Historic Cooking Fires

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chrisanson
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Postby chrisanson » Fri Aug 21, 2009 2:15 pm

Colin Middleton wrote:Back to the subject, some-one posted these very nice links in the Friends and Gossip section on cooking pots:

A raised fire:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Medieval_kitchen.jpg

A slightly raised fire-bead/hearth:
http://www.sewerhistory.org/images/wh/whm/whm03.jpg

And back to a picute of a pot hung over a fire on the ground :D
http://www.arfjfu.com/images/medieval%20cook.jpg

Robin, It's the Iron Dwarf that you can thank for starting it with his requests for information.

Best wishes all



all very helpful mate, ta :)



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Postby Fox » Fri Aug 21, 2009 2:47 pm

paul bennett wrote:the raised fire issue is not likely to be solved by a re-enactors suggestion. It is a standard detail in all risk assessments because the insurers require it, and they dont listen


Really? What a lot of b0ll0cks.

Our insurance company hasn't even asked us for a risk assessment; and any general risk assessment is open to change for a specific site or circumstance anyway.

There's certainly no good reason why having a raised firebox would have to be part of all risk assessments.

Why would you say something like that?



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Postby hermann » Fri Aug 21, 2009 3:14 pm

The reason may well have to do with the status of the land on which the events are held, for example the parkland around Kelmarsh is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, so any disturbance of the ground without SAM permission is an offence. Burning can cuase problems for further investigation, as well as damaging underlying archaeology I think there would also be a risk of boundary creep. If you can have fire on the ground then why not dig a fire pit? Therefore if you specify above ground fires that can be kept under control.
The second issue is if fires are raised the size of them can be managed, ie a 2 foot by 2 foot fire firebox is more managable than a group having a bonfire, which would like happen.
The third reason will be asthetic. It can take a long time for burnt turf to recover and places like Kelmarsh and Hastings have to make money the other 51 weeks a year. In the case of somewhere like Kelmarsh this is normally done through weddings, which really on the aesthetic appeal of the site. If it has lots of burnt circles across the grounds it doesn't look quite as appealing



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Postby The Iron Dwarf » Fri Aug 21, 2009 3:26 pm

Robin, It's the Iron Dwarf that you can thank for starting it with his requests for information.


not my fault, it was all these others who have done the hard work and it is usefull to me as well as all the others on here:

finding info they maybe would have missed if doing it individually,
debating the meanings of various things,
and it gives me a chance to get my head round designing things that I can make to make life easier for others as well as earning myself a crust.

I could not make a riveted cauldron well or for a reasonable price but I do have other ideas and those on this forum will probably hear about them first. :)


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Postby chrisanson » Fri Aug 21, 2009 3:26 pm

hermann wrote:The reason may well have to do with the status of the land on which the events are held, for example the parkland around Kelmarsh is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, so any disturbance of the ground without SAM permission is an offence. Burning can cuase problems for further investigation, as well as damaging underlying archaeology I think there would also be a risk of boundary creep. If you can have fire on the ground then why not dig a fire pit? Therefore if you specify above ground fires that can be kept under control.
The second issue is if fires are raised the size of them can be managed, ie a 2 foot by 2 foot fire firebox is more managable than a group having a bonfire, which would like happen.
The third reason will be asthetic. It can take a long time for burnt turf to recover and places like Kelmarsh and Hastings have to make money the other 51 weeks a year. In the case of somewhere like Kelmarsh this is normally done through weddings, which really on the aesthetic appeal of the site. If it has lots of burnt circles across the grounds it doesn't look quite as appealing



tenna in the post mate :wink:



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Postby hermann » Fri Aug 21, 2009 3:27 pm

No worries mate ;)



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Postby chrisanson » Fri Aug 21, 2009 3:28 pm

hermann wrote:No worries mate ;)



did i say i got my bike booked in :D 8)



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Postby hermann » Fri Aug 21, 2009 3:30 pm

Yep. Is that the bandit?



