Canterbury Archeological Trust

No. 28 Palace Street
Rupert Austin

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A survey of this fine seventeenth-century building, detailing the structural failures of the timber frame, was completed by John Bowen last year (Canterbury's Archaeology 1987-88. 40). An exploratory investigation of the `failing' fabric of the shop was undertaken this year, in order to put forward a scheme for stabilising the building and converting it for retail and office purposes. During the stripping-out process, further movement of the building was detected and considerable external and internal shoring was employed in an attempt to arrest it. Unfortunately high winds earlier in the year had induced further structural failure of the already destabilised stack. fallen brickwork being in evidence on the ground floor.

A rapid survey of the stack was commissioned by Canterbury City Council, with only three hours available, before the building was declared unsafe, all personnel evacuated, and Palace Street and King Street closed to traffic. It was decided to dismantle the entire stack from above using a mobile crane as a safe working platform. Contractors removed surrounding roof fabric before carefully dismantling successive courses of the stack. This proceeded according to plan until the brickwork was reduced to attic level. Suddenly the stack, in its precarious state of imbalance, collapsed. Total failure occurred with several tons of remaining brickwork falling vertically through the building filling the entire cellar with rubble.

Fortunately no-one was hurt and surprisingly the frame suffered little damage with the failed stack leaving a large void through the core of the building. Producing drawings from the hastily gathered notes proved a particularly difficult task, but the results should provide enough information to reconstruct the stack in its original form.

Our thanks are extended to John Chater, Clive Bowley and Graham Kyte of the City Council Conservation Section, who intrepidly assisted us to complete the record. Thanks are also extended to Mr Boutarabi, the new owner of the shop, and his architect, for their kind assistance. Special thanks are extended to the City Council Engineering staff for maintaining careful watch on our safety during the recording process.

See this place today Click on the logo to see this place today.   The information on this page is Copyright © Canterbury Archaeological Trust Ltd. 1990 Reproduced with permission.
The text and pictures were taken from Canterbury's Archaeology 1988/1989, The 13th Annual Report of Canterbury Archaeological Trust Ltd.

Peter Collinson Last change: 7th September 2008