From this ……
hard to make out but I removed blocks etc to see what was salvageable, all the old bricks were beyond redemption and crumbled to dust. Inside the wall were two side by side chimneys for the downstairs fireplaces. As I have decided to put a stairs on the other side it then left me with the simpler task of just rebuilding one within that space.
I wanted to key into the stone built wall itself so that the bricks would be better supported but if it doesn’t move don’t try to move it is my new philosophy. In the above picture you can see I have put in distinctive bricks on a flat steel lintel; starting with them laid as upright and angled to spread the weight out and thereafter on the flat up to the ceiling level. I was able to get reclaimed bricks for the side of the op and as you can see it merges well with the wall.
Having removed effectively the centre of the wall I was facing a bit by bit rebuild as the wall doesn’t have a foundation and in the room above me was even more unstable wall where the fireplace upstairs was. When a wall such as this has had 150 years of fires in its fireplaces the mortar goes to a very fine dust and once a key stone or brick is moved can bring down a whole lot of the wall with it – that is what happened initially. So I started at the bottom building up the wall and only took out bricks or stone about 1 foot at a time, using 3.5 NHL lime mortar with graded sand or as they say here – gravel – very confusing.
rear view of wall , note the old blackened bricks seen from the other room as part of the chimney wall is gone – at this stage I was starting to rebuild the base of the wall.
To the left of this picture is the load-bearing block wall at the back of the chimney wall; it is not connected in anyway to the original wall but carries the RSJ for the room above and will receive the stairs which will be rising across this pic to upstairs right to left.
I had no experience of working with such as I thought were heavy steels (I have got over that now and realise this isn’t big at all; in fact it was simple and only took two people to put in place).
If I were to do it again I would set the wood inside the lip on the RSJ; it would be neater and give me more headroom going up the stairs. However I intend to clad it with wood so that it looks like a solid beam and maybe that would be more in keeping with the buildings character.