In 2012, a conversation with Andy Clements, BTO director, reinvigorated the idea of installing Swift boxes at the Nunnery in Thetford. The most suitable buildings are Grade 2 listed, resulting in a protracted process, taking 4 years to get permission, and not inconsiderable expense. However, the persistence of David Agombar finally succeeded, so we, Action for Swifts, designed, built and installed 6 boxes on the east-facing chapel, together with an attraction call system and timer switch.
The requirements were for the boxes to be unobtrusive, to be painted a colour that matched the stonework and to not be attached to the stonework. It was also required that access doors be provided for BTO scientists to monitor the boxes for nest recording purposes.
The chapel has open eaves with protruding roof joists, providing a convenient space for boxes between adjacent pairs of joists. Two prototype boxes were built of which one, in discussion with the architect, John Atkins of Thetford, was chosen as the template for the boxes.
The width and depth of these spaces varied widely so 6 custom made boxes were made, all with different dimensions. The paint used was Sandtex Mid Stone - a colour intended to match stonework.
The boxes are attached to the building by removing the bottom of the box, inserting 2 screws each side into the joists, then replacing the bottom.
Should Swifts occupy these boxes, then we have permission for 10 boxes, so a further 4 boxes may be added in the future.
The AfS team comprised Bruce Martin, Bill Murrells and Dick Newell
The following pictures should be self explanatory
|6 boxes before installation|
|6 boxes installed|
|3 boxes at the north end, with tweeter on the left box|
|Close up of 1 box|
|Bill Murrells, Bruce Martin and David Agombar|