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Postby chrisanson » Fri Aug 21, 2009 3:31 pm

yep. sad i know but geting excited, been its been of the road for allmost two years :?



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Postby hermann » Fri Aug 21, 2009 3:33 pm

Check the exhaust between the downpipes and silencer. Ours was rotten, more bandage than a mummy fetish but got it through



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Postby chrisanson » Fri Aug 21, 2009 3:50 pm

hermann wrote:Check the exhaust between the downpipes and silencer. Ours was rotten, more bandage than a mummy fetish but got it through



yep gotta weld that. last time i did it it lasted 4 years. its quite common on bandits



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Postby hermann » Fri Aug 21, 2009 4:06 pm

chrisanson wrote:
hermann wrote:Check the exhaust between the downpipes and silencer. Ours was rotten, more bandage than a mummy fetish but got it through



yep gotta weld that. last time i did it it lasted 4 years. its quite common on bandits

Yeah, so we've heard. We were selling it to a mate so he was happy (even though the exhaust bandage started to melt after the mot) we were happy, the MOT tester was sort of happy, and I now have some space in my garage



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Postby Fox » Fri Aug 21, 2009 4:17 pm

hermann wrote:The reason may well have to do with the status of the land on which the events are held, for example the parkland around Kelmarsh is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, so any disturbance of the ground without SAM permission is an offence. Burning can cuase problems for further investigation, as well as damaging underlying archaeology I think there would also be a risk of boundary creep. If you can have fire on the ground then why not dig a fire pit? Therefore if you specify above ground fires that can be kept under control.
The second issue is if fires are raised the size of them can be managed, ie a 2 foot by 2 foot fire firebox is more managable than a group having a bonfire, which would like happen.
The third reason will be asthetic. It can take a long time for burnt turf to recover and places like Kelmarsh and Hastings have to make money the other 51 weeks a year. In the case of somewhere like Kelmarsh this is normally done through weddings, which really on the aesthetic appeal of the site. If it has lots of burnt circles across the grounds it doesn't look quite as appealing


That's always been my understanding of the reasons.

The main relevance for the second point (and to some extent the third point) is not that it's impossible to lift the turf, create a proper boundary for the fire using stones and so on, but that's it much harder to specify and ensure that people stick to it.



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Postby hermann » Fri Aug 21, 2009 4:22 pm

But if its an ancient monument as soon as you lift the turf you have committed an offence, as well as then exposing any underlying remains/contexts to damage. I know that not all sites fall into this category but certainly with places such as Hastings and Kelmarsh, possibly some of the battlefield sites (although I'm not clear on the legislation for registered battlefields) you have vulnerable historic contexts which may not stand up to constant disturbance. To take Kelmarsh multiply the number of groups by the number of years theat the site has been used, then that creates a large amount of impact on the site. (I think we are arguing from the same side here though)



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Postby Fox » Fri Aug 21, 2009 4:35 pm

Absolutely.

On any site of historical interest, be it scheduled or not, the reason for not having fires on the ground is pretty simple and clear cut.

In truth, I think that's true for nearly all the events we attend in a year, because most are historical tourist sites.



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Postby paul bennett » Fri Aug 21, 2009 4:38 pm

Fox wrote:
paul bennett wrote:the raised fire issue is not likely to be solved by a re-enactors suggestion. It is a standard detail in all risk assessments because the insurers require it, and they dont listen


Really? What a lot of b0ll0cks.

Our insurance company hasn't even asked us for a risk assessment; and any general risk assessment is open to change for a specific site or circumstance anyway.

There's certainly no good reason why having a raised firebox would have to be part of all risk assessments.

Why would you say something like that?


Because I work with these people. That is how it is.

Risk limitation is one of the single biggest issues on the minds of the people running the venue. Guidance is seen as law, and suggestions from an insurer are often taken to be absolute decrees. Even if they dont ask for it up front, they will if anything goes wrong, as will the courts.

