A historic timber-frame building has been discovered during restoration work in the northern city of Wakefield. It is believed that it could have been a house dating back to the 16th century.
The building, located at 6-8 Silver Street in the city centre of Wakefield, was covered over in cement. When that was removed, the original timber frame was revealed, along with carved posts usually associated with a high-status house.
Scientists are now analyzing the timber and building experts from Historic England are looking at the building in detail. The discovery could potentially shed new light on the development of early timber-framed buildings within the city and regionally. The building is now covered up to preserve the timbers.
“It’s fantastic that work to restore the heritage of Westgate High Street has uncovered such an intriguing find,” commented Richard Butterfield from Historic England. “This building is a physical link through time to our past, in an area which is rich in history and significance for local people.”
The discovery was made as part of the High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) restoration initiative; a collaboration between Wakefield Council and Historic England, offering grants to owners of historic buildings along the high street to repair and revitalize their buildings. The £3.8 million project includes work on a further 15 properties and improvements made to four of the historic yards leading off Westgate.
6 and 8, Silver Street: Grade II listed building in Wakefield before its restoration – photo by Dave Dunford / Wikimedia Commons
Richard Butterfield adds. “The aim of the High Streets Heritage Action Zone is to help unlock the potential in Wakefield town centre through repair and improvement work, making it more attractive to residents, businesses, tourists and investors. It is helping to ensure that future generations can continue to benefit from everything that our historic places have to offer.”
Denise Jeffery, Leader of Wakefield Council, comments: “This is such an exciting discovery that has come about thanks to the work that we’re doing to preserve and protect these buildings for future generations. Scientific investigations are under way to date the timbers, and we await the experts’ verdict, but it is possible this fantastic project has revealed the oldest surviving timber building in our city.”