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 A minor architectural puzzle

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Meles meles
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PostSubject: A minor architectural puzzle   Fri 19 Jun 2015, 19:03

My house was built in about 1885 as a hunting lodge or weekend retreat for a nouveau-riche local industrialist, Joseph Bardou and his son Pierre, who had made their fortune with the well-known ‘JOB’ brand of cigarette rolling papers. Compared to the principal family residence, Chateau d’Aubiry (a large, 30-room, lavishly appointed, rococco, fin-de-siècle, Gothic pile), at Cérèt about 20km away, … my place is very simple being just a rectangular floor plan, with 6 bedrooms in total, four on the first floor and two on the second/attic floor; with two good-sized reception rooms on the ground floor, … plus a cellar/stable under it all.



It does however have a rather stylish and somewhat intriguing semi-circular tower round the back - or rather at the front as originally built:



But why? Historically a round tower often accommodates a staircase – but that is not the case here and anyway the main central staircase is just adjacent:


..... In the left photo the ground floor WC, located in the tower, is straight ahead. The door to the left leads down into the cellar. In the right photo, taken looking down the stairwell, the 2nd WC off the half-landing between the 1st and 2nd floors, again located in the tower, is through the door at top of photo.

At present the tower, which is barely 1.5m in diameter, houses two bathrooms/toilets: one on the ground floor; the other off the half-landing between the first and second floors. The ceilings of both these bathrooms are at over 3m … they’re very much taller than they are wide! Yet even so, between the ceiling of the downstairs toilet and the floor of the upstairs toilet there is an empty space - just 1.2 metres high and accessible only by a ladder from the outside and through a tiny 30cm diameter round, unglazed window (clearly visible in the above exterior photo of the tower). It is completely wasted space, currently only used by owls, bats and bees.



So why was this tower built - what was it for?

Did the tower originally house a separate staircase for the exclusive use of the servants, as is fairly common in other grand houses of the period? But this house is far from grand: just 4 main bedrooms on the 1st floor (with big ornate windows and fancy tiles on the floors), and on the 2 nd floor, directly under the roof beams, two bigger but simpler rooms (functional terracotta floor tiles and much smaller windows), which I’m guessing were used as dormitories for the servants: one for males and one for females

Also bear in mind that as originally built it was just a fairly rustic ‘lodge’ for occasional use only. As built the house didn’t even have a kitchen. In the original ‘Act of Purchase’ (the deeds if you like) which are for the whole of the original farm, including the ancient 17th century farmhouse (now a separate private house occupied by my neighbours), it is written that the tenants of the farm were obliged to give, in lieu of rent, half of all their farm produce … and furthermore that when the landlord’s family were in residence (in my house) the tenants were obliged to provide all meals! So as I say there was no need for the family servants to descend quietly in the early mornings to get the fires lit and the breakfasts prepared, because the poor farmer’s wife was already slaving away doing all that in the adjacent farmhouse!

Was it just for vanity - to make the house look a bit grander and more like un petit chateau? Having come from agricultural labourers to millionaire industrialists in just a generation I do rather get the feeling that the Bardou family had become terribly nouveau-riche snobs. And perhaps further to this idea, was the tower actually added later, which might explain why it contains wasted space? The house itself was designed by a well-known Danish architect, Viggo Dorph-Petersen (who also designed and oversaw the building of all the other Bardou family houses/chateaux ... six in all), and other than this odd tower, it has no quirky nor badly thought out aspects – on the contrary I think it has a good use of space and is cleverly designed to maximise protection against both summer heat and winter cold.

Unfortunately it is difficult to work out whether the tower was butted onto the house at a later date as the house walls have all been rendered with an external layer of cement "crepi" which hides the junction of the tower bricks with the house wall (which I think was originally just roughly dressed stone).

Nowadays the tower contains two bathrooms and all their associated plumbing and waste disposal pipes. Was the tower perhaps built as part of some intricate sanitary system? As I’ve said there is a cellar under the entire house … and the access to this from inside the house is via narrow staircase that descends from a door just adjacent to the bottom of the tower (see photo). Was there maybe a state-of-the-art earth or water-closet system in place? There is a sort of alcove directly below the bottom of the tower which is also adjacent to the exterior cellar door leading directly out into the garden. Though frankly I do rather doubt that idea … even today we’re well away from all habitation, and domestic water still comes from a spring about 500m away. The half dozen houses further up the valley still do not even have mains electricity, and I would guess that in the 19th century everyone chez moi just used un pot de nuit, kept under the bed and which was emptied each morning direct into the adjacent river. It was just a weekend retreat after all, a place to hunt, to fish, to relax, and to deliberately get away from all "Society" .


