Dee cottages

Dee cottages

A tightly grouped housing development, less than 500m from the south bank of the Dee estuary, Dee Cottages is an early example of corporate involvement in housing design directly associated with the arrival of the Courtaulds company during the closing years of the First World War. 

Then one of the preeminent names in British textile manufacture, the company made Flint home to one of its principal rayon manufacturing plants, and in 1918 began construction of Dee cottages to provide accommodation for employees and their families. Part of the Chester Street character area spanning the main road east of the town, this distinctive series of 42, markedly uniform, two-bedroom terraced cottages is today managed by Flintshire County Council, providing safe and secure supported housing to enable older and vulnerable people to live independently within their own homes.

The challenge 

Terraces of worker's houses are characteristic of industrial expansion in towns across Britain during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. In Flint, local brickworks played an important role in this development with the result that extensive use of exposed brickwork in the surviving architecture of this period serves as both a product of, and a testament to, the town's industrial heritage.

With the Dee Cottages development constituting an important element of Flintshire County Council's Townscape Heritage Initiative, it was key that any renovation preserved the vernacular architectural tradition that helped to define these buildings so clearly within the historic landscape.

As well as preserving the distinctive architectural character of these historic properties and maintaining and strengthening the community identities that have developed around them, it was important to simultaneously ensure their sustainable management and performance in line with modern building regulations.

The background

A tightly grouped housing development, less than 500m from the south bank of the Dee estuary, Dee Cottages is an early example of corporate involvement in housing design directly associated with the arrival of the Courtaulds company during the closing years of the First World War. Then one of the preeminent names in British textile manufacture, the company made Flint home to one of its principal rayon manufacturing plants, and in 1918 began construction of Dee cottages to provide accommodation for employees and their families. Part of the Chester Street character area spanning the main road east of the town, this distinctive series of 42, markedly uniform, two-bedroom terraced cottages is today managed by Flintshire County Council, providing safe and secure supported housing to enable older and vulnerable people to live independently within their own homes.

ROCKWOOL Solution

Flintshire County Council chose to utilise Ibstock and ROCKWOOL's BrickShield® System, an external cladding solution that combines highly durable ROCKWOOL insulation boards and Ibstock Natural Clay Brick Slips.

The use of Priory Weathered Red slips in an English Garden Wall bond with a dark mortar ensured a pleasing external appearance, sympathetic to the industrial vernacular character of Dee Cottages and nearby Henry Taylor Street. Complimenting the tonal range of the primary brick finish, Staffordshire Blue Brindle Smooth slips were used to great effect in the construction of a low damp proof course and in the restoration and enhancement of original polychrome decorative elements within areas of otherwise plain brickwork, including diaper work along the frontage and gable end walls and as a series of header courses framing the doorway.

Use of the BrickShield® System resulted in minimal disruption to vulnerable residents during installation, while providing a highly durable and cost-effective renovation solution. The choice of Ibstock Brick Slip hues ensured a contextually sensitive restoration to this remarkable small planned housing development. The performance qualities of both ROCKWOOL boards and Ibstock Brick Slips improved both thermal and acoustic insulation, resulting in an improved living standard for residents and a reduction in energy costs for the local authority.

The project was funded and project managed by Wales Community CIC Ltd.

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