This month was one of preparation and patience.
With the passenger part of the carriage suitably secure and stable, and the woodwork recreated to that of its original state, we felt it time to have some doors made to match. With parts of an original door handle being given to us from the carriage, and one fully operable handle in the guards part, we decided to remove and restore one door handle to a working state in order for us to be able to use it on the brand new doors.
With this in mind, we began to collect all the artifacts removed by the carpenter, and locate everything that was on the original doors and windows in order for us to place them when the new doors and glass arrive later this month. Amongst the pile of artifacts (and numerous rabbit skulls), we found six match strikers in pristine condition, and, much to our surprise, many original door hinges in full working condition!! We hope that, if we’re lucky enough, we’ll be able to use the door original hinges on our new doors!
Aside from waiting for the new doors to arrive, some of our team have been busy making changes to the rest of the carriage so that we can press on. To start, we began to strip back the lead paint on the ceiling in the passenger side of the carriage so that we can reclaim the original paintwork, before starting to sand down the wood and varnish it for, hopefully, a much better finish.
We then started to dig out the guards part of the carriage, propped it up with yet more acrows and studied what pieces of the carriage we could keep and which pieces were of no use. To our surprise, both sets of doors opened (with a bit of help), and locking mechanism worked perfectly! The original seat for the guard was completely intact on one side and in two pieces on the other and in pristine condition (other than being covered in spiders who have taken inhabitance in the 114 years the carriage has been in the garden.)
It is, however, to our (not-so) surprise, that we think we have found a small infestation of asbestos and woodworm in the upper parts of the carriage paintwork and ceiling, which could mean major delays in our work schedule if we choose to get rid of it.
With the next few months being so crucial to our improvements of the carriage, our fingers are crossed that the asbestos doesn’t intervene!