... I'm here, with the medieval farm buildings (my neighbours) just behind.

The original architect’s plans would normally these days eventually be deposited in the local Departmental Archives at Perpignan. But unfortunately this is from well over a century ago. Furthermore when the architect died his family are known to have burned nearly all his papers - not maliciously but just to get rid of all the clutter. I’ve been unable to find any original documents about house’s construction, although there is still a huge archive of the Bardou family letters and business correspondence, all in French of course, that I could start to work through.

But in the meantime … any thoughts or suggestions from anyone here?
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PostSubject: Re: A minor architectural puzzle   Fri 19 Jun 2015, 20:35

Meles meles, it's a guess, but what about a "garde-robe"?


https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garde-robe
http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/translate/french-english/garde-robe
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garderobe


To support my view, we are friends with a family who bought an old mansion in Bruges and changed it to hotel.
There was at the backside and attached to the wall a kind of a half round wooden toilet with a door in the wall. As they are so severe in Bruges about renovations they had to keep the wooden structure as it was of architectural worth (sic)...

My guess: Was that not a trend of the time and as Belgium was always following the "mode" from France...?
The little chamber surrounded by the air to evacuate some odours...?
Is the empty room between the two toilets also not on purpose of evacuating some....

Can't you find out if this tower adjacent isn't built on other mansions too?

Kind regards and greetings to the South of France...thanks for the pictures...Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: A minor architectural puzzle   Fri 19 Jun 2015, 23:22

What other wc or bathroom facilities are there in the house, you don't mention any? Was there originally a kitchen given the catering arrangements? The current one, how does that relate to the tower and the main staircase? I'm thinking about water and plumbing. Does the upper round window give onto the upper wc and is it glazed? What about the other round windows below the roof, do they open onto any rooms or passages.

My money would be on a separate staff staircase, later removed to make room for sanitary facilities when indoor plumbing became more important than the risk of meeting servants on the staircase.. I've seen so many examples from around that date of semi-circular, external stairwells, in fact there's one about 200 yds from this room, and I can't think of anything that shape that wasn't a stairwell.

The lower wc was then inserted on the existing ground floor of the tower and the stairwell divided by a floor at the point on the top half landing where the door of the old staircase had allowed access up to the attic rooms and down to the family bedrooms, creating the upper toilet. That would have left the lower wc in a room roughly 4.5 m high which may have looked so odd that the roof was lowered to make it the same height as the upper wc. Silly voids where ceilings have been lowered are fairly common although they often have access so they can be used as storage space.

Mrs Farmer may have brought the meals through the external cellar door, up the back stair and handed it over to the house staff for transfer into the dining room and thus not sullied any of the posh areas.


This is fun, any chance of floor plans for access analysis?
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PostSubject: Re: A minor architectural puzzle   Sat 20 Jun 2015, 10:24

Paul, Ferval ... thanks for your comments.

I need to clean the house, mow the lawn and go to the shops ... but I will be back later to answer your questions. And while I don't have the original architectual drawings I do somewhere have scaled floor plans as drawn by the previous owner.

A plus tard.
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PostSubject: Re: A minor architectural puzzle   Sun 21 Jun 2015, 08:25

What a fascinating puzzle.

I'd go for the garde-robe idea with a cess-pit beneath (a properly kept cess-pit does not smell, even in hot weather), but why put such a feature at the front of the house (you did say it was originally the front, I think?)? Not what you would expect. It's the sort of mad ironic statement a rich English eccentric might make - the posh sanitary arrangements on show like that!

Here is a Danish round tower - don't know if the mention of privies (and picture) is relevant.

http://www.rundetaarn.dk/en/the-tower/facts/



Privy to the great and good
The two original privies in the Round Tower still exist – one on the top floor, the other beside the Library, halfway up the tower. Although not in use, the Library privy has been restored and re-opened. You may enter, sit yourself down and gaze up at the arched ceiling, where nicotine used to seep through the limestone in the days when it was popular to smoke a pipe while visiting the smallest room. We know that famous names such as Ludvig Holberg, Ole Rømer, H.C. Ørsted and Hans Christian Andersen studied in the Library, and probably also needed to visit the privy now and again – with or without a pipe.
Waste from the privy ran down into a large bricked-up container (the latrine pit), but despite experiments with open windows and double doors, the stench up in the Tower was almost overpowering. Water closets were installed in 1902 but the pit was not emptied until 1921, when nine truckloads of muck were shipped off.


