Thursday, February 24, 2011

Work in progress

 Work goes on a pace in the New Turnip House here's some pics of what we've been doing

ready to dig up the concrete

a hint of things beneath

underneath the concrete, and 3 inches of stones, appeared a beautiful red brick floor!

bricks worn rounded by years of traffic 

the roof truss, supported originally by a low header

old wood taken out - must have been reused from somewhere else

hand tooled fixings - no idea what this was!
The new brick support
header and stone in place

the bottom of the pillar - no foundations!

the entrance window before
new slate window sill in the entrance window

hand wrought gutter supports

and when you look up .....

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Felt Workshop at Delamont Park

Saturday morning found Elaine at Delamont Country Park running another felt making course for Down Arts Centre.
A select group enjoyed inspiration creativity and craic at the Heron's Nest
Here are the fantastic results!

The next workshop is on Saturday 9th April 2011. Go to the Down Arts Centre Website for information on this and many more great opportunities.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Turnips - places, artifacts, and serendipity

When we were in our old place, many people asked "why the name Turnip House?" We would tell them that the first workshop we had was called 'the turnip house' by tradition, being the building where the turnips were stored for animal feed in the winter months, when the grass is poor.

We did not have a name for our knitwear business at first, but we did become accustomed to going "across to the turnip house to do some knitting" and so the name grew on us

It is not widely known that the turnip has a noble place in the history of agricultural development (I didn't know either!)

The British Agricultural Revolution in which Charles "Turnip" Townshend (2nd Viscount Townshend)1674 – 1738 played such a large part, did not have the same impact here in Ireland.

But growing turnips (and swedes and beets) had a vital role to play in agriculture, enabling productive feed to be grown on normally fallow ground.

In older times, the turnips would have been cut up by hand, and spread across the fields or in troughs for the livestock to eat. As agriculture became increasingly mechanised, cutting and pulping machines were developed.

On hearing that we were called 'Turnip House' some would say "you need to have a turnip mangle then" This was the machine for cutting up the vegetables.

We never did get one - until now. 

When we first looked at this place, one of the 'gifts' that we saw was this turnip mangle, lying outside the outbuildings. 

It stands to reason: if there's a turnip mangle..... there must have been a turnip house!

Our name, chosen 23 years ago, - a bit idiosyncratic - has been good to us, and we had already decided to keep the name.


Made by Powell Brothers and Whitaker Wrexham probably made in the early 1900's

Impossible to lift by hand; But after restoration it will have place of honour!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The New Turnip House - to work!

Since the weather has been (a bit) better and the days are longer we are moving on with our plan to reopen the Turnip House for Easter 2011

We have ordered the windows and doors, so now the pressure is on to make the building ready for them. We are currently digging up the floors, backbraking job but a great workout.

Raw material; as we found it. Note the turnip mangle against the left wall - must be an omen!

doorway and internal wall removed, ivy taken of walls; cleaned and re-pointed; massive stones (mostly) moved away - thanks to James! Digging up of floor in progress.


We've been doing more clearing in the front garden, and more dormant flowers have appeared

The Hellibore, now free of ivy is now standing proud

bunches of crocus have come up - this white flower is the first 
Furby by the crucus

first bloom from dozens of snowdrops

snowdrops in the fields - evidence of where once was the fruit garden!

So Long

James was over for a few days this week - great to spend some time with him, to see him well and happy, entertaining  Eleanor.

Took him up to the daybreak ferry to Scotland and walked Charlie along Loughshore Park at Whiteabbey, catching the dawn:

at the end of Belfast Lough - and on to Scotland

Sunday, February 06, 2011


Kate's Birthday yesterday, and Elaine and her went to a Batik workshop in Downpatrick, one of the many excellent workshops organised by Down Arts Centre

Here are the excellent results!

Elaine's wall hanging for the new workshop a brilliant opening present!
perfect interpretation of our classic designs

Kate's Scarf


Starlings at Dusk

We think we know where the starlings roost overnight. Kate heard a couple of farmers talking about starlings roosting over at the woods on the Ardglass Road, about 2 miles east of here. Here it is on Google Maps.

These pictures were taken last Saturday evening.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Weather Statistics January 2011

I've uploaded the weather data for January 2011 onto the website, feel free to use them if they are of interest.

Turnip House Weather Data

When I get the chance, I'll indulge in some Excel charting to produce visual data on the blog.