Oakwrights & The Old Livestock Market Development, Hereford City, Herefordshire
‘The Hereford’ is one of the UK’s oldest native cattle breeds, originating in the county of Herefordshire around the mid 1700’s. The meat prized by many as being the best beef in the world began export from Hereford Livestock Market in 1817. Starting with trade to Kentucky, it quickly spread across the USA and Canada and then through to Mexico to the great beef-raising countries of South America.
The breed found great popularity among ranchers of the American South West due to their hardiness in tough conditions; while originating in cool, moist Britain, they have proven to thrive in much harsher climates on nearly every continent. Today more than 5 million pedigree Hereford cattle exist in over 50 countries.
Trade from the original cattle market in Hereford continued from the centre of the City until 2001 when sadly, as a result of the foot and mouth disease outbreak, trade saw a marked reduction. Established by An Act of Parliament a market had to be provided for the city in some form and so a new Bill was introduced in 2003 to move the site to the northern outskirts of the city. The inner city site would then be available for redevelopment, a long overdue process that is now in full flow.
Hereford Cattle Market circa 1929
Herefordshire is also famous for its traditional timber frame buildings, with the stunningly preserved Old House in the centre of the city being a significant landmark. A Jacobean timber frame built in 1621, it is the only remaining house (now a museum) on what was Butchers Row, a small terrace of similar buildings. This is a fine example of Oak frame construction and it is this building that was repaired and restored by (amongst others) Oakwrights Managing Director, Tim Crump, during extensive repair work in 1996.
Hereford Old House in the city centre
Recognition of this local tradition had to be considered by Stanhope within their design for development of the Old Livestock Market site. With planning permission granted in 2011 it came in the form of Pavillion One, the key building standing at the entrance to the site at Widemarsh Gate. Visitors to this building, which will open as a coffee house in spring 2014, will have the pleasure of views of both old and new Hereford architecture. Large format seamless glazing and rendered panels, edged with steel trim, sit alongside traditional Oak framing. Accentuated by the use of thick oak cover boards this helps to define lines between different materials and creates bold shadow lines around the whole building. This building stands out from its surroundings with a design doffing its cap to both modern and traditional building techniques.
The Old Livestock Market frame being planed by hand in Oakwrights framing workshop
Oakwrights were appointed to join the design collaboration team of Allies & Morrison Architects and Sir Robert McAlpine. As a local commercial project, Oakwrights took on both the design and build of what is an immensely substantial oak frame that stands tall within its space and is constructed in a traditional yet modern manner. Such a development brings with it many new jobs and attracts a younger generation to the small city of Hereford and so many within the company were excited to be a part of it.
The Pavilion One standing on the right hand side
The design phase was very intense with the looming Spring 2014 opening date, but was completed almost seamlessly with the significant input of Oakwrights timber build experience. The design evolved over a number of months and the offsite construction began at the Oakwrights workshops in October 2013. Pavilion One is a building of particular importance to the scheme and this is emphasised with the use of quality finishes to stand out from the other buildings. The future coffee house takes its grand aesthetic resemblance from the historic market hall that once stood in the centre of High Town replicating its magnificence and colonnaded undercroft.
(Additional content kindly supplied by Tim Griffiths, Oakwrights Senior Frame Designer)