Diamond cutting tools held at customs for two days. Brick acid being couriered overnight from the Midlands. All of this sounds like it could be the beginning of a crime novel or something which would make MI5 sit up and worry! However, the reality has a more down to earth story to it; Restoring the original features to a local landmark building.
Freedom Works, operator of the ‘Creative Hub’ co working space based in the iconic Dubarry Perfumery in Hove opened a whole ‘can of worms’ when re-developing a basement to create brand new TV edit suites to be opened later this month by local post production company, Virtual Post Productions.
During the refurbishment of the basement the Freedom Works team discovered the original flagstones of the factory floor. “The flagstones were a real surprise” commented Jon Trigg, Founder and Managing Director of Freedom Works. “Having grown up in Hove, the Dubarry building is a real icon. Everyone knows it, so from our point of view we have always wanted to create a workspace and working environment which enhanced the original features of this wonderful old factory building, which dates back to the 1920’s. So, finding the flagstones was a real surprise” goes on Trigg.
If only it was as easy as unearthing the flagstones the story would have ended there. But, despite several days of manual labour trying to remove carpet tiles, underlay and adhesives which had been there for over 60 years the team were no nearer exposing the original features of the building.
“The easy option would have been to put floor covering on - but, we really wanted to use all features of the original building for the edit suites, and the flagstones became key to what we believe will be the coolest studios in the Brighton area whilst restoring a local landmark” adds Trigg.
But, the years of neglect and layer upon layer of flooring had taken its toll. The team were just about to give up when they came across local stone restoration expert Peter Forsythe.
“I could immediately see the potential when I first saw the flagstones peering through the adhesive, you could really see the history of this grand old building and the stories she holds”, mentioned Forsythe, whose company Tile Design and Restoration specialise in cleaning stone and tilework. “That said, the job quickly became a labour of love as years and years of layering flooring and skree on top of the original flagstones had made it a nightmare to get to the original flagstones” added Forsythe.
Despite the the uneconomical route of pursuing the restoration the team carried on and amazingly two weeks later, after unearthing the original flagstones, hundreds of man hours of scraping and head scratching, flying in diamond blades from Italy, negotiating customs and courier in rare brick acid - the team finally brought the floor of the iconic landmark next to Hove station back to life.
“Over budget, delayed in finishing the job and lots of moments of wanting to throw the towel in…...would we do it again?” questions Trigg. “Absolutely! It’s been fantastic where local tradespeople have restored a beloved local landmark for a local business for the benefit of the community” he concludes.
Freedom Works, established in 2016, are a local co-working business with workspaces in Worthing and Hove being used by 500 companies and freelancers , and plans to open several more spaces across Sussex over the next 2-3 years. http://www.freedomworks.space/
Virtual Post Production is a post production and content company offering content management and editing services to TV production companies throughout the UK. With studios in London the VP @ Freedom Works will be their first physical base in Brighton & Hove to grow for the growing demand of TV Production companies in the town https://virtualpostproduction.com
Tile Design and Restoration are Shoreham based business who specialise in cleaning and restoring tiles, marbles and stone. https://www.tdr1.co.uk/