Back in England I had been involved in the conservation of old buildings for twenty-five years, working for the Eve Baker Trust and my own company, Nimbus Conservation, which was involved in work on the Tower of London, Windsor Castle, and Wells Cathedral, amongst others. So when I saw this house I regarded it as an extension of my conservation work, but this time working on my own building.

When we bought the house it was in a sorry state, and needed urgent structural repair. We discovered that the walls looking towards the viaduct had dropped by eight to ten centimetres, so we had to do some underpinning. Then there was the repointing - in a lime mortar, leaving as much as possible of the original mortar, which contained crushed brick - similar to the mortar used by the Romans.