Championing Craft Skills
One of our aims at The Churches Conservation Trust is to promote and keep alive the traditional building and crafts skills that many of our extraordinary heritage buildings rely on for survival. Through our conservation work we support the livelihoods of hundreds of highly skilled artisans and conservators and also run hands-on training courses and events to share our conservation knowledge and promote specialist craft skills.
Our most recent heritage craft skills day took place last week in a church built from recycled Roman and Anglo-Saxon masonry - St Andrew's at Wroxeter in Shropshire. The site, filled as it is with Norman sculpture, medieval stained glass, Elizabethan monuments and Georgian box pews, was the perfect place to showcase the multitude of skills and trades it takes to look after our churches and other heritage buildings.
With a Roman city just down the road, the weather was suitably Mediterranean as craftspeople, volunteers, CCT members, staff and enthusiasts descended on St Andrew’s in late May for a day celebrating traditional building skills.
Attendees had the opportunity to watch expert craftspeople explain and demonstrate their skills, before rolling up their sleeves and having a go themselves! The lime-cycle was ably explained by Lime Green Ltd, while expert conservator Lizzy Hippisley-Cox demonstrated stained glass repair. Simon Harper of the Shropshire Oak Carpentry Company explored the principles of timber-framed construction, while Treasure and Sons made intricate stone carving look simple.
We now incorporates skills demonstration days such as this into all major conservation projects. They are a wonderful introduction to the traditional heritage crafts that built the country. Skills which have been passed down the generations for centuries, skills which are vital to our work in repairing England’s historic churches and skills which must be supported.
For a taste of what the day involved, see our short video: