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Dundee University - The Urban Conservation Glossary
Category: Architecture and Buildings > Urban conservation
Date & country: 16/01/2008, UK
Words: 876


Shelter coat
a coating, usually of limewash or render, to protect the underlying structure or fabric from the elements. see sacrificial

Shingle
a wooden tile which has been used for roofing for several thousand years. Used in exactly the same way as clay/concrete tiles, traditionally in Britain they were oak, now mostly Canadian cedar. Soft woods have been used, and continue to be used in parts of the world, where they are usually c...

Shopfronts
contribute enormously to the fabric of urban areas. They frequently provide welcome colour and texture, and while they can be of considerable interest in their own right, they should also form part of a harmonious frontage. Frequent changes in retailing and turnover in ownerships means that th...

Shoring
shoring is temporary support, traditionally in timber, now often in steel, which acts in the same way as a buttress. There are three basic types, a 'dead shore' which is a vertical post used to support a beam; a 'flying shore' is a brace fixed above ground level between the wall of buildin...

Shouldering
– the practice of rounding the top corners of a slate which meant that an uneven slate would sit better but, more importantly, shouldering and single nailing also allows a slate to be swung aside to expose the nail head of the slate below so that it can easily be re-nailed in the event of it h...

Sibert decay drill
a drill which responds to the resistance in a piece of timber thereby allowing the user to build up a profile of the decay in a piece of timber, ie what's rotten, and what's not.

Side lap
the distance between the edge of a slate and the edge of the slate it part covers in the preceeding course. Slate Terminology Diagam

Sill-Cill
horizontal member at the base of a window opening or door frame, usually projecting to throw water from the face of the building. A reprise (Scottish) is a pad worked into a cill to take the foot of a mullion.

Silviculture
the branch of forestry concerned with the cultivation of trees.

Sites and Monuments Record (SMR)
the SMR is a comprhensive list compiled by local authorities of known archaeoligical sites in their areas. The duty to compile an SMR is to an extent discretionary, and to date English local authorities have been far more rigorous in compiling them than - with one or two exceptions - their Sc...

Skew - Skewputt
(Scottish) the sloping tabling which caps a gable and is upstanding above the plane of the roof. The skew end is the larger, usually square bottom stone of a skew, which holds the sloping stones in place. The skew end does not project over the wallhead, unlike a skewputt (also commonly ...

Slaistering
(Scottish) a sort of semi harl where mortar was buttered over walls to create a reasonably smooth face, leaving stones exposed. A practice which is disasterous if the mortar is harder than the stone.

Slaked lime
Ca (OH)2 calcium hydroxide made from quicklime, mixed or slaked with water. May be in form of putty or dry powder if slaked with a minimum of water. See lime.

Slapping
knocking a hole through a wall to form an opening for a door, window etc.

Slate
slate is a dense rock which is formed from fine grained clays or muds which have been subjected to a metamorphic process involving heat and pressure during which cleavage planes are formed which differ from the original bedding. It readily splits into thin smooth plates. The word slate has now be...

Slate-and-a-half
a slate, positioned at the end of a course where it meets a hip or valley, that is at least 1.5 time the with of other slates in the course. Used to prevent water ingress.

Slurry
a reasonably thick, but very liquid, mortar mix.

Snagging
the term used to describe unsatisfactory work or small items of work still to be completed which are discussed/discovered during final site inspections. see contract.

Snecked
form of rubble construction composed of squared stones in which the coursing is varied by small filler stones or snecks.

Soaker
a short flashing stepped horizontally, to coincide with individual stones or bricks. Most commonly found on chimney stacks.

Soffit
the underside or lining beneath a beam, or lintel, or of any projection from the face of a building, eg a portico or stair stair or overhanging roof. The under side of an arch should properly be referred to as an intrados.

Solar
a secluded sitting room usually on an upper floor in a medieval, Tudor or Elizabethan house. They were specifically designed to give relief to the owner and his family from the turmoil of communal life, and are generally characterised by private stairs.

Soldier course
a course of bricks laid with the long sides upright.

Solum
basically, a piece of ground. Usually taken to mean the area of ground covered by a building.

Souterrain
stone lined underground passage, usually leading to a chamber.

Spalling
a general term applied to stonework on which the outer face is peeling off. A spall is a small piece of stone. (Illustration) see contour scaling.

Spalling Illustration
Spalling stonework - due to face bedding. Note the loss of broaching from the face of the stone.

Span
distance between vertical face of abutments or supports. See arch. (Illustration)

Spandrel
the triangular shape contained by the side of an arch, a horizontal line drawn through its crown, and a vertical line on the end of the span. (Illustration)

Spandrel panel
see arch. A spandrel panel is a decorative panel, usually triangular fitted into the corner formed where a vertical meets a horizontal member. Common in cast iron work eg bandstands.

