Electrical workshop (Old Den)

From Festipedia, hosted by the FR Heritage Group

A building in the Bottom Yard at Boston Lodge until 2023 housing the Electrical Workshop, also a locker room. It was previously the staff messroom commonly known as the Den. In recent documents[1] the Company refers to it as 'Old Office Block (H14)'.

Electrical Workshop (Locker Room Block) Former Den, Office and General Stores
Location Boston Lodge South side of No 1 Boston Lodge
Register No 104
T. Corner ID BL017
Operational Yes
Heritage Status Grade 2 listed. All works that materially effect its character will require Listed Building Consent.
Historical significance Highly significant. Built in 1850 as the carpenters' shop at the time of the mid 1850s Works extension and therefore is evidence of the phased development of the site. It is thought to have replaced an earlier building. It is thought that the porch on the north side (see photos) may have been added about 1880 when a similar porch was added to the former Manager's Office (Plas Smart). The modern entrance lobby from the Bottom Yard was added in 1993, built in breeze-block but tastefully clad in stone. This lobby was removed in April 2023.
Cadw Blg ID 14415. Cadw listing text as follows:- (but see above for dating!)

This building is an early C20 addition to the complex, and formerly served as a mess room; it is currently a locker room. Interior. The interior is now a locker room. Exterior. Rectangular single-storey block of local slate rubble construction with hipped slate roof. The front NE elevation has a plain-panelled timber gabled porch to the R with arched entrance and glazed side lights; 12-pane sash window to the NW return (R). The rear elevation has a central catslide outshut with multi-pane window; 2 modern timber windows to the R and L of this. Reason for Listing. Listed as part of this especially complete example of a C19 railway engineering works which has important historical associations with the Ffestiniog Railway. Group value with other listed items at Boston Lodge.

Description Solid stone walls under a duo pitched roof covered with slates. West end is hipped, east end gable. The gabled end originally extended to merge with the roof of the old Sawmill to which it was conjoined. This feature will reappear when the Sawmill building is recreated.

Internally it is divided in to three areas. A battery room to the east, the electrical stores and workshop on the bottom yard side (it and the battery room accessible through the bottom yard porch). The old porch then accesses a locker room on the north side.

Also contains a large attic space for storage.

The building to the east with the flat metal roof is the Oil Store (Building 105) and is not part of the electrical stores. (It is not the building described by CADW a 'Former Oil Store' (14418) and listed grade 2, that is building 97a, the Old Oil Store previously S&T Stores behind the former Telephone Exchange) However, because it is attached to the Electrical Workshop building it will be included in the CADW listing and as such should be considered as part of that building if not the use. It was originally part of the Sawmill which had a pitched roof, at right angles to the electrical workshop, and the roof of the latter extended to meet the roof of the Sawmill. In the 1960s the Sawmill was in a very poor state and was largely demolished except for the small part retained as the Oil Store which was reduced to one storey and fitted with the flat roof. The linking roof of the Electrical Workshop was cut off leaving the present gabled east end.

Thanks to Edward Harris for the information about the Oil Store

Present use Electrical Workshop, electrical stores, battery room and locker room
Previous use Originally carpenters' workshop then from late 1870s it was used as the Stores. In the 1950s half was used for storage and the other half as a Mess Room.
Condition The building is generally sound but will be renovated in the current programme of works.
Recent works Although not recent the following works can seen to have been done:-
  1. Dilapidated pitched roof on Oil Store taken off and replaced with the present roof in the 1960s.
  2. Some localized repointing carried out at some stage in the past.
Urgent and Immediate Repairs required The following repairs are urgently required (2013):-
  1. External decorations - paint flaking on barge boards and porch.
Less urgent repairs A summary of the repairs required are as follows:-
  1. None at the moment (2013)
Improvements needed The following works are in hand 2023.

Single-pitch roof on Oil Store removed and frontage built up to recreate the gable end of the old Sawmill. Porch on south side (dating from 1993) removed.

Potential alternative uses The future use of this building is included within a larger scheme of conservation works to renovate the historic buildings of the Works. After general repairs this building is intended (2021) to become the Den again, housing the staff amenities, mess room and locker room. The adjoining Oil Store will be rebuilt externally as a replica of the old Sawmill, housing lavatories and at the north end a new Electrical Workshop. The roofs of the buildings will be joined as before.
  1. ^ The Boston Lodge Interpretation & Develoment Project, FR Co, 2020