The Dawes Twine Works building in Somerset – which dates back to the 19th Century – is believed to be the most complete surviving example of a rural rope works in the country. The Grade II listed building was taken over by the Coker Rope and Sail Trust in 2010 and was in a very poor condition. The structure relied on the embedment of the ground floor columns into the ground to provide the stability to the building. Over time many of the bases had decayed, leaving the building on the brink of collapse. The Carpenters’ Fellowship, with Patrick Stowe as engineer, righted the building and set it on scaffold as a temporary measure. We inherited the project with a remit to design the repairs and lead the negotiations with English Heritage and the local authority. Agreeing the correct conservation approach to the building was an interesting exercise as it was a simple industrial building, never intended to last. Options ranged from careful traditional timber spliced connections, through steel flitches to simple replacement of whole elements. Following the repairs the Coker Rope and Sail Trust have opened the building as a working museum showing how twine was made and what it was used for.
Coker Rope and Sail Trust