Early Days

The car repair workshop (grey concertina door), fondly known as “The Shed”, April 2009

Let me introduce ourselves.

Jonathan (Jonny) Logsdon is a sole practitioner working on residential and commercial architectural projects in Bath, London and Brighton.

Kate is a Freelance Book Editor, and Jonathan’s wife and office partner.

Ioan Logsdon is a school boy, and Jonny and Kate’s eldest son (5 years’ old).

Gruff Logsdon is a pre-school boy, and Jonny and Kate’s youngest son (3 years’ old).

We grew up in West Wales, studied in Cardiff University, lived and worked in Penang, Malaysia for a year, followed by 12 years of work and life in Brixton, London. We now live in Widcombe, Bath, and are building Deep Lock House as our new family home. So, how did we get here?

In April 2009, Jonny was browsing websites and auction catalogues looking for interesting plots of land in the south-west. As a family, we had long planed to leave London but, as is so often the case, it had never quite happened. By 2009, we really wanted a fresh start. Then, the plot was found. A derelict car repair workshop on the Kennet & Avon Canal towpath in Bath was up for sale. Five minutes’ walk from the train station, the Sports Centre and the National Trust fields (complete with cows and cowpats); ten minutes’ walk from the Abbey and Bath’s main shopping centre; and just 80 minutes to London by train. What was the catch?

Our first viewing. Well, the boys liked it. April 2009

Well, the site is not without complications. It is only accessible via the towpath, and although this is a public right of way, vehicular traffic on it is controlled by British Waterways. In addition, the site is subject to a right of way across it from the terraced house directly behind to the canal towpath in front. The site has no utilities – no electric, gas, water or sewers. Oh, and it’s in a World Heritage Site; and at the time of purchase Bath was at risk of losing its World Heritage Status on the grounds that it had got rid of too many of its industrial buildings. We wanted to turn this former industrial building into our family home.

Nevertheless, we wanted it. The location was fantastic – perfectly placed for Bath and all its amenities yet on a beautiful green corridor, the canal. So, after consultation with planners and British Waterways, we bought it in July 2009. Our solicitor, who was privy to all the site’s problems, thought we were crazy; in his words: “I think you’ve got a very big challenge ahead of you.” Then, some months later he visited the site, and realised why we’d gone for it – the amazing location.

Location: You can see the spire of Bath Abbey in the distance. April 2009

Now we owned it, Jonny needed to progress those early design thoughts.

The view from the shed: canal basin & St Matthew’s Church, April 2009

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