The stench should not have been "overpowering" - the bacteria weren't being allowed to do their job properly!





PS I think the house is beautiful - I love that staircase, the flagstones, the tiles. Even like those spiders (they are spiders, I think?) on the loo door!
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PostSubject: Re: A minor architectural puzzle   Sun 21 Jun 2015, 08:54

The current "front" door to the house is on the other side to the tower, and enters direct into the dining room. Seeing that the house was originally a hunting lodge I always found this as odd. Did people just tramp straight into the main reception room with their guns, game bags and muddy boots?  Well no, as actually the original access road came up past the old farm house to the tower side of the house. The door there, in the photo above, now leads to the kitchen, but in the past I believe this was an entrance hall, and that there was no kitchen at all (meals and picnic hampers being provided from the farm). The floor tiling of the kitchen seems to continue under the wall and is the same as that at the foot of the staircase, so I strongly suspect the entrance hall gave access direct to the staircase, from where one can enter the dining room via a double door. In its current form the kitchen leads direct into the dining room and not to the stairs - but I'm fairly sure these walls/moved doors are later arrangements (eg there is a little bit of kitchen tiling showing at the foot of the wall in the dining room.)

There is a third WC on the second floor just adjacent to the tower. This is a relatively modern installation and its plumbing runs in pipes attached to the outside of the building as does the plumbing and waste pipes from modern showers in all the other bedrooms. This WC on the second floor is in a narrow side room off one of what we are surmising to be one of the servants' dormitories (there are four such rooms, two one each side of the two rooms on this floor). They are long and narrow being tucked under the eaves ... they are lit by the little round windows right at the top under the roof that you were asking about (also the top round window in the tower is in the top WC directly above the more regular window, itis glazed but is too high to open). If one accepts the idea that a spiral servants' staircase went up the tower, there is just about space for this to exit on the top floor into one of these side rooms.  

Paul asked whether there are similar towers on other buildings hereabouts. In short I've never noticed any but this house is a bit atypical. Most of the houses in the region of that date are built in stone, often with massively thick walls, and usually with a shallower pitched roof. Buildings of roughly the same fin de siecle style can be found in the bigger towns but there they are usually as terraced town houses. The only local buildings that resemble it in style are the village school (now the Mairie and post office), and in the nearby town the old railway station (now offices), and a very lavish house originally built for a wealthy mine owner (now the town hall) but it doesn't have a tower ... all these buildings of course were also constructed in about the 1880s.

I've got some floor plans ... I'll just go over the pencil lines in a thicker black pen, and will scan and post.

PS : The loo door "spiders" are actually crabs one with "toilettes" embroidered on his back and the other with "bains" .... but there are very often real spiders too!


Last edited by Meles meles on Sun 21 Jun 2015, 20:50; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typos)
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PostSubject: Re: A minor architectural puzzle   Sun 21 Jun 2015, 19:33

Et voila, drawings of the room plans as they are now. These obviously aren't architects drawings but are nevertheless basically to scale. Note the difference in width between the exterior/load-bearing walls, and interior partition walls which are just one brick thick. Remember that the tower in question is only accessible from the ground floor (as shown) and from the half-landing between the first and second floors (hence no door is shown here). Note also that there is an undergound cellar under all this whose foundation walls essentially follow the walls of the ground floor, although under the tower itself there is nothing except solid foundations/rock/rubble. And a final note, NB that the side rooms on the second floor (marked "grenier" ie attic) have very low ceilings and only small windows at about knee height since they are built directly under the eaves ... in plan they might look like sizeable rooms but in reality they are really only useable as compact  bathroom/WC space or as storage (such as for all my towels and sheets), ... especially since there is no useable space at all in the actual attic (and which is also why the cellar is so chock full of "stuff"!).

2nd floor:



First floor:


Ground floor:


Scale:
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PostSubject: Re: A minor architectural puzzle   Sun 21 Jun 2015, 20:38

Oh, well done MM. That should help.

The stairwell interpretation still seems the most likely, to me anyway. I see you say there are granaries on the top floor, that might be another reason for there being a separate stair to access these, who wants a trail of grain all up their posh staircase?

This is a building that I know well although the picture shows it derelict around 1975. It has since been refurbished. You can see the resemblance to your tower in its semi-circular stairwell.



This is how it looks inside now.

