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Dundee University - The Urban Conservation Glossary
Category: Architecture and Buildings > Urban conservation
Date & country: 16/01/2008, UK
Words: 869

space within a roof. Can often be used in a combination to denote a function, ie pigeon loft, organ loft. A Laird's loft was a gallery reserved for the laird and his family in a church.

a gallery or room behind an open colonnade.

Long and short work
long stones on end between large flat stones, bonded into a wall.

a long building which accommodated people at one end and their livestock at the other. Once common throughout europe until medieval times, they survived longer in colder northern countries.

Lossan nail
(Scottish) a heavy diamond headed nail mainly used as studding on doors.

Loupin-on stane
(Scottish) small stone platform, usually three steps, from which a horse could be easily mounted.

treatment of overlapping boards angled to allow ventilation but to keep the rain out; used at belfry stages, persiennes, tanneries, barns etc.

small dormer in a spire or tower roof.

a secure booth erected in front of buildings from which goods were sold. These early shops and the timber galleries which often existed above them gradually became a permanent part of the building, part of the process we now call 'market colonisation'.

Lump sum
a fixed price for contract work, not intended to be adjusted in any way either by variation or remeasurement. A lump sum contract therefore is a contract for an agreed amount of work for a lump sum of money.

Lustre paper
a wallpaper where powdered paints are sprinkled onto glued patterns.

Lych Gate
gate structure, usually of timber with a roof and open sides, at the entry to a churchyard, and providing a resting place for coffins. (from lich, old English for a corpse)

Lying Panes
glass panes which are horizontally rather than vertically proportioned, fashionable in the period 1815-50. A lying panel is any timber panel fastened in such a way that the grain lies horizontally.

gallery or parapet projected on corbels with floor openings through which missiles can be dropped. Supposedly introduced to the west following the crusades. (Illustration)

the home or main farm on a larger estate.

continuous care of a building's fabric. Should be distinguished from repair which can embrace restoration or reconstruction.

a roof with a double slope in which the top part is shallower.

see stone. Marbling is the art of painting a material such as metal, stone or timber, to look like marble. The wide, thick brush used for either graining or marbling is known as a mottler.

tail area or tway (Scottish), the area of slate left exposed when laid on a roof. Slate Terminology Diagam

Margin draft
a border on the face of an ashlar block, usually the width of a chisel. The general assumption is that the border was left untooled to prevent the arris being chipped when the surface of the stone was tooled (see broached). Margin drafts have in fact a far more important purpose. When worki...

Margin Pane Glazing
glazing with narrow panes at the borders of the sash or light forming a margin to larger panes.

margins frame an opening or emphasise the angle of a building; most are raised (usually adopted when the building was to be harled but sometimes used decoratively) but some are chamfered and some are backset (ie recessed from the plane of the harl or render). (Illustration)

traditionally, a space set aside for the purpose of buying and selling. The market cross was the symbol of the right to trade. Market colonisation is the gradual intrusion of buildings onto the market square, most evident where a public building eg townhouse or tolbooth was...

Marriage lintel
door or window lintel carved with initials of husband and wife owner of house and a date presumably of their marriage.

one who cuts, carves, dresses and lays stone. Masonry is the work of a mason ie building in stone. The 'banker' mason carves stone on the bench, the 'hewer' gets stone out of the ground and dresses it, while the 'fixer' or 'setter' builds the finished work into position. Masons were the pre-...

Masonry bees
(Osmia rufa) small bees about the size of bluebottles which bore into stonework, claywall etc. Definitely becoming more common particularly in Scotland where they were once very rarely seen. They bore into softer stone and can break down the surface up to a depth of six ...

Mathamatical tiles - Brick tiles
a form of vertical hanging clay tile, used for cladding timber buildings to give the impression of brickwork. They were never subject to brick tax so were for a time, very popular. Confined mainly to the south of England, the effect can be very realistic, with the only clues to the pract...

a network of paths (as opposed to passages) laid out in a puzzling pattern (see Labyrinth).

Measured Survey
recording should be the first step in any conservation project, but despite representing one of the smallest investments in time and money, it seldom is. Throughout Victorian times, most drawings were produced to display an intention, while modern surveys are genera...

Mechanical or impact damage
damage caused by ill-considered actions as opposed to natural deterioration, eg scaffold poles damaging slates, wheels damaging walls etc.

a circular or oval plaque on a building.

Meeting rail
The meeting rail is the point where the top of the bottom sash meets the bottom of the upper sash, which are sometimes diagonally checked to prevent draughts. See Sash and case.

(Scottish) a heavy hammer.

the square space between triglyphs in a doric frieze. See Classical Architecture.

stabling, in an urban context, usually built behind large private houses, with living accommodation over.

an intermediate floor formed within a high floor to ceiling height.

