Hargate Hall's blog

News and Events at Hargate Hall – self catering and wedding venue in the Peak District

April 19, 2014
by Hargatehall
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Biomass Boiler – part 1

As I mentioned in my previous post, a review of the winter, we were finally able to sign off on getting a replacement for our old oil boilers. This is something we have been looking at for a very long time, but financing has always held us back. We have had 2 small oil fired boilers doing all the hot water and heating in the communal space. Although these have done a good job,they did struggle in the prolonged cold weather.

Getting the finances was almost the easy part! Once we were in the position to get started, we had to work out such details as who would we use for installation, which boiler would we buy, where will the boiler and associated item go, how do we connect up to the existing plumbing, and of course how do we get it in. After a lot of looking around and talking to people we settled on Prescient Power to supply, install and commission the boiler, and we chose the Froling tx150 wood pellet boiler.

The largest part of the boiler was nearly 2m x 2m x 1m and weighed 1 ton, and the 2 water tanks are 1.2m diameter and 3m high weighing in at about 400kg. That ruled the stairs out!

We decided that the best place was the old boiler room where the original coal fired boiler would have been, before the oil ones were put in in 1950. Given that the basement is 3m below ground level we were always going to have a challenge getting everything in. In one of the outside walls was what looked like a bricked up door way. On the other side was a concreted area leading up to our house. I wasn’t sure what would be under there, steps? a hole? or had it been abandoned during construction and just sealed up and backfilled with soil. Only one way to find out. I drilled a few holes and bought a boroscope so I could have a look I could see some old walls along the sides so decided to break up the concrete and start digging.

2013-12-01 15.12.04

After  getting down a few feet it became apparent that it was a stone lined hole which would make life much easier. At the bottom was even a hard floor with a drain in it – perfect! A bit of rebuilding to the wall was needed as was the moving a couple of pipes that had inconveniently been routed through. Anyway, after about 12 tonnes of debris had been removed, we had our access. Whilst doing this I also had to clear my large collection of things that might come in useful, one day, perhaps (aka junk). This nearly took a week!!

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I had a few days with a nice clean empty room, but then the delivery came – around 18 pallets of bits, all of which had to be transported down there. I had spent some time deliberating on how to lower the bits down the hole, and looked at all sort of lifting gear that i could hire, In the end I decided, that it was best left to someone who knew what the were doing so I called in  a local crane company. Definitely the right decision.

We decided to get the two accumulator tanks in first as they would need the most manoeuvring once they were in there. The were too tall to fit the the doorway vertically, but also wouldn’t fit in the hole lying on their side, so we had to sling them so they would sit at a 45 degree angle so we could drag them inside as we lowered them down. Then they had to be tipped upright.

buffer tank in mid air

buffer tank in mid air

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Then came the boiler itself and a the boxes of pipework, fittings etc

crane lifting our new boiler over the hall

crane lifting our new boiler over the hall

boiler being lowered into the basement

it will fit, honest

It did fit, with about 5 cm to spare! With everything in and safe, the next job is assembly but I will leave that for part 2 …

April 16, 2014
by Hargatehall
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A review of last winter

Well, I can’t believe it’s been so long since I last put finger to keyboard for our blog. I am calling this “a review of the winter”, but it made me think “what winter?” I don’t think we ever had more than 4 inches of snow, and we only had the chance to build 3 snowmen. Wind we have plenty of though. Do you remember I wrote about the work we had done on the dry stone wall on the south side of the building? On one of the stormy nights the wind managed to blow over one large tree, and snap of several large branches. Guess where they landed. Yep, you guessed it. Right on one of there repaired patches. We now have a rather damaged 10m section of wall again. Oh well, it could have been worse, and considering what lots of other people have had to cope with, its very minor.

tree and wall damage after high winds

tree and wall damage after high winds

Other than that we have had a very productive few months. The main hall, upstairs communal are and the corridors have all been redecorated and look fantastic. Throughout the redecorating, we have tried to use colours that would have been in keeping with the period of the building. This is not always feasible at room level as they have changed use over the years, what was originally a bedroom, might now be a living room etc. We have also taken into consideration the way the communal can be used. We have settled on using the red that featured in some areas, throughout the corridors or below the dado rails where they exist. Above the dado rail, and up to the picture rails we have used a feature wallpaper.

The corridor to the garden exit

The corridor to the garden exit

 

hargate hall landing area

hargate hall landing area

upstairs communal area

upstairs communal area

 

The fireplace alcove has also been done. The chimney breast now features a bookcase effect wallpaper to the sides and the centre section is red (or should that be read?)

Hargate Hall fireplace

Hargate Hall fireplace

main hall repainted

main hall repainted and with a new mirror

 

Balmoral’s living room has had a lot of work done. All that pine cladding has been pulled off, plaster repaired and repainted. We took the opportunity to replace the main chandelier and wall lights as well.

Balmoral's living room without the pine cladding

Balmoral’s living room without the pine cladding

balmoral redecorated and with new lighting

balmoral redecorated and with new lighting

Haddon, Chatsworth and Hardwick have also been repainted, and we have made a start on the living room of Sandringham. Julie has also been brushing up on the art of curtain making, and new curtains have now been put into Eyam and Welbeck.

Sandringham's living room half redecorated!

Sandringham’s living room half redecorated!

One of the biggest things that we have achieved, has been getting started on something which has been my pet project for the last 3 years. In December we were finally in a position to sign a contract for the purchase and installation on a biomass boiler to take over from the two old oil boilers, and eventually it will take over the heating in the apartments as well, so we can get rid of the electric panel heaters. This however will be the subject of my next blog - installing the biomass boiler!

September 29, 2013
by Hargatehall
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Further Maintenance

As you will have seen from the previous posts, we have been doing some major work on the windows around the hall. Now 90% of the windows have been repaired and repainted on the outside. Over the next few months we will be tackling the outside. This will also include replacing the sash cords to enable them to open more easily (and stay open). We have also had all the main lead valleys and gullies on the roof replaced. Much of the lead looks to have been original with lots of repairs and patches done over the year. The harsh winters we have had over the last few years had proven too much for them to cope with.

 

The Main valley stripped back

The Main valley stripped back

Rebuilt and ready for rain!

Rebuilt and ready for rain!

While the scaffolding has been up we have also been able to repair any leaks in the guttering.

We have also had all the holes and collapses in the dry stone wall on the south side of the building rebuilt so the approach to the Hall looks much smarter. The wall on the North side will be next years project! We have also added directional signs at either end of the property. For some reason most SatNav systems  try to take people round the back of us to our neighbours properties!

Dry stone wall after repairs

Inside Eyam’s living room has had a major overhaul. All the insulation in the roof has been replaced, and the ceiling re-boarded, plastered and painted.

2013-08-05 09.44.02 2013-08-07 13.19.17 nearly finished 2013-09-29 16.15.21

I am still working on the fireplace which is being enlarged to its original size. The disused mezzanine has been mostly removed and what is left is being used a a feature with some additional lighting set into it. Even with some finishing off needed, it is a much brighter and smarter looking room than it was.