New series of free heritage skills training sessions launches as part of Wisbech High Street Project

Princes Foundation Summer School 2019 Student
Lincoln Conservation

An exciting new series of free, traditional construction and heritage skills training sessions have been launched as part of Fenland District Council’s National Lottery-supported Wisbech High Street Project.

The project, which is funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Townscape Heritage scheme, is delighted to have commissioned Lincoln Conservation to deliver a programme of Traditional Construction and Repairs Skills Training sessions – initially online and later in person in Wisbech once Covid restrictions allow.

The next session is a free online talk about architectural stone carving within the conservation sector. It is being held via Microsoft Teams on Tuesday, 8 June, at 7pm, with a live recording of the talk being made available afterwards via the project’s YouTube channel.

The talk will be led by Alex Wenham, a prizewinning stone carver based in Oxford, specialising in the repair and replacement of historic carved detail for conservation projects.  He has worked on stone buildings of every century from the 11th to the 21st, and has been fortunate to provide carved detail for many prestigious buildings in the UK and France, including the Houses of Parliament, St Paul’s Cathedral, Château de Versailles, Chartres Cathedral, the Louvre among many others.

During the session, Alex will discuss his experience with architectural stone carving within the conservation sector, looking at some case studies of projects he has worked on.  He will also look at some more general problems and grey areas in conservation ethics and the treatment of damage to historic carvings, and host a discussion of some of these issues, as well as answering any other questions.

To book your free place on the talk, email Fenland District Council’s Townscape Heritage Officer Taleyna Fletcher on tfletcher@fenland.gov.uk. You will then be added to the list of participants.

All the forthcoming sessions will be aimed at beginner level and be free of charge, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund through the Wisbech High Street Project. They will be held around once a month up to July 2022 and available to everyone, although people living in and around Wisbech will be given priority for places where booking is required.

The Wisbech High Street Project and Lincoln Conservation have launched the sessions to help plug a gap in the availability of heritage construction training opportunities across the East of England. They will be aimed at anyone interested in developing their construction career, local property owners keen to learn about the techniques employed in the repair and maintenance of their own buildings or anyone just interested in learning about a new subject.

Working with heritage skills specialists from across the UK, Lincoln Conservation will deliver talks, workshops and sessions covering a wide range of built heritage topics, including:

  • Stained glass
  • Joinery
  • Stonemasonry
  • Bricks and tiles
  • Specialist decorating and gilding
  • Wallpapers
  • Filmmaking
  • Digital heritage
  • Climate change
  • Pest management

Cllr Chris Seaton, Fenland District Council’s Portfolio Holder responsible for Heritage, said: “There is a lot of public passion and appreciation for historic buildings, but unfortunately there is a nationwide shortage of the specialist skills needed to preserve them.

“These taster sessions seek to address the lack of heritage construction training in the region, delivering free, practical talks and workshops to residents who may go on to seek further training or property owners interested in learning how to look after their buildings.”

Lincoln Conservation is a conservation consultancy and practice specialising in decorative surfaces and digital heritage in the built environment. Based at the University of Lincoln, they are dedicated to ensuring that training and education in the field of history and heritage can be accessed by a wide range of people at all levels.

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