Milled lead sheet
manufactured by passing lead through heavy rolling mills.

originally the church of a monastry, then became used to describe any large church. Best known example, York Minster. see church design

diagonal (45 degree) joint formed to accommodate the meeting of two members at right angles. More commonly used with reference to mouldings. A mason's mitre is formed when one moulding is turned to butt onto the other at 90 degrees , rather than cutting both members at the 45 degree angle ...

ditches filled with water which surrounded a property. These are not exclusive to castles; many manor houses and farms also had moats. Initially they were for defensive purposes but later were employed for privacy and to delineate a clear property boundary. They were often stocked with fis...

small bracket, sometimes scrolled, sometimes clock-like, set at regular intervals in the soffit of a cornice. In Classical Architecture, small brackets, usually in pairs, which supports the cornice of the corinthian and composite orders.

a self contained, organised religious community, and the communal buildings around which the life of the inhabitants revolves. see church design

a mixture traditionally including an aggregate, slacked lime or clay, any appropriate additive and water which is used for pointing and bedding masonry. In modern times, portland cement has been more widely used. A mixture rich in the cementing material is said to be 'fat'. Plasticisers a...

Morthouse - mortsafe - watch box
structure erected for the temporary security of the dead, until decomposition started and the body was in no danger of being stolen. They are also referred to as 'watch boxes'. A mortsafe was an iron grill placed over a grave for the same reason.

Mortice and tenon
joint where a projection, the tenon, fits into a socket, the mortice, also mortise. (Mortice is the verb, a morticed joint is one where two members are joined by a mortice and tennon). The tenon should never be more than one-third of the width of its member. A barefaced tenon has only one sh...

Mosaic - Tesserae
decorative treatment of wall or floors composed of small stones, glass etc known as tesserae, after the individual pieces, tessera.

a steep sided mound surmounted by a keep or other defendable structure which formed the central feature of early castles. See fortification

the profile given to a projection on a building such as a string course. There are any number of profiles most of which are self explanatory. Best known are - Bird's beak; Bead and reel; Cable, (like a rope); Cavetto, (a moulding with a concave profile describing a quater of a circle); Chev...

an artificial hill or mound. In Tudor times these were designed to act in lieu of a watch tower. It was found that they also afforded picturesque views across the garden, particularly the intricate elements such as the knot gardens, and also over the parkland as a whole. Banqueting houses...

Mullion - munnion
upright member dividing the lights of a window. 'Munnion', is a corruption of mullion.

vertical central part of the door between panels.

Mural monument
a memorial on a graveyard or church wall, often containing a wealth of architectural detail.

a mass of hyphae. See Dry Rot/Wet Rot.

Nail sickness
failure of the nails holding slates in place due to rusting, hence, copper nails are now widely specified.

one of the most important uses that have been made of metal. Traditionally they were turned out by the smiths, and then as demand grew, nail factories appeared, but the nails they produced were still mainly hand wrought and were usually square or rectangular ie 'flat nails'. The early machine ...

National Heritage Memorial Fund
formed 1980, gives financial assistance, usually as a last resort, towards the cost of acquiring, preserving and maintaining objects of national interest. They were often very imaginative in their offers, in addition to buildings they helped to acquire for the na...

National Park
came into being in 1935. There are now 11 in England and Wales, none yet in Scotland (but probably 2 soon). No direct remit to preserve buildings, but implies care of those buildings which are an established part of the character of the area eg stone barns in the Peak District.

a term often used by archaeologists as shorthand for 'undisturbed natural deposits' as distinct from deposits which have been built up or altered by human activity.

the western limb of a church, where the congregation meets.

a narrow moulding between the base and shaft of a column. See Classical Architecture.

Needle Gun
a drill with a cluster of needles, used for dressing back stonework. Very severe, even in the hands of a skilled operator.

timber or metal spars which are passed through a wall and supported at each end, to support the mass of material above any repair which might be necessary, or above any new opening while it is being formed.

Nepus - Tympan gable
(Scottish) a small gablet (sometimes referred to as a tympan, see Tympanum) centred on the front elevation where it gives an impression of height and added importance to the building and it gives added attic space. Some have windows, and most have chimney stacks. There are ...

Newel - Monkey twist - Monkey tail
the newel is the central post supporting a spiral stair, also the main posts at the beginning and end of a flight of stairs, carrying the handrail. Quite often, the end post is given a twist, much like a barley sugar, known as a monkey twist, while the downward scroll often found at the...

a nog was always a wooden brick, but the term is now frequently used to describe any small piece of wood. Nogging is the infilling between timber frames, in brick, either in horizontal bonds, chevron or herring-bone patterns, but the term is now often used to describe any material used for ...

Nominated suppliers
usually supliers of goods not widely available such as some traditional building materials or a particular brand of, for example, paint which the architect considers is the most suitable for the particular job. see contract.

Nose - Nosing
the projecting edge of a tread. A step with a round nose is sometimes referred to as bottle-nosed. See stair.

Oast House
kiln for drying hops or malt, characterised by circular plan, conical roof and large wig-wam type vents. A feature of the Kent countryside, they are much sought after for conversion to housing. (Illustration) Term submitted by Kathleen Greene - original submission.