Yes, all risk assessments are supposed to be site and event/task specific, but they aint. In reality, all the managers do is use a standard set of risks and controls, which become immutable standards by dint of having been used for a while. Why - because people are lazy and afraid of doing it "wrong"

Stupid - yes.
Going to change - no.

It is rubbish, but it isnt B***cks. This costs millions of pounds each year in planning, procurement and organisation for all risk-averse industries.


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Postby hermann » Fri Aug 21, 2009 4:39 pm

To give you an example (irresponsible pagans this time) this is the sort of damage that can be done http://www.sacredsites.org.uk/gallery/v/castlerigg/
and that seems to be a cauldron on the floor, rather than a fire.



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Postby Fox » Fri Aug 21, 2009 5:16 pm

paul bennett wrote:
Fox wrote:Why would you say something like that?

Because I work with these people. That is how it is.

I run an insurance scheme for re-enacmtent groups, and I organise events so I'm not completely ignorant on the subject either.

paul bennett wrote:Risk limitation is one of the single biggest issues on the minds of the people running the venue. Guidance is seen as law, and suggestions from an insurer are often taken to be absolute decrees. Even if they dont ask for it up front, they will if anything goes wrong, as will the courts.

Of all which might be true, but I don't see how any of that stops you writing a risk assessment for a fire on the ground, or getting insurance on that basis.

paul bennett wrote:Stupid - yes.
Going to change - no.

Well, it certainly isn't goping to change if you start telling people that "insurance companies require it" or that they "won't listen" or "is a standard detail in all risk assessments"; none of which is true.

Herman has expressed the reasons well; they're to do with archeology, cosmetic damage and ease of control.

I'm not about to go about encouraging ground based fires at events, but isn't because insurance companies demand raised fireboxes as part of the risk assessment.



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Postby paul bennett » Fri Aug 21, 2009 8:08 pm

Okay, mea culpa.

But, my version is more illustrative of what the mindset is.
When site managers look at doing things (anything really) they will look at the EH guidance or ALGAEO/HS/CADW/ACOP *insert body here* suggested best practice. That then becomes "Law" as far as they are concerned.

So then they "have to" have an RA and they "have to use x standard document". This is not the case, but try telling them that.

The reasoning behind it is often irrelevant, as the site managers are looking for an easy way to cover their arses and just end up repeating the example document in total. Some of that thinking involves the mistaken belief that they can blame the body who issued the guidance if anything goes wrong, or that by using the guidance, they can be absolved of any negligence.

I have seen people actually pay H&S consultants to produce a risk assessment for ANY activity which might take place, from which they copy and paste. Sometimes not even that level of editing goes on.

Its the same thought process that gets schools banning conkers.

People writing guidance allow for interpretaion and common sense. People applying that guidance do not.


As a small aside - I work for a very large civil engineering consultancy. Our H&S specialists all tell us its not about forms, its about the thought process and keeping people safe.
If I want to leave the office, drive to a town and walk around for an hour, then come back, There is a 21 page "standard" document I have to fill in. None of it is actually required, most of it is irrelevant/useless and gets binned if I come back OK.


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Postby chrisanson » Fri Aug 21, 2009 10:15 pm

But, my version is more illustrative of what the mindset is.
When site managers look at doing things (anything really) they will look at the EH guidance or ALGAEO/HS/CADW/ACOP *insert body here* suggested best practice. That then becomes "Law" as far as they are concerned.



posably but i wouldnt agree.



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Postby Fox » Fri Aug 21, 2009 10:39 pm

paul bennett wrote:Okay, mea culpa.

And I'm sorry if I've been a dick about it.

