Newsletter | October 2016

Welcome to all our new subscribers and it seems that the mad rush before Winter is upon us…

We have been busy with articles and pages on the site so have links in this newsletter to keep you all updated.    For more regular updates join us on FB or Twitter but don’t worry if you are not on social media – important stuff goes on the website and we also update you in the Newsletters.


Fire Safety – understanding, investigation and research – has been the main theme over the last few months, and we hope it will continue to a good conclusion.  Updates on this and links in this Newsletter.

Reminder to:-

  • Have a look at your roof and get it checked if you have any areas of concern, or email us a picture.
  • Sweep your chimney before you use it!
  • Enter our next thatch picture chocolate competition!

Good relationships with worthwhile, like-minded organisations and associations continue to grow #workingtogether.  I hope you find this latest newsletter interesting and informative and feel free to share with your ‘thatch’ friends.

Fire Safety – understanding, investigation and research – has been the main theme over the last few months, and we hope it will continue to a good conclusion.  Updates on this and links in this Newsletter.

In this Newsletter:

Click on the title to show the details.


What we have been doing?

Out and about again! – we have been on a Fire and Historic Buildings Course and also attended the FPA event including the results of their research on thatch, chimneys and woodburners (more details below).

Usual enquiries – with a big rush when everyone went back to work in September. Website pages have been added and several articles written.  It is great that so many more people are signing up for this newsletter, and we hope you will find it useful and please feel free to contribute. Thank you for your pictures for the competition – the winning ‘New Build’ picture is above (more details below on that and next one!).

We will of course continue in our endeavors to provide up to date open, and frank information and discussion with everyone about ‘all things thatch’.  All contributions have been and will always be happily received and added to our planned pages etc. Thank you to those who have and those who are about to!

Share this article

The Thatch Advice Centre Website - updates

thatchArticles added were:
Test it Tuesdays – reminders on checking your alarms
Fire and Historic Buildings Course at Weald and Downland Open Air Museum
Notification of Fire Protection Association (FPA) event
Fire in thatched Buildings – re Burgoynes update
FPA event review
ThatchThursday information for August, September and October

New pages on the website:

Burgoynes updated report to include last burning season 2015 – 2016
Thatch at Weald and Downland Open Air Museum

Share this article

Updates from previous Newsletters

Marie Stopes – Great news, the target is reached and work starts on rethatching in November.  Well done everyone.

Buying and Selling thatch – still a steady flow of enquiries on this topic.

Chimney help, glad our work is helping in getting people talking and hopefully those responsible to address some of the issues surrounding this topic, which affect many of the people who contact us.

There are not always simple definitive answers  but increasing understanding and communication is making positive progress.  We, and many others, are understandably impatient as things never move fast enough in large organisations but it is moving.  Recent further forensic research into causes of thatch fires and work on wood-burners and chimneys is all identifying sparks as major cause and not heat transfer.  Updates to this information may make a big difference in the fight against thatch fires but it is entrenched in Building Regulations and other organisations who are slower to update their data.  We can only assist by providing this information to as many people as possible so that they can make their own sensible decision on reducing their risks while the up to date data takes time to permeate through the system.

Share this article

The Question of Insurance

fireIf only we got paid a £1 for every query on insurance!

The question of thatch insurance is rightly a big issue on everyone’s mind, both on getting the right insurance and at an appropriate price.  Fire and flood risk, construction and property use are often high on the insurers agenda in assessing those risks.

The main questions we are asked to assist property owner with are roof inspections, chimney and woodburner installations, building regulations, chimney height, electrics, fire barriers and fire retardant sprays.  One question which is very important is the rebuild costs.

When calculating the rebuild cost it is not about the value of the property, the land is not taken into account but the materials and labour to rebuild are.

On speaking to our many visitors we know that as thatch is not usually a standard building it often requires specialist insurance to meet the needs of the customer, perhaps another page on the website?

Share this article

Competition Time


Winner Winner Chocolate Dinner!!

Congratulations to Paul Wareing, Master Thatcher  – winner of our ‘new thatched building’ category  (1st picture at top of newsletter).  We have sent out his tin of special hand-made chocolates (from Chocolate Craft) today and thank you for all your entries.

Please send  ‘Listed Thatch’ pictures in for the next competiton. Entries with name and postal address to:-

There are thousands of Listed Properties in the UK and many of them are thatched so get snapping!

Next categories:-

3  Listed Thatch
4  Pub, Hotel,  B&B or business
5  Thatching in progress
6  Interesting and unusual thatch

The winner of the next category 3 will also get a fabulous bespoke, and made especially for our competition,  chocolate prize from Chocolate Craft.

Their chocolates are hand-made, supplied to customers such as Fortnum and Masons and are absolutely delicious.

To enter you will need to supply your own photograph(s) of the thatch along with the category and any details you want to provide, eg where it is.  You can enter as many photos as you like.   Don’t forget to include it along with your name, full address and postcode.  Email your  entries to:- .

In entering this competition, you agree for any picture supplied to be used by the Thatch Advice Centre.  Any pictures selected will be credited to yourself.

3rd Category, Listed Thatch, deadline for entries is noon on Monday 16th January 2017.  Entries for other categories can be received at any time.

See below Mr Green winner of 1st competition with his beautiful cottage and tin of chocs!

Good luck and happy snapping.


