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Historic Howard House uncovered after 25 years

One of Norwich’s most historic houses, Grade II* listed Howard House has been uncovered after nearly 2 years of extensive restoration work.

Contractors, R&J Hogg who are renovating the house on behalf of Orbit, developers of the neighbouring £80m St Anne’s Quarter, have carefully repaired the roof, structure and external facades of the building.

The roof has been completely uncovered to its original timbers in order to repair them with new oak where they had become rotten with water ingress over the years. The south wall plate was almost completely disintegrated and the dormers were collapsing. New handmade bricks created using traditional methods were used to rebuild where the brickwork was in poor condition and rotten oak was replaced using oak with steel plates.

Maggie McCann, development director at Orbit said: “It is incredible to see Howard House being renovated to its former glory.

“Characteristics such as the late 19th century post box and boot scrapers really bring the house back to life. Working with conservationists has been very important as we wanted to restore the house and stabilise the structure with as few changes as possible to maintain its history for generations to come.”

Howard House underwent major refurbishment in the early 18th century which included the installation of the oak staircase. On investigation, it was discovered that the west wall had been gauged out to accommodate the steps, destabilising the structure. The wall has now been partially reconstructed to support the staircase and join the south corner back together.

Ruth Brennan at Ruth Brennan Architects said: “Most of the external render had been poorly repaired over the years with cement based products and needed to be removed and replaced with traditional lime render.

“We have carried out repairs to the existing joinery and fabric, where possible without wholesale replacement, to make the house weathertight and safe without losing the historic integrity.”

During restoration works, a 130 year old letter and 63 wallpapers dating back to the 18th century have been discovered. Renovation to the interior of the building is due to be completed early next year and forms part of Orbit’s plans to transform the neighbouring St Anne’s Quarter into a high-quality residential-led development of more than 400 new homes.

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