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The 19th century stable yard

The 19th century stable yard
NTPL Zoë Colbeck

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Green (and very soggy) Day Out

Here in the Heart of the Park office, we don't let the weather dampen our spirits, so when we saw the forecast for last weekend, we all dug out our wellies and waterproofs, because Sunday was our Green Day Out.

National Trust stand (c) NTPL/Victoria Lower

This is an annual festival at the Park, and one of our most popular events. Local green charities, businesses an other organisations all come and set up stalls at Morden Hall Park, providing information and fun ativities to encourage the local community to 'live greener' and inspire them to change the way that they live.

The lovely ladies at Thames Water, smiling through the rain (c) NTPL/Lucy Alfred

We also ran special, behind the scenes tours of the stable yard to give our visitors the opportunity to find out all about our fantastic Heart of the Park sustainable renovation project.

Community Projects Manager, Zoë Adams, entertaining the crowds with the
wonders of cork insultion. NTPL/Lucy Alfred

We might have been unlucky with the weather, but our staff, volunteers and stallholders all battled through the showers to put on a great event for the visitors who braved the conditions. Even though it was wet, we had more stallholders this year than ever before. With live music and morris dancing to entertain the crowds, the event is loads of fun.

The sun came out for the Greensleeves Morris Men... (c) NTPL/Lucy Alfred

...but it didn't for local band Skyline Sketch (c) NTPL/Lucy Alfred

Thank you to everyone who came along to support us - next year we'll be booking sunshine!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Winter warmth from the ground up: underfloor heating

Underfloor heating pipes installed in clay plates NPTL/Caroline Pankhurst

Hot water will be generated in the Stable Yard in a variety of ways: by Photovoltaic-Thermal (PV-T) panels, an air source heat pump and a wood burning stove. It will be stored in large hot water tanks or “thermal stores”. These will feed the domestic hot water supply and the underfloor heating system.

One of the thermal store hot water tanks NTPL/Jon Whitehead

A network of polyethylene underfloor heating pipes has been installed throughout the stable buildings. These are arranged in heating zones, each controlled by its own thermostat. The pipes will run directly under the flooring, providing an even heat distribution, unlike the localised “spot” heating which is produced by traditional radiators.
In order to improve the efficiency of the heating system even further, the pipes are laid in Lithotherm clay plates, which can be seen in the top picture as the orangey-brown filling between the lighter-coloured pipes.
The grooves in the Lithotherm plates are open at the top, increasing the radiating surface towards the floor covering by approximately 60%.The increased upward flow of heat produces a well-balanced floor temperature, ensuring that the heat entering the room is maximised and the heat lost towards the ground is minimised. This is also helped by installing the clay plates on a layer of high-efficiency insulation. We want to squeeze every bit of heat out of our sustainably-produced hot water!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Renovating the waterwheel

The Waterwheel at Morden Hall Park NTPL/Jon Whitehead

The Snuff Mill at Morden Hall Park was one of the numerous mills which could once be found along the River Wandle. It was through the production of snuff, which was once highly fashionable, that the mills at Morden Hall Park became prominent.

There are only four mills with waterwheels remaining, and the cast iron waterwheel attached to the Snuff Mill is all that remains of the milling machinery since milling ceased in 1922.

NTPL/Robert Jameson

On Saturday 25th June we held one in a series of free taster days at which visitors were able to learn more about the waterwheel in the park, meet waterwheel renovation experts and get dirty scrubbing and painting part of the wheel.

In the next few weeks work will begin to conserve the waterwheel and replace its buckets. Later in the year a hydroelectric turbine will be installed behind the waterwheel. The turbine – an Archimedean screw – will be visible as a new modern “wheel” harnessing the power of the water and will provide reliable, renewable electricity to the renovated Stable Yard buildings.

There is one taster day left in the free series: Flooring and materials on Saturday 13 August.
For more information and to book a place please contact Caroline Pankhurst, Project Coordinator at National Trust, Morden Hall Park on 020 8545 6856 or