                         

I'm intrigued by your observation regarding the floor tiles running under the wall, there must have been a lot of reconfiguration, does all the cornicing and ceiling plaster match up properly?
I wonder if the plumbing for the kitchen and for the tower wc s were installed at the same time since they are fairly close. Actually, a plumber might be a good person to say what the order of refurbishment was, he should be able to tell by the style and materials used.

Your conclusions about the original layout downstairs seems sensible: a warm, spacious reception hall in which to divest oneself of muddy outdoor gear and have a warming drink by the fire, the dining room where the kitchen now is with direct access for delivering the meals and the drawing room to the other side.

One other possibility is that the tower stair was originally the only staircase in the building and the current, grander, one is a later insert. That might explaining the tiling anomally.

Nope, there's nothing else for it, we all need to come and see for ourselves.
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PostSubject: Re: A minor architectural puzzle   Mon 22 Jun 2015, 08:20

Within the tower is it possible to see the joists supporting ceilings/floors, and if so if the stone has been dressed where they enter the wall or does it appear that holes have later been made to take them? It can provide a clue as to whether the structure was initially built to accommodate such partition or whether it should initially have housed a stairs or ladder-type access to the granaries.

Question: Why three separate granaries? Is this common in the region?
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PostSubject: Re: A minor architectural puzzle   Mon 22 Jun 2015, 10:28

@nordmann wrote:
Within the tower is it possible to see the joists supporting ceilings/floors, and if so if the stone has been dressed where they enter the wall or does it appear that holes have later been made to take them? It can provide a clue as to whether the structure was initially built to accommodate such partition or whether it should initially have housed a stairs or ladder-type access to the granaries.


Good question, I've just tried to have a look through the little round window into the empty space in the tower ... but unfortunately my ladder isn't long enough. I'll try to get hold of a longer one from my neighbours.

And what's with all the granaries? The word is "grenier", ie French for attic! As I say in plan they look like quite large rooms but in reality they are like side corridors tucked under the sloping roof.

This is the one to the side of the tower directly above the kitchen. You can see how the ceiling slopes down. I took that pic with my back against the wall, the little round window is out of sight but is down to the left at about knee height. The door leads into the attic bedroom, and thence through to the top landing at the top of the stairs (just visible):



Behind the wall directly ahead, with the mirror, is the main stairwell - the tower itself bulges outwards from the continuation of the lefthand wall ie the tower wall joins the house just behind the corner of the left/ahead walls in the photo. The top of the tower would be to about the level where the sloping ceiling meets the left hand wall ie a little lower than head height if one was standing at this level.

Here's the adjacent 2nd floor bedroom, the same grenier/attic is behind the wall with the picture and is accessed through the door (which here is curved because of the wide angle lens), and note also the pitched ceiling, and hence there really is very little actual attic space above this room:



And finally this is the view from the top landing down to the WC in the tower. The wall to the left is the other side of the wall with the long mirror in the first pic above. The tower wall bulges out from this angle and in height corresponds to the level where the sloping ceiling meets the wall above the door. The floor level of the top bedrooms, attics and landing (on which I was standing) is about 30cm lower than the pipes running across the top of the WC door and across the left hand wall.

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PostSubject: Re: A minor architectural puzzle   Mon 22 Jun 2015, 11:15

It actually states on your plans that in this building grenier = granary. Since it isn't an unusual arrangement in farm buildings to have the granary high off the ground nothing struck me as odd about it.

Another question though: Is it conclusively known that the tower and the main structure or original structure were both built at the same time?
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PostSubject: Re: A minor architectural puzzle   Mon 22 Jun 2015, 11:22

Meles wrote:

And what's with all the granaries? The word is "grenier", ie French for attic!

Your plan of the top floor is annotated grenier = granary. Yes, it seemed an odd place to store grain but I would never argue.......

The walls of the rooms in the tower - are they stone, brick or plasterboard type stuff, do you know?


Crossed posts!
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PostSubject: Re: A minor architectural puzzle   Mon 22 Jun 2015, 11:32

Oh yes so it does! I was wondering why you were all reading the word as granary! It was the previous owners (Flemish) that drew the plans up and did the French/English annotations - I just went over the lines with a felt pen. Although I think grenier, meaning an attic or garret, does originally derive from granary, in the sense of a hay loft, or grain store, but certainly not in the case here. Besides the adjacent farm still has a perfectly good barn for that sort of thing.

@nordmann wrote:

Is it conclusively known that the tower and the main structure or original structure were both built at the same time?

