Artist painting the Granary while it was undergoing restoration C1978

 By 1975 The Granary had been owned by Sidney Dale for 5 years and it lay derelict.

Sidney Dale then applied for planning consent to convert it into 20 rooms so visitors could stay there.

Fortunately the plan came to nothing.

1977 - The Granary with Cart Lodge to its left

In 1977, The Granary was bought by Alan and Joyce Baker who restored and rebuilt the internal and external fabric of the building, converting the inside into a family house.

Joyce Baker was the inspiration behind the work. She and husband Alan were determined to preserve the original fabric of the building but configure the inside space so that they and their three children could live in it as a home.  

They employed architect Andrew Borges who interpreted the family’s wishes and needs and drew up the plans.

Parts of the structure had deteriorated so much that they could not be saved and had to be rebuilt. Alan used reclaimed materials wherever possible which he sourced from old buildings elsewhere that were being demolished.

Some of the large beams which formed the original structure of the building were in good condition but many others had to be replaced with timbers that were sourced from buildings being demolished at Ipswich Docks.

The end section had to be rebuilt
The whole roof was re-thatched

Alan Baker managed the project and was ‘hands on’ doing much of the repair and reconstruction work himself, saving everything of the original building he possibly could. However, the restoration would not have been possible without those listed below: 

  • Lead carpenter:  John Edgington
  • 2nd carpenter:  Sid (Dennis) Cornwall
  • Bricklayer:  Eddie Rand
  • Thatcher:  Vivian (John) Alderton
  • Thatcher:  John Drew
  • General factotum:  Graham Eggleton

As well as looking after three children and being the inspiration behind the project Joyce also drove lorries as required to deliver materials to the site and provided meals for all those who chose to stay on site at lunch time.

    Various pieces of mill machinery (from The Granary’s days as a steam mill)  were left in place where they remain to this day.  The wooden ladder (shown above) was initially the only means the family had of accessing the top floor until they installed a staircase. 

    1977 - Before the Restoration

    During the two years in which the work was undertaken, the Baker family lived in The Cart Lodge adjacent to The Granary in which John Constable is said to have kept his horse.

    1979 - After the Restoration

    Granary and Cartlodge (rear view) in 1979 - restoration complete
    The mill door to the upper floor was left in place
    The front of the Granary today