Spar
giant staples of split hazel or willow thrust either straight into the thatch to secure it, or alternatively, used to secure liggers.

Specials
bricks which have to be specially made for a specific purpose such as a particular shape of cope.

Specification
a description of work to be undertaken, including methods of completion and materials to be used.

Spike
A spike is simply a large nail.

Sporophore
fruiting body of a fungus. Rarely seen in wet rot, often evident in dry rot where it can be a metre in diameter. See Dry rot/Wet Rot.

Sprag
slang term for a nail.

Sprig
a small nail with no head, used for example for holding glazing beads in place.

Springer - Skew backs
horizontal voussoir at start of an arch, also known as 'skew backs.' (Illustration)

Springing line
level at which the arch springs from its support.

Sprocket - Cocking pieces
a short timber placed at the foot of a rafter to project over the wall head. See roof.

Squinch
an arch which spans the angle formed by two walls meeting. Usually to carry a dome, a form which evolved into the pendentive. (Illustration)

Staddle Stone Illustration
Staddle Stones supporting a gamelarder. (Detail)

Staddle stones
mushroom shaped stones often found supporting granaries, game larders etc, anywhere where vermin are unwelcome. (Illustration)

Stained glass
there are two basic types of stained glass, pot metal glass in which the glass is given colour in its molten state, and flashed glass in which colour is applied.

Stair
stairs have existed as long as architecture. Primarily utilitarian and often designed with defence in mind, they became grander from 1500 onwards as houses were able to accommodate larger constructions. Glossary Curtail - a bottom stair, longer than the rest, to support a newel...

Stake and Rice
(Scottish) in vernacular architecture wattle or interwoven stick construction, can be coated in clay mixed with straw (see wattle and daub)

Stall Riser - Undercill
an important element in a shopfront, being the panels below the cill. Sometimes referred to as an undercill.

Statutory consultees
organisations which planning authorities must consult with over applications for listed building consent. There are a considerable number of such bodies in England eg Georgian and Victorian Societies. In Scotland there are fewer, instead all applications for list...

Steading
a group of agricultural buildings.

Stelar vault
a name given to vault where the ribs converge in star - like patterns

Stock brick
a brick, hand made, using a stock mould. Later came to mean a large number (stock) of bricks all manufactured in the one locality, ie London stock brick.

Stone-stonework
one of the earliest and the best of all building materials, durable and much imitated in other materials, it can be worked to achieve great artistic quality, and used for floors, walls and roofs. Stone is something which can be reasonably easily handled, rock is a large mass of stone. There ar...

Stonecleaning
one of the most traumatic events in the history of any building, it should now be accepted that, certainly in respect of sandstone, there is no such thing as a safe method and all of them depend very much on the skill of the operater. Different technologies are appearing all the time for exam...

Storey posts
the posts used to carry floors in warehouses and mills. The term seems to be more commonly applied to cast iron columns than timber posts.

Stove Houses
tropical greenhouses, heated by hot water, steam or hot air (see Conservatory, Greenhouse, Ferneries, Orangery, Orchard House).

Strapwork
decoration, usually on stonework, resembling interlaced leather straps.

Stratigraphy
in archaeology, the study of the sequence of deposits and features eg floors, pits, middens etc produced by human activity, and their relation to one another which shows how the site has been used and occupied over time. Objects which are found in this sequence are stratified and can be rela...

Streaky bacon
a highly descriptive term originating in Holland for mixing courses of brickwork with courses of limestone.

Stretcher
a brick laid with its long side to the face of the wall.

String
the supports for the steps. See stair.

String Course
a shallow moulding continued across a whole facade which may be defined by its position eg cill or impost course. (Illustration) (Illustration in context)

Stucco
originally an Italian plaster composed of gypsum, lime and some powdered marble. Slow setting and therefore easy to work, it sets very hard. During the 18th century, improvements were made to the mixture to allow it to be used on the exterior of buildings, latterly in imitation of stone. ...

Stud
any vertical timber in a timber-framed wall or cross frame other than the main or intermediate posts.

Stugged - nidged - pinged
of masonry stonework picked to a consistent pattern, commonly employed from the mid 19th century onwards - a process which attracts many different names, in Scotland, 'nidged' and 'pinged' are quite common.

Style
vertical members at each side of a panelled door, ie hanging style and shutting style.

Stylobate
the top step of the crepidoma. See Classical Architecture.

Sub-contractor
persons employed to undertake specialist work beyond the capacity or capabilities of the main contractor. Domestic SCs are employed directly by the main contractor. Named SCs are on lists of firms specified by the client or his architect, and thereafter approached by whoever is tendering for...

Sub-tropical Gardens
gardens laid out in sheltered, frost free sites, usually on the west coast of Britain or Ireland, where sub-tropical plants can be grown outside.

Sublime
a term used to describe the intense emotional effect the designer intended to be felt by the viewer when looking at a particular vista or section of the garden; sometimes only at a specific time of year, or under particular weather conditions. Usually associated with the Picturesque Gardens....

Substrate
the material on which the lead is laid. (Lead deteriorates markedly on its underside from condensation, so the composition of the substrate is very important)

Sundials, Gnomon
A sundial works by using an indicator called a gnomon to cast a shadow onto a graduated surface. The origins of this system can be traced back to before the first century BC. Sundials were extremely important for over 1000 years until clocks and watches became accurate and freely available. ...

Sunken Garden
an area of the garden recessed into the ground to create a secluded atmosphere or facilitate a view down onto a feature such as a knot garden .

Sustainability
developing to meet present needs, without affecting the ability of future generations to develop to meet their own needs. Now used as a very relevant and occasionally telling argument for the retention of buildings.

Swept - catslide Dormer
one formed by sweeping a section of the roof up from the main plane at a slacker pitch; also known as catslide dormer.

Swept Valley
one formed by curved slating, tiling or stone rather than by a lead or zinc flashing.

Symmetry
symmetry occurs when a building can be split into two mirrored parts.

Table stone
a graveyard monument where a slab is supported on stone posts, often carved.

Tabling
a flat coping usually refers to stones at the wallhead or gable of a building as opposed to a freestanding wall.

Tack Room
in a stable, the room in which the riding harness is kept.

Tail
the end of a stone built into a wall. The tail-weight is the weight pressing down on the tail, keeping it in place. - the leading edge of a slate. Slate Terminology Diagam

Tail-weight
the weight pressing down on the end of a stone or tail, keeping it in place.

Tamp (Tamping)
to compact a material, ie mortar in a joint.

Tanking
a waterproof skin applied to the walls and floors of basements to prevent the penetration of groundwater.

Tempera
a paint made from egg whites, glue, pigments and water.

Temple
building for worship.

Tender
a contractors formal offer to undertake work, which ideally should be based on a bill of quantities. see contract.

Terra Cotta
unglazed or glazed fired clay, usually red in colour, used in late Victorian and Edwardian building where repetitive moulded decorative detail was required, as for example in brattishing or chimney pots.

Terrace
a flat paved area next to the house, usually raised above the level of the garden below, down to which one descends via sets of steps. A terrace acts as an interface between the house and the garden.

Terraced Garden
a steep garden site which has been carved into flat levels that can be planted up. The levels are connected by stairs and often these gardens also incorporated ornate balustrades, railings, waterfalls and parterres.

Terrarium
small glazed enclosure containing growing plants.

Terrazzo
a hard finish for floors, consisting of marble chips, set in cement then polished.

Thackstane
a stone projection at the base of a chimney stack. Usually assumed to act as a protection for the edge of thatch, now, the reduced depth of slate or tile leaves them standing proud. The term 'thacked in slate' occurs frequently enough to suggest that they didn't only cover thatch.

Thatch
originally the term applied to any kind of roofing but now it applies exclusively to the use of vegetation, mainly reed, straw, and rushes. Historically, there was considerable regional variation, with almost anything locally available being used, bracken, seaweed, bark, even potato shaws; h...

The Steinberg Principle
For a long time a great deal of essentially mediocre development took place in conservation areas, on the basis that it did no real harm (Unfortunately, it still happens). A case in 1989, Steinberg vs Secretary of State for the Environment, now generally referred to as the 'Steinberg Principl...

Theatres Trust
formed in 1976 by act of parliament 'to promote the better protection of theatres for the benefit of the nation'. The trust is a legal consultee for all matters affecting theatres. Along with the RCAHMS it is the only body in Scotland that planning authourities are obliged to consult on matt...

Theodolite
a precision instrument for measuring angles to vertical and horizontal planes. Consists in its most basic form, of a telescope which can rotate horizontally and vertically allowing readings to be taken fro m a calibrated circle. The instrument has to be centred over a ...

Thermal movement
the expansion and contraction of materials due to change in temperature. Thermal movement varies considerably through the different building materials available. Most natural materials such as stone, timber and brick, have low thermal movement, most metals have a medium degree of movement ...

Thirties Society
founded in 1979 to promote the study and preservation of post 1914 building. Actively involved in casework, and good source of information. Now known as the Twentieth Century Society.

Tie beam
a horizontal beam which joins the feet of the principals at wall head level. See roof.

Tifting
the laying of thicker slates on the wallheads or close to skews so that water runs into the middle of, and down the pitch of the roof, rather than spilling down the face of gables, or penetrating under mortar fillets.