No. I did wonder about that but in the absence of original drawings it's difficult to tell. The junction of the tower brickwork to the house walls (originally in rough dressed stone I think) is hidden beneath a  much more recent cement rendering, so I can't tell how they are keyed together etc.

PS : Ferval, the walls of the second floor rooms are: stone/concrete for the exterior walls and the thick load-bearing wall across the house ... but the all the other interior walls, separating the side attics from the bedrooms are in light-weight brick, with a plaster rendering ... plus in the room pictured above a very much more recent plasterboard covering the old plaster.
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PostSubject: Re: A minor architectural puzzle   Mon 22 Jun 2015, 12:08

Just for interest you might like to watch this ... it's the Bardou family's grand house, Château d'Aubiry at Ceret, currently up for sale at around the 20 million euros mark. Some rather nice towers and staircases there ... all a bit different from their humble pavillon de chasse, chez moi (although we actually bought through the same estate agent).



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PostSubject: Re: A minor architectural puzzle   Mon 22 Jun 2015, 12:12

Way too much hoovering and dusting in my view. I pity the poor bastards who have to live in such a housekeeping hell.
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PostSubject: Re: A minor architectural puzzle   Tue 23 Jun 2015, 08:25

Clearly everyone has dismissed Paul's idea about a garde-robe tower, MM, but I'm still wondering about it.

I'm thinking about the old septic tanks/cess-pits I've come across in rural Devon, where pipes (chutes/pipes if you have a tower?) lead to a pit or tank (not the new "onion" ones) set well away from the house. These, in the old days, were rarely emptied: there was a soakaway arrangement whereby the liquid waste (flushed by buckets of water before WCs) ran out underground straight into the land, often downwards towards a river or stream. The solid waste simply collected in the pit where bacteria naturally produced simply worked away and produced a "crust". Unbelievably this bacterial activity prevented/prevents horrible smells - don't ask me how. The tanks or pits were emptied (night soil?), but not regularly in rural areas: several years could pass before the "muck" was removed and used as fertilizer.

There was usually no problem with the run-off of liquid waste unless the water table was high: then you could get a literal "boggy" area which smelt. I've seen this happen down here (it's happened to me and my tank and the field near my cottage!). The Environment Agency has tried (EU regs and all that) to eliminate all the older tanks, but there are still lots of them.

Do you get many septic tanks in rural France? Surely you do. What happens to all your waste water (etc.) from your loos, bathrooms, washing machine, kitchen? Do you have mains drainage in such a an isolated spot?

Or is there a septic tank in your grounds? If so, how long has it been there?

Does this make any kind of sense? The granaries idea seems mad to me - as you say why have granaries and access thereto in a hunting lodge? But sanitary arrangements for the guests and even the servants (!) were a necessity. A loo, even if with a bucket flush, is better than a chamber pot...

But then, as mentioned above, why put it at the front of the house, unless that was something to do with the slope of the land and position of river?

Oh, I don't know, I'm probably talking utter rubbish, but septic tanks and early sanitary arrangements fascinate me.

PS I don't like the big, posh house at all - far too ornate. It's like something a Russian billionaire living in London would have. Much prefer your hunting lodge.


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PostSubject: Re: A minor architectural puzzle   Tue 23 Jun 2015, 09:21

You're right, Temp, we really need to reconsider the sanitary arrangements, this is a late 19th c. house and built for the upper classes not some peasant family who cheerfully practised wild toileting. If there was no indoor plumbing, I would have expected at least there to be a privy outside. The building could have housed at least 12 people and that a lot of effluent to dispose of, might there have been something of the nature of a sluice room?
I wonder how these matters were managed in the Big House? It is awful - reminds me of the interior of our City chambers, an architectural wet dream for self satisfied capitalists.

My fixation on a stair well is largely because of the shape of the tower, if it were designed to hold toilet facilities, why is it round? A square construction would seem to be a more practical solution for that as well as being more in keeping with the rest of the building.

Anyway, better get drawn together and head off to the dentist. Oh joy.
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PostSubject: Re: A minor architectural puzzle   Tue 23 Jun 2015, 10:24

I've been looking at the pictures here - not exactly an academic site, but interesting!

https://www.flickr.com/photos/45086834@N04/galleries/72157622968557854/


This bit of text caught my eye:

Garderobe chutes were sometimes sluiced with rainwater from the roof...

Is that a pipe shown to the right of the tower? Obviously a modern one, no doubt to do with the modern bathrooms, but did it replace an earlier pipe, perhaps one which allowed rainwater from the roof to sluice down into a loo chute?
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PostSubject: Re: A minor architectural puzzle   Tue 23 Jun 2015, 11:49

All good points which now brings me to matters sanitary....

