In­ter­na­tional res­cue for the build­ing world

It holds 2,000 years of his­tory but Chiltern Open Air Mu­seum has even more of our past to un­cover. JO-ANNE ROWNEY vis­ited the mu­seum to find out more

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

CHILTERN Open Air Mu­seum (COAM) is not your av­er­age mu­seum. There aren’t glass cab­i­nets full of fos­sils or dusty old doc­u­ments.

In­stead what greeted me when I vis­ited the at­trac­tion, in Chal­font St Giles, was a green open space full of build­ings – each with their own story.

COAM is a reg­is­tered char­ity, that acts as a sort of Thun­der­birds – In­ter­na­tional Res­cue for the build­ing world, ‘res­cu­ing’ build­ings about to be de­mol­ished.

I met with Kathy Bur­rows, a vol­un­teer for just over two years to take a look at what new ad­di­tions could be on the way to COAM.

As we walked down the

3D PUZZLES: Gor­don Cocks and John Hyde-Trutch have worked on many build­ings in­clud­ing this Had­den­ham Cottage and Iron age replica round house main gravel path Kathy pointed out that none of the build­ings at the mu­seum were orig­i­nally built there.

In 1976 the mu­seum was founded solely to res­cue or­di­nary houses, and work­places from around the Chiltern area.

Each was moved bit by bit, be­fore be­ing painstak­ingly be­ing put back to­gether. Think of a gi­ant 3D jig­saw puz­zle.

“Th­ese are living breath­ing build­ings,” Kathy tells me.

“It’s not just bricks, and tim­ber. They help us tell the his­tory of th­ese peo­ple’s lives.”

It is not just the build­ings that are ‘living’ the mu­seum con­tin­ues to col­lect more as they hear of them.

The very rea­son that I vis­ited was one of the mu­seum’s lat­est ac­qui­si­tions – The Jack­son Stu­dios.

Cur­rently a pile of bricks at the side of the lamb­ing field, the in­ten­tion is to get enough money through crowd­fund­ing to as­sess the ma­te­ri­als and even­tu­ally re­store them to their for­mer glory.

The build­ing is from Maple Cross, and dates back to 1745.

It was used as a record­ing stu­dio by Jack Jack­son, who made ra­dio shows for the BBC and tele­vi­sion up to 1963.

“It’s amaz­ing to think that the pile of bricks has so much his­tory,” said Kathy. “The team can look at this and see where each piece goes and how it should be put back to­gether, which is im­pres­sive.”

Bri­tish acts that worked in the orig­i­nal stu­dio, in­clude Mo­tor­head, who

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