Cob pizza oven

Since spending far too long for my wife’s liking queuing for fresh pizza from a small portable clay pizza oven at the Abergavenny food festival, I’ve fancied one of my own. The Eden Project sell one for £600 and apparently Jamie Oliver tries to flog one for over £3000, but you can build one from cob for next to nothing and this article on the Guardian website shows me how to follow the pretty simple process.

Pizza cake … How to build a cob oven
How to build a cob oven

Frederika Whitehead learns how to turn a pile of earth into a wood-fired cob pizza oven in a matter of hours

The comments add some useful information – you can use sawdust for the final ‘weather proof’ layer of cob rather than straw – and I’ve plenty of sawdust. I must ask if you can use flag stones for the base…

EDIT: On the Edwards Cob Eco Buildings website (the people who run the courses that the Guardian article describes) they state that “you choose what sort of stone or brick you want” so I reckon I’m OK with a stone base and also that they “lime render the oven” when they build one for you. I guess that lime render gives a more weather resistant shell to the oven – right up my street… lovely lime…

…the comments in the original article also link to some interesting plans for building a brick based oven…fornobravo.com

William Burges

I spend most of the week in and around Cardiff. Anyone who spends any amount of time in around Cardiff and manages raise their eyes to the skyline can’t help but witness the impact that Marquess of Bute and William Burges had on the city.

William Burges (1827 – 1881) was an English architect and designer. Recognised as the greatest of the Victorian “art-architects”, Burges work strove to rise above 19th century industrialisation through the inspiration of an idealised medieval Europe.

Burges’s style was formed through twenty years of study and travel, during his relatively short career he applied the same vocabulary to increasing effect.

Burges’s most notable works, Cardiff Castle and Castell Coch were undertaken for John Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute – a man variously described on Wikipedia as the richest man in the world and as the richest man in Britain – take your pick.

William Burges - Park House Cardiff

Cardiff Castle is an example of high victorian gothic romanticism, Castell Coch, that sits just outside the city is a fairy-tale gothic castle on the site of a 13th century fortification.

My personal favourite in Cardiff is his Park House – pictured right. The house was Commissioned by the Marquess in 1874 for his Chief Engineer, John McConnochie. It is a building on a more domestic scale than either of the Castles. A building of liveable proportions that still manages to impress, inspire and provide a glimpse of the escape through art and architecture that Burges sought.

Other references:
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