Everything you've said in your last post is true.
I understand the motivation for your original statement, but I worry greatly that sweeping statements like that will make such things de-facto and before you know it we will be a lot more restricted in what site managers or event organisers will allow us to do.

paul bennett wrote:As a small aside - I work for a very large civil engineering consultancy. Our H&S specialists all tell us its not about forms, its about the thought process and keeping people safe.

As I am regularly told by people who understand these things better than me. And I understand the response of people who don't have the training to just accept the cut-&-paste at face value. I just don't want us to roll over to that attitude (which is, as you say, mistaken anyway).

Sorry, if my response was a bit much. :oops:



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Postby paul bennett » Fri Aug 21, 2009 11:01 pm

Fox wrote:
paul bennett wrote:Okay, mea culpa.

And I'm sorry if I've been a dick about it.

Everything you've said in your last post is true.
I understand the motivation for your original statement, but I worry greatly that sweeping statements like that will make such things de-facto and before you know it we will be a lot more restricted in what site managers or event organisers will allow us to do.

paul bennett wrote:As a small aside - I work for a very large civil engineering consultancy. Our H&S specialists all tell us its not about forms, its about the thought process and keeping people safe.

As I am regularly told by people who understand these things better than me. And I understand the response of people who don't have the training to just accept the cut-&-paste at face value. I just don't want us to roll over to that attitude (which is, as you say, mistaken anyway).

Sorry, if my response was a bit much. :oops:


No worries mate.

I would like to see the fuss if you suggested to a venue that elevated fire trays represent a burn hazard for people due to the hot surfaces. Then remind them of the workplace regs about access to hot water. Hmm... could be a market for battery opperated cauldrons.... :lol:


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Postby craig1459 » Sat Aug 22, 2009 10:42 pm

gregory23b wrote:The only issue with the off the ground fires in those pics is that it is not clear if it is indoors or outdoors, the images are very stylised. Mind, for a long term outside use then you could build a raised fire, but then you would need a roof.

I'd imagine there are/were a few locations where a controlled fire would be required, that needed to be separate from its immediate environment

a forge comes to mind

what about on ships?

I've found a few images of what appear to be firebox-type affairs. Must scan for dissection - a lot of the ones above just appear to be andirons :)


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Postby Colin Middleton » Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:43 pm

craig1459 wrote:andirons


"andirons"?

I'll try to get some more pictures posted, but it'll take me a while to find them and scan them.

Best wishes.


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Postby Ben_Fletcher » Wed Sep 02, 2009 4:28 pm

Colin Middleton wrote:Another load of pictures. This time from the Medieval Panorama, edited by Robert Bartlett.


Do you have full references for any of these images?

E.G. what the Flemish manuscript is?


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Postby Theotherone » Wed Sep 02, 2009 5:45 pm

Looking through Hartley's "Medieval Costume..." I noticed this - http://image.ox.ac.uk/show?collection=b ... =msbodl264 (link takes you to the main MS go to fol 2 verso, top L hand corner) Lookic like a little portable hearth type thing with raised sides..


Because there would have to be three of them.

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Postby Soren » Thu Sep 03, 2009 3:42 pm

No matter how hard we try we will never be able to make our fires as hot as they were back then. At least that's what my grandfather used to say. :wink:


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Postby Dave B » Thu Sep 03, 2009 3:57 pm

Pretty sure we can - We've got a chemist who likes explosives in our group. A steel firebox probably wouldn't survive it though.


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Postby Type16 » Thu Sep 03, 2009 4:45 pm

Has anybody got a picture of one of those ratchety things used to raise / lower cauldrons over a fire?
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Postby Colin Middleton » Thu Sep 03, 2009 5:16 pm

Ben_Fletcher wrote:
Colin Middleton wrote:Another load of pictures. This time from the Medieval Panorama, edited by Robert Bartlett.


Do you have full references for any of these images?

E.G. what the Flemish manuscript is?


There may be a list of illustrations with more details in the back of the book, but I doubt it (the book is more pictures than words). I'll try to take a look before the weekend is over.


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