The house still does have a very old sort of septic tank type thing just like you describe temp ... totally non-conformant with EU regs .... it basically dumps all the doings into a patch of nettles and brambles well away from the house but admittedly quite close to the river Embarassed . Though as you say the pipe-work on the tower is new(ish) it does indeed convey the waste water from the 2nd floor loo plus rain water from the roof (by EU regs they should be separate) ... this pipe joins with the waste pipe from the two tower toilets, plus waste water from the room shinks/showers at the base of the tower and conveys it away. The exact plumbing arrangements are well buried and I have no plumbers drawings but I do know that the waste from the 2nd floor bedroom and the gutters is separate from the waste from the other two WCs in the tower, at least until clear of the house, they then combine into one pipe. (The waste from the kitchen sink goes via an ancient soak-away out somewhere under the garden but I have no clue exactly where.)



The photo above is the door to the cellar at the foot of a ramp from the rest of the garden ... ie this is the level below the house. This is the only point where the cellar can be accessed directly from outside, everywhere else it is completely underground. Immediately to the right of the door is the foundation of the tower, the window above the door is on the ground floor. The visible pipes come from the tower and go across the door sill in a sort of sluice.



This is inside the cellar (excuse the mess) looking towards the base of the tower (the kitchen is above to the left, the living room above to the right. The stairs in front lead up to the little door opening into the house at the foot of the main staircase adjacent to the bottom tower WC. The foundation for the tower itself is behind the flat wall directly in front, there's no space beneath the tower nor indeed any indication that there is a tower. But perhaps significantly this cellar space, adjacent to the tower foundation, is next to the exterior cellar door, which is just through the arch to the right (immediately beyond the big metal cupboard).

There is another sanitary factor. There is a canal that takes water from the river about 300m upstream (on the neighbours land). On the neighbours' land it runs parallel to the river but at a much lesser gradient and so when it arrives at my house it is about 20m above the adjacent river which here is in a narrow gorge. The canal passes under the garden terrace surrounding the house in a tunnel, emerging the other side to flow on, carefully terracing around the hillside for another 400m or so, before joining a small stream in the forest. Irrigation canals like this a quite common around here and were jealously guarded and so while it is currently dry I do still have the right to take water if I want, and the neighbours' use it for half its length on their land to supply a water feature.

Here's the entrance to the tunnel (taken in winter when the vegetation is mostly dead) with the dog directly in the entrance. At this point the corner of the house on the tower side is just 5m away to the right. It is still possible to go right through the tunnel, the canal bed is concrete but the walls are in stone with a roughly corbelled roof. It's about 0.6 wide and 1.2 high, and for part of its length it still carries the modern plastic sewer pipe from the house.



And here's the exit with the line of the canal carrying on down to the left:



Although primarily an irrigation canal (which almost certainly predates construction of the house) it could easily have served as a sluice/gutter for the disposal of waste. When the river sluice gate is fully opened the supply to the neighbours' ornamental cascade can deliver about 20 litres per second. I can't find any evidence of a pipe or sluice running from the house but the door to the cellar, the existing pipes and the base of the tower are all only some 10m away and a about 2m higher.
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PostSubject: Re: A minor architectural puzzle   Tue 23 Jun 2015, 14:44

Just to give a bit of the geographic layout ... this is based on Google Earth:



Red is the nearby road coming down from the village.
Solid white is the original access drive to the farm (my neighbours) and my house.
Broken white is the current separate drive to my house.
Blue is the irrigation canal (broken where it passes under the house terrace).
Yellow is my boundary, which cuts in a straight line to the river and then follows its winding line.


PS : My hand must have wobbled drawing the yellow line - I seem to have claimed one side of the neighbours' swimming pool (how very Germanic of me) as well as a long narrow slice of their garden!


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PostSubject: Re: A minor architectural puzzle   Tue 23 Jun 2015, 16:02

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PostSubject: Re: A minor architectural puzzle   Tue 23 Jun 2015, 16:18

Blimey Trike that takes me back a bit .... I actually sort of commissioned that article to gain us some publicity when we opened several years ago ... and I remember discussing the details with the journalist over several glasses of local red during the 'Grand Opening' with sheep-roast, bbq and general piss-up that we held in May 2008 ... Don't the years just fly by!

Of course I'd never now use social media for any covert publicity purposes. Wink
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