Monday, June 16

Summer scaffolding


You may recall earlier posts about our leaking roof. The landlord has finally acted. A five-story scaffold was recently installed across the front of the house, giving repairmen safe access to our roof. Yesterday morning we had two men appear mid-morning without warning on our roof. It's always a shock to witness two pairs of boots wander past the bedroom window at eye height. We're five floors above the street.

Scaffolding is a surprisingly common site in the neighbourhood. Properties are constantly being repaired or renovated. I've come to realise this is yet another sign of living in a nation alive with history. In Sydney scaffolding is rarely seen beyond a traditional building site. Most homes simply aren't old enough to require major repair.

In London local Council's establish Conservation areas to protect the character of certain neighbourhood. These preservation orders force owner to repair older structure rather than alter or demolish them. Our street forms the boundary of one such convervation area - one of 36 in Camden Borough. Other well-known conservation areas include the historic villages of Hampstead and Highgate, the formal Georgian grid of Bloomsbury and Nash's stuccoed terraces fronting Regent's Park. Our street and those surrounding join the list thanks to a series of attractive nineteenth century red-brick housing estates.

Over the years I've watched fascinated as multi-storey residential buildings become encased in scaffolding for months on end. New sites appear every week. We currently have at least four in our street. Sometimes the entire site is also covered by an enormous temporary roof. This protects the building from the sodden local weather while its original roof is stripped and replaced.

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