The Star Inn at Harome: Contractor reveals programme of repairs and restoration for 14th-century thatched inn following fire as work begins

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Work is set to start on rejuvenating one of North Yorkshire's best-known gastropubs after it was damaged in a devastating fire.

The Star Inn at Harome has been closed since November, when a fire that North Yorkshire Police believe was started deliberately broke out in the 14th-century inn's thatched roof.

The Michelin-starred restaurant owned by top chef Andrew Pern was 'reduced to ashes' by the blaze and is not expected to re-open until the autumn.

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Now a contractor specialising in heritage and listed buildings has won the tender to restore the village inn while preserving as many of its original features as possible.

Andrew Pern outside The Star Inn at Harome before the fire.Andrew Pern outside The Star Inn at Harome before the fire.
Andrew Pern outside The Star Inn at Harome before the fire.

Sheriff Hutton-based Woodhouse Barry's previous projects have included the repair and restoration of nearby Oswaldkirk Hall, a Grade II-listed country house.

The contract for 24 weeks on site beginning on May 17 marks the first time the business has worked with Mr Pern, who also owns The Star Inn the City in York and The Star Inn the Harbour in Whitby.

Some site clearance work has already been completed in Harome, including salvage of furniture and fittings and removal of the destroyed thatch.

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"We have a wealth of experience over 47 years working with listed buildings and the work on the Star will see us work with much of the original fabric and materials. Using proven methods and materials, the high quality maintenance and repair of historic buildings is fundamental to their preservation", said Woodhouse Barry director Tom Hilling.

The thatched roof was destroyed in the fire.The thatched roof was destroyed in the fire.
The thatched roof was destroyed in the fire.

Over the summer, the contractors will undertake a programme of works that includes: debris clearance; removal of damaged plaster; blast cleaning; steam cleaning treatment of charred timbers; roof repairs; insulation, tiling and rethatching; replacement of windows, doors and floors; electrics, plumbing, plastering; redecorating; removal of external pebbledash render and replacement with lime render.

The most important and fragile area of the pub is the roof, as the centuries-old rafters that survived the fire must be retained and protected.

"The work to the roof where the fire caused the most damage is fascinating. Some of the rafters have been burned away and others heavily charred, and we are to work with the existing timbers whilst installing additional reclaimed members alongside, keeping as much of the original structure in place, including the cruck frame.

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"The steam cleaning will get rid of the soot and the smell."

The layout of the inn will remain the same, with some internal alterations. The thatching, using a traditional thatcher, will start in August.

"Working with a building of this age brings with it challenges you don’t encounter on new builds and there are a few very old items contained within the fabric that must be protected throughout. There are a few very old items, including furniture, that have to be protected and worked around.

"With projects like this we want people to appreciate the work that has been done but in a way it has also got to go unnoticed!

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“The use of authentic materials will retain the character and history contained within the building and provide work for traditional trades such as thatching and traditional roof joinery, which are becoming less and less common in industry”

"We are delighted to be appointed and can’t wait to commence and complete and get The Star back in full operation, serving fantastic food!”

A planning application for the work has already been submitted to Ryedale Council - and includes the retention of The Star's medieval 'cruck frame'.

Cruck frame buildings, which can be seen throughout north-east Yorkshire, were chiefly a medieval building technique, and due to disuse and rebuilding they are becoming increasingly rare.