Castle Banks in Lewes, East Sussex, is a narrow lane twisting up towards the town’s celebrated 13th century castle. The street is lined with small town houses of varying sizes, dating mostly from the 1600s to the mid-1800s, with several being Grade II listed.
In 2015, Castle Banks caught the eye of heritage project manager, Susan Browne, as being both charming and unspoiled. Over the years, all the houses had retained their original features or benefited from sympathetic renovation except one. This remaining property, a detached cottage built in the 1830s, with inappropriate windows and plastic drainpipes, was conveniently for sale. Recognising its potential, Susan bought the house and set about planning a partial refurbishment. When her partner, Louis, joined her at the property, it was clear the couple were going to need more space.
Under the guidance of a local conservation surveyor and architect, planning permission was sought to extend the house over its existing footprint with a more appealing and symmetrical frontage. The building was unlisted but nevertheless prominent in the Conservation Area so appropriate materials were essential, including reclaimed local flint and bricks, lime mortar, and timber windows.
“From the start, our architect had suggested using J & JW Longbottom cast iron rainwater goods,” says Susan. “He told me that in a situation such as ours, specifying high-quality traditional items especially where they’d be publicly visible, could be looked upon favourably by a planning department.” The whole scheme quickly gained a positive response from the local conservation officer and planning permission was granted.
Work began, but the refurbishment suffered many gaps where nothing was happening. “The original builder left, and I ended up running much of the job myself, using individual tradespeople and buying all the materials.” Overwhelmed by the choices available and having no technical knowledge, she decided to contact us directly for advice on suitable rainwater goods.
“Using the surveyor’s spec and a list drawn up by the builder, I studied the catalogue online and was able to discuss our options directly with the team at Longbottom who were very helpful with advice before I placed my order.”
The renovation on Castle Banks is now complete and Susan and Louis are enjoying their much-improved, larger home.
“The house gains many compliments and the details have made much of the difference. The cast iron guttering, drainpipes and hopper heads are seriously high-grade stuff! They not only look good but are doing their job handsomely too. I would certainly recommend J & JW Longbottom for authentic, traditional, and reliable rainwater goods. I love the catalogue too, especially the hopper head drawings!”