoolers for them to identify and learn the different meanings. The Children enjoyed the visit and took part in building site related colourings. We are looking forward to visiting more schools in the future although we will be taking turns in the suit!

Eastnor Nursery Visit

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Scaffolding being Dropped

The scaffolding is being dropped - exposing the recently repointed 19th C wing

Monday, 23 January 2012

January 2012 Progress Board

Happy New Year to everyone involved and likewise interested in the Master's House Project.

Here is the latest update on the project and the next update will be due in February.

I hope that local residents and everyone that visited St.Katherines car park over the christmas period enjoyed the festive lights that we provided around the top of our site hoarding.

It was very refreshing to meet so many people from The Friends of the Master's House Group on Monday 16th January 2012 who were so enthusiastic about the project and it's progress.
We had numerous questions from all that visited site and hope that we satisfied those that attended with the information that we provided.

We are very keen as a local company and Ledbury based team to provide as much information to those people that are interested in this project as possible.
If you would like to visit the site individually or as a group please contact any one of the team who's contact details are on the progress board.

Likewise we would also like to hear from anyone who has any negative notes on the project and the inpact the works are having on them so that we have the opportunity to address these issues as soon as possible.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Masters House project wins Heritage Lottery support

Herefordshire Council has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the Master’s House project in Ledbury. A development grant of £39,300 has been awarded to help Herefordshire Council progress their plans to apply for a full grant of £995,700 next year.

The project aims to carry out a full conservation repair of the grade II star listed building and preserve its heritage for future generations. Once completed, the medieval core of the building should be visible to the public for the first time in hundreds of years as well as serving as a hub for statutory and voluntary sector organisations to serve the local community.

This hub will be accessible to all and include a public library service, registrar’s service and ceremony space, a localities office and customer services as well as offices for Ledbury Voluntary Action.

The full HLF grant will focus on the second phase of the restoration programme, specifically the medieval section of the building including the roof, timber frame repairs and external elevations.

There are also plans for a dedicated storage and display area for the John Masefield Archive, making these documents accessible to the public for the first time. Funding will also be requested for a range of learning and community participation events that will encourage the community to learn more about the heritage of the Masters House and the history of Ledbury.

Contractors Speller Metcalfe are already working on phase one of the project which concerns the renovation of the Victorian wing of the building. This is expected to be completed in April 2012 and then services in the medieval part of the building will move to this area during phase two.

Updates on progress can be found at where latest photographs and news will be posted and interested parties can also have their say.

The development funding will be used to work with stakeholders and the community to ensure the history of the Masters House is interpreted in an accessible and appropriate way as well as consulting over how to attract as many visitors to the building as possible.

Ledbury Localities Working Group will also, in conjunction with Friends of the Masters House, other heritage providers, the community and school, develop a plan for the second stage of the HLF application process as well as ensure the public are kept informed about the project.

Roger Phillips, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for enterprise and culture, said: “We are delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this support. This project offers us the opportunity to preserve the Masters House for people to visit and also ensure it is sustainable into the future by becoming a hub for statutory and voluntary services.

“We will continue to keep people involved as the process progresses and plan to be in a strong position to bid for the rest of the HLF grant money in six to nine months’ time,” he added.

Explaining the importance of the award, Anne Jenkins, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund for the West Midlands, said: “We are pleased to give our initial support to this project which aims to restore and interpret this rare surviving medieval timber framed building in Ledbury. While there is much work to be done, we look forward to receiving a full application from Herefordshire Council for the Master’s House in the future.”