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3 Black Lion Cottages
Award-Winning Restoration

Project Description

No 3 Black Lion Cottages is believed to be one of three cottages used as staff quarters for the former Black Lion Public House dating back to the 19th century. After many years of watching the property fall into disrepair, Square Edge Solutions Ltd partnered with local investor, architect and long-term friend Anthony Stokes Judd to refurbish and restore the Grade II, 19th century Georgian cottage. After purchasing the property in 2019, Anthony collaborated with fellow associate architect Stefan Golc with the hopes of restoring the property to reflect its rich cultural heritage. Thanks to their years of industry experience and expertise, Square Edge Solutions Ltd were able to transform the property and bring Anthony's visions to life. 

The original brief was to replace the external cladding, joinery and to complete the interior renovation of the property, including a new wiring and heating system whilst preserving and restoring as many of the buildings original features as possible. The initial weeks of inspection and planning soon revealed the extensive damage, rot and structural issues that had forgone the property which was far more severe than any of the tradesmen could have imagined.


The cosmetic work has to be set aside with repairs to the main timber structure urgently needed to support all three of the cottages propped up by the existing framework. Whilst this work had been factored in, the unveiled damage was far worse than anticipated. This damage was the consequence of a damaged leaking roof, poorly applied non-breathable insulation materials and years of falling into disrepair.


The soleplates to the front and gable end elevations were heavily damaged by water ingress and wood worm, requiring full replacement alongside both the front and rear corner posts. The most challenge part of the restoration remained the attention needed by the structural uprights and the horizontal support beams which required partial replacement and repair. Extensive carpentry work in these areas involved the use of English Oak for the soleplates and Douglas Fir for all other timbers.

Once these necessary structural repairs were completed, cladding and joinery works could be considered, with new period bespoke sash windows and front entrance door being manufactured locally. The cottage timber weatherboarding was fully replaced and painted sympathetically to compliment not only the former Black Lion Public House, but other buildings within the village of Althorne. In the process of cautiously stripping back the building, they uncovered a number of periodic original features, including the original winder staircase, original ceiling joists and a historic lime wash fireplace hidden behind poorly attempt unsuitable past repairs.

Repairs to the roof required the sourcing and installation of reclaimed peg tiles and slates alongside the re-pointing and flaunching with lime mortar of the chimney stack shared with the middle cottage, structurally benefitting both cottages. Further works included the reinstatement of ground and first floor ceilings, floorboard repairs, staircase and fireplace restoration and the preservation and manufacture of internal joinery including a bespoke handmade kitchen, fitted cupboards, a new mantlepiece and front picket fencing.

The judges commented on how impressed they were by the quality and extent of the work that Square Edge Solutions Ltd had committed to, in-order to produce a high quality finish to the property. They commented on the importance of these Georgian cottages to the local area is vital within the local historic building stock and how the work produced by Chris Green and Dave Bowdler was a great example of a Georgian cottage being restored and refurbish to the standard it deserves.

Square Edge Solutions Ltd were awarded the 'Highly Commended' award within the Building Conservation Category at the Maldon District Council Conservation & Design Awards 2021.

Maldon District Council Design & Conservation Awards

The restoration of 3 Black Lion Cottages was recognised by Maldon District Council resulting in Square Edge Solutions being awarded the 'Highly Commended' Prize at the 2021 Design and Conservation Awards.

The judges were highly impressed by extent of detail within Chris and Dave's work and recognised their commitment to restoring the cottage in line with its rich culture and heritage. 

3 Black Lion Cottages remains an outstanding example of how a Georgian property should be restored and refurbished and showcase the important of these historical buildings to the local area.

You can read more about these awards by clicking here.

Square Edge Solutions photographed for the Maldon District Council Design & Conservation Awards 2021.

'The judges were highly impressed by the extent and quality of the work and local builder's commitment to implementing a high-quality job. These Georgian cottages are a vitally important ingredient of the local historic building stock. This project is a great example of a Georgian cottage being refurbished to the standard it deserves'.

Maldon District Council, 2021

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