When Rob MacFarlane and Jackie Morris wrote their acclaimed book, The Lost Words, they were trying to raise awareness of terms relating to the natural world that were going out of circulation. Inspired by this concept some of our office team have put together a short list of some of the lesser-known terms that are used in our reports from time to time. Some of them make the team smile and others just sound great!
Where a wall is abutting or abuts another, it adjoins it or is next to it.
A water butt is a large container used to store water. (This is often rainwater that is used to water plants during dry spells). Sometimes water butts can be connected to guttering to collect the water during heavy rain fall. With the focus on saving water and using natural options, water butts connected to rainwater down-pipes have once again become so popular.
A dumbwaiter is a rather elegant, small lift that is used to convey food from the kitchen up to the dining room where the dining room is on a different level. These are particularly popular in older multi-storey properties.
A bressummer is an architectural term which refers to a large, horizontal supporting beam. It bears the weight of the main external elevation wall above it and is common where there is a bay construction at ground floor level but not above at 1st / 2nd floor levels.
A hopper head is a funnel shaped chamber from which grain or other materials can be discharged into a receptacle below. They sit on top of downpipes and increase the capacity of the downpipe.
Bed in glass tell tale
A tell-tale is a sliding scale that is fixed to a wall over a crack and is used to monitor movement. Although there are plastic versions which measure the movement, a “bed in glass tell-tale” is embedded into the wall and cracks if there is movement.
Powder Post refers to a group of 70 wood boring beetles which derive their name from the powder that they produce when boring into timber. This insect tends to affect timber whilst it is in the stockyard.
Anodised screws are treated with an electrolytic process that makes them more resistant to corrosion and damage from wear and tear. Anodisation also improves adhesion when paint is used on the surface of the screws.
Bungaroosh can also be spelt Bungeroosh, Bungarouche, Bungarooge, Bunglarooge and Bunglarouge. It refers to a composite building material that is used almost exclusively in Brighton within buildings dated from the mid-18th to late 19th centuries. It tends to be used on the external walls. Wall substrates being made up of broken bricks, cobblestones, wood, pebbles and sand into hydraulic lime, pouring it into shuttering and then structural fittings such as piers or lintels could be added for support.
This is something which tends to affect London stock bricks – particularly red stock bricks, which are a soft brick. Spalling of the bricks occurs when the surface of the brick has absorbed a lot of moisture over a period of time, which then freezes and as a result, expands. This causes the face of the bricks to break away, leaving an uneven and damaged surface, which can deteriorate further, as the surface which is left is even more porous.
Stretchers, headers, soldiers and perp ends
These are terms used for bricks and bricklaying. A stretcher is the long side of a brick, and a header refers to the end of the brick. Typically, a cavity constructed wall will be built with overlapping stretcher courses. A Victorian house, with solid walls, will be built with a mixture of stretchers and headers. Soldiers are bricks on end, which can typically be seen to create an arch over a door, or window opening. Perp ends are the vertical mortar courses between the bricks.
The springer line is often referred to in connection with arched vaults. The springer is the point where the arch commences, above the vertical wall line.
If you would like to learn more about building terms you can check out our glossary here: