From the outset it was decided that the project would be an exercise in authenticity. Consequently the building was approached as a historical relic and each stage of the project was studied and documented. While the building was still “in situ”, a complete photographic record was made, detailed measurements were taken and all the woodwork was coded. Interior and exterior plaster was removed, and the sequence of construction and alteration was worked out.
Zanddrift had been constructed on a slate-and-clay foundation, but the reconstruction allowed for a metre-deep concrete foundation to be laid first. A damp course separates it and the traditional one and this has proved most advantage in controlling rising damp in the clay walls.
The walls are clay and were cast in a kind of shuttering. The original material for the walls was transported to the museum and re-trodden before it was used again. The walls were surfaced with a mixture of clay, earth and dung and coated with traditional white lime wash.
The original doors, windows, beams, lintels and sills were retained wherever possible and installed back in their original positions. Replicas were made of all metal work. The garden was kept the same and cuttings of the original plants were made and used.
By reconstructing Zanddrift the museum achieved:
- The building was saved from inevitable ruin
- The building now functions and serves as an exhibition piece in its own right.
- The building provides additional accommodation for the museum and it can be used for whatever the need may be.
It served as the administrative centre for the museum for several years and in 1987 was converted into a restaurant. The building’s charming character and position are ideally suited to this function and the restaurant has proved a great asset to the museum.