Coleorton Communal Bakehouse

Coleorton Communal Bakehouse

The Communal Bakehouse is located on The Moor, Coleorton, just up from The Angel Inn.

The Communal bakehouse building probably has a history going back further than the ovens themselves. The construction of the building and the age of the timbers suggest that it may have started life as a gunpowder store for local mines. The first record of the use of gunpowder in mining was in a lead mine in Ecton, Staffordshire, in about 1672 and used generally in mining from around 1690. Gunpowder went out of use following the invention of dynamite in 1867.

The building was described as a "croft" in the Tithe Map of 1842. But the term croft was used to designate any parcel of land or building - not a small cottage as we use the term today. It had been used as a garden store during the latter 20th century.

In December 2010 during very bad weather the roof collapsed taking out a large section of the South wall and the gable of the East wall. The Coleorton 2000 Committee (which later became the Coleorton Heritage Group) undertook the restoration of the building during the following year and the volunteers took the old bakehouse from a ruin to a viable structure. The bricks were reused as far as possible with additional bricks obtained from an old building being upgraded and from the old mine workings at the Swannington Mill site (Hough Mill).The timber was largely rotten and beyond recovery and new larch was used for the main purloins and wallplates. The door lintel was made from seasoned oak and the rafters were recycled from a building having a roof extension. The roof tiles were reused where possible but a substantial number of reclaimed rosemary tiles had to be incorporated. the old window frame was recovered from the ruin, restored and re-installed, although it was fitted a little further east to avoid the structure of the ovens.

The final tiles were fitted and mortared to the chimney on 2 December 2011. The window has been glazed and a walk-way made around the building using the remaining bricks. One of the ovens was essentially intact and only needs a cast-iron door. Some remedial work needs to be done to internal brickwork and once done this should to enable bread to be baked once more!

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