Oast House Illustration
Oast Houses converted to residential use, still significant landmarks in the kent countryside.

tall, square sided pillars which taper to a point, erected for commemorative or memorial reasons, sometimes quite trivial such as the death of a dog or horse. (Illustration) - Wade Bridge at Aberfeldy (detail).

small circular panels or windows.

Offertory House
small sentry box-like structure erected at churchyard gate to receive the church collection.

a double curve shape composed of two curves in opposite directions (concave to convex) without a break; used on both roofs and arches and as a profile on mouldings.

On costs
costs of establishing a presence on site, site huts etc.

Optical square
a double prism used for setting out survey lines at right angles. It allows you to view an object straight ahead and another perpendicular to it. See Measured Survey.

the forerunner to the greenhouse, these were large, solid, masonry buildings with a high proportion of glass, which were heated in order to house fruiting orange trees over the winter. Oranges were the first exotic fruit to be intensively cultivated in this way in Britain (see Conservat...

Orchard Houses
heated 'houses', somewhat like orangeries, used to force fruit trees and vines into early production, partly to relieve the boredom of the winter diet and partly to impress guests (Conservatories, Greenhouses, Stovehouses).

Ordnance Survey
formed in 1791 to undertake the first accurate national topographic survey of Britain. The work was carried out by The Honourable Board of Ordnance, part of the war office who were responsible for artillery, and therefore employed engineers - hence the name. They have provided accurate map co...

a bay window which projects from an upper floor only, normally carried on corbels.

properly used, ormolu is an alloy of copper, tin and zinc, which once gilded, was used for frames and furniture decoration, but the term also refers to the gilding of bronze or brass which was used extensively in Georgian and early Victorian interior decoration. Chandeliers are probably the...

Outline consent
a form of planning consent designed to test the principle of whether or not a development is acceptable. The planning authority can request any level of detail they think is necessary to reach a decision, although usually, only a minimal amount of information is supplied. ...

the overlapping edge of a lead sheet.

not actually a door, but is the name given to any pedimented feature above a doorway.

where a roof projects over the wallhead or skews. Sometimes used to describe the situation where one course, either brick or stone projects beyond the course below, which should be properly referred to as corbelling.

a convex moulding profile forming a quarter of a circle, sometimes called a quarter round.

a garden house of Chinese design introduced into C18th gardens and landscapes for additional variety and to stimulate an emotional response through the interesting juxtaposition of such a feature in the British landscape (see Conceits, Garden Houses).

paint decoration has a long history stretching from cave dwelling to the present. Materials have varied over the centuries, but in more recent times, there have been three main products, water based paints or distempers, oil based paints and varnishes. To colour usually refers to use of distem...

from Latin Palatium. In simple terms, a building with the rooms arranged horizontally, ie for gracious living, rather than vertically, for defence.

Pale - Palisade
a vertical stake. A palisade is a fence or obstacle of some kind of wooden stakes or pales, which could be used defensively. Someone not allowed within the defensive circle for any reason was 'beyond the pale.'

architecture which follows the ideas and principals of Andrea Palladio 1508-80, who started life as a stonemason, and arguably, became the most famous architect in the western world. Basically, he adapted classical Roman architecture to suit the needs of the buildings of h...

in building, strips of timber built into walls so that other timbers eg battens can be easily fixed, usually by nailing.

a sunken section of door, wainscotting etc, usually a plain square or rectangle. Panel mouldings are the mouldings holding the panel in place. If they are formed as part of a stile or rail, they are termed 'moulding out of stile', if they fit flush with the surface of the rail or stile, the...

a roofing tile, traditionally clay, with a pronounced s-shaped section, in which the downturn of one hooks over the upturn of its neighbour - because there is no overlap, a pantiled roof is lighter than a tiled roof. They are found in most areas where there are clay deposits. Attempts have b...

Papier mache
a paper pulp which contains a size which makes it harden to the extent that it is often used in decoration instead of plaster or wood.

the upstand of a wall above another structure, such as a roof or terrace.

Pargeting - Comb work
originally a course plaster, now taken to refer to decorative plaster design either in relief or incised, applied to the exterior of buildings, usually to timber frames. Can also refer to an internal finish applied to masonry flues. Incising is easier and is often referred to as 'comb work'...

a district supporting its own established church and minister. Parish records are an invaluable archive source. The National Statistical Account is based on parish records, and the statutory lists are still compiled on the basis of parish boundaries. see heritors

formal garden laid out on a flat terrace, usually at the front of a house so that it is overlooked by the principle rooms on the first floor (parterre = on the ground). The intricate designs are usually picked out using low growing clipped shrubs, but some were devoid of plant material, the...

a design incorporating copies of styles, or in imitation of its neighbours. Generally used derogatively to describe a copy that doesn't work.

Patent slating
is large slates laid with no lap, where the joints are mortared and covered with slate fillets. More usually seen where stone slates are used.