Share this article

Fire and Historic Buildings Course


We attended the above course at the  Weald and Downland Open Air Museum.  It was a lovely day and we also enjoyed seeing some great thatched buildings at the museum.  More info on our website – well worth a visit.   Wonderful to meet a variety of interesting people and so discussion on thatch was inevitable.

We were pleased to share our up to date knowledge as part of that discussion in the spirit of working together for the good of thatch, especially the revised Burgoynes Forensic Report which is now available on our website for everyone to read .. see more below.


Share this article

Thatch Tale

How lovely to speak to Jeff King – who was one of the Thatch Training officers at Knuston Hall (before it ceased due to lack of Government funding).

His knowledge and experience are to be valued and we welcome his input.

He sent us this contribution..  Thank you.


A man knocked at the heavenly gate
His face was scarred and old
He stood before the man of fate
For an admission to the Fold.
‘What have you done St Peter asked
To gain admission here’?
‘I have been a thatcher sir,
For many and many a year’.
The pearly gates swung open wide
St Peter touched the bell
‘Come in and choose your Harp’ he said
‘You have had your share of Hell’

Hopefully we will have some anecdotes  from his thatching and training days too!

Share this article

Update on Causes of Thatch Fires


In September Burgoynes Forensic Investigators, updated their thatch fire research up to include the 2015-2016 burning season.  148 thatch fires in all.

In summary it further re-enforces what we all know and have been promoting, that the major cause of Thatch Fires is ejected embers and not Heat Transfer.

Sadly, new websites on the internet have been seen to be still pushing the old fire information which is no longer seen as helpful and this is so disappointing.

Our recommendation based on this.

Please understand that if you put in a lined flue you still have to be aware of the main risks and take care.

You need to avoid sparks and a chimney fire at all costs, so take care when lighting, sweep chimneys regularly, burn seasoned wood and don’t let your woodburner get too hot.   Low chimneys and woodburners increase the risk which is obvious, so please be aware, especially if we have a cold dry snap part way through the burning season.

Share this article

FPA Update

9963fe6e-5597-4264-bea5-58f158eb2dd41Historic England asked us to promote the event on the results of the work commissioned by them and NFU mutual on chimneys, woodburners and thatch.  We were happy to do so and to attend the event as the next step forward in understanding what is happening.

The data was in draft form and we look forward to promoting the finalised findings when they are available  We hope to let you know when the webinar is due too.

More info on Thatch update event…

Share this article

Council and Planning Queries

councilandplanningDelays in response times from contact with Councils and Conservation Departments seem to be high on everyone’s agenda in that it is causing problems in progressing with projects, from new thatch to listed buildings.

We understand from recent conversation with a council department that the Government guidelines are 8 weeks to determine an application from date application is valid and that major schemes are 13 weeks.   It was presumed that staffing levels and organisational difficulties are the problem but more recently we have had visitors expressing concern about councils ‘thatch’ knowledge being the cause of the delays.  There seems also to be national variance on this.

If you have any interesting or relevant points which may assist others on this topic, please let us know.  We are trying to help everyone work together in a positive way so sharing experiences may well help.

Share this article

Historic England - Enrich the List

he_logo_web-500px1Historic England are asking for help to ‘enrich the list’ to share information and to contribute to the National Heritage List for England with photos, events, social history or architectural or archaeological information.  More details are on their website.

We thought our readers may well have thatched contributions they may wish to make.


Share this article

Famous Thatch

poplar-cottage-cropped-for-thatch-advice-blog-copywrighted-for-newletterWeald and Downland Open Air Museum is famous for its old buildings many of which are thatched.

From Poplar Cottage (pictured above) to Littlehampton Granary or the Horse Whim (pictured below) they have some great thatched examples which we have put up as a page on the website which may also encourage you to visit!


Share this article

Social Media Mates

guild-ofThe Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps is an organisation which we regularly communicate with on social media.

We are pleased to have been invited to their Guild Trade Exhibiton on 10th and 11th March 2017.  Everyone is  welcome.

More details in our next newsletter and on Social Media.

Share this article



We continue to remind you on social media (and now here) to test your smoke and Carbon Monoxide alarms.

With Winter fast approaching and clock about to change, maybe use this as another reminder to check those alarms, they are only good if they are working.!

Share this article

Next Time

Square Logo
The Next Newsletter

Updates from earlier newsletters
Regional Thatch
Thatch Tale
Rebuild Costs
Harvesting Thatching Straw
Competition winner (3)
Famous Thatch
and  more…..

Share this article

Thatch Directory Categories

Thatch Directory Categories – Phase I

Our site has one clear list of categories so it is easy to find help.  We are looking for proven services to join us.  References are required.

·  Architects
·  Builders
·  Building Surveyors
·  Chimney & Flue Specialists
·  Chimney Sweeps
·  Electrical Engineers
·  Fire Safety Products & Supplies
·  Garden Buildings
·  Health and Safety
·  Insurance
·  Leadworkers
·  Master Thatchers
·  Organisations/Publications
·  Preservation & Pest Control
·  Quantity Surveyors
·  Reed & Straw Dealers
·  Scaffolding
·  Security
·  Solicitors
·  Solid Fuel & Heating Supplies
·  Specialist Builders
·  Specialist Building Materials
·  Structural Surveyors
·  Thatched Hospitality
·  Thatching Supplies
·  Timber Framed Builders
·  Tools & Equipment Hire
·  Tree Surgeons

Share this article
Share this article