A Virtual Tour of the Back to Backs – part 44
Just before George left Court 15 the architect in charge of the upcoming restoration, Derek, visited the premises and whilst in this first-floor room noticed cracks in the plaster that indicated there may be a loose brick on the inside of the front wall. Derek asked George if he would mind if he tried to remove the brick, and George obligingly agreed.
Walls of buildings built 200 years ago did not have a cavity, they were built with two “leaves” of brick next to each other, commonly known as solid nine-inch wall. When Derek removed the loose brick, he shone a torch into the hole expecting to see the back of the brick on the outside leaf. To his amazement what he saw was a five-inch cavity! This meant only one thing, the outer leaf was parting company with the inner one! It was moving out towards the street.
The problem was overcome during renovation by pinning the two leaves together with stainless steel rods and filling the cavity up with a hard setting resin compound.
It is said that if the work had not been done, George Saunders may have turned up to open his shop one day & found a pile of bricks in the street!
You can still detect the slight bulge in the wall if you stand on the corner of Inge Street and look along the Hurst Street wall of the property.
George started his business here in 1974, and eventually he and his son had all four of the shop units here facing Hurst Street running their two tailors’ shops. There was, as his business got busier, a workshop on the first floor of each of the four shops and George may well have started to get fed up of running up and down all those flights of spiral stairs to get from one workshop to another.
George set about his grand master plan to overcome this problem!