2014 IHBC School: main sponsors welcomed – CgMs

cgms logo

The Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) is delighted to announce CgMs consulting, planning and heritage specialist consultants, as the main sponsor for the IHBC’s 2014 Annual School, which will take place in Edinburgh on 5-7 June on the theme of ‘The Art of Conservation’. 

IHBC President Trefor Thorpe said: ‘We’re delighted to be able to welcome CgMS as School sponsors for 2014.  I know they’ll receive great value from their investment – from the chance to welcome delegates to the School itself, to getting a strong profile on our diverse publications and digital networks.’

‘This year, for example, we’ll be including the sponsor’s logo in the School notice on the back page of the IHBC’s ‘Yearbook’, which will then go out to more than 5000 key users across the sector.  With that, and 7000 and more members on our digital and social networks, the value we offer sponsors is pretty unique.’

‘So if you do want to know more about sponsorship opportunities at the Edinburgh School, do please get in touch with the IHBC as soon as you can.’

Jason Clemons, Director, Historic Buildings at CgMs said: ‘CgMs is delighted to be the principal sponsor of the 2014 Annual School. We consider this is the most important event in the conservation calendar and are grateful for the opportunity to be involved this year.’

‘The IHBC is the key organisation for all those involved in the historic environment.  CgMs is pleased to be able to show its support for the work of the IHBC; its professionalism, its contribution to national policy and legislation, its strong lead on issues such as VAT, and the wider support it provides for its members.’

‘This year’s theme covers an exciting aspect of the work of the conservation professional and I am personally very much looking forward to attending this year.  I would urge all those considering booking a place to do so without delay, you will not regret it!’

IHBC Annual School: Edinbirgh 2014

Planning Resource profile article on speaker Mike Galloway

For sponsorship opportunities there contact Fiona Newton at projects@ihbc.org.uk and CLICK HERE

CgMs Consulting

CgMs Heritage Services

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New British Standard 7913 launch welcomed by IHBC

The new standard for building conservation, ‘BS 7913: Guide to the conservation of historic buildings’, was launched formally in Somerset House on Monday 10 March, with a range of IHBC-linked contributors and advisers among those welcoming it. 

IHBC Director Sean O’Reilly said: ‘It is great that the Institute could play such an active role in progressing this key document for conservation standards.  It goes without saying that standards are a central concern for any professional body.  So, as the IHBC serves in that role for conservation specialists from a huge variety of backgrounds, the re-write of BS 7913 was an especially welcome opportunity for us to help practitioners from all backgrounds through our contributions there.’

John Edwards, Assistant Director at Cadw and a Full Member of the IHBC, who led the re-writing of BS 7913, said: ‘This new standard not only provides good up to date guidance, but also provides an authoritative reference to support arguments for the application of best practice.’

BSI writes:
We launched BS 7913 Guide to the conservation of historic buildings at Somerset House on 10 March 2014.

Delegates heard from our Committee on all the work they have done on BS 7913 and the importance of industry standards for the conservation of cultural heritage.

Our Committee includes experts from organizations such as The Institute of Historic Building Conservation, The Institution of Civil Engineers, The International Council on Monuments and Sites, The Royal Institute of British Architects, The Institute of Conservation and many others.

BS 7913 describes best practice in the management and treatment of historic buildings. It applies to historic buildings with and without statutory protection. BS 7913 will take you through all stages from initially looking at a building through to the completion of appropriate work. It also guides you with information and sign posts to other resources.

Download the presentation on the BSI

See photos of the event

Download presentations 

Previous newsblogs on BS7913

Purchase and download the new BS7913

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IHBC & partners: VAT relief update

The Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC), The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) and others in the ‘Cut the VAT Campaign’ have been promoting further their evidence on the positive effects of a VAT reduction on repairs.

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) writes:
A VAT reduction on housing renovation and repair could boost the UK economy by more than £15 billion from 2015 to 2020 according to a new independent research report by Experian. This reduction could also create more than 95,000 jobs and save 240,000 tonnes of CO2 from thousands of homes.

The report is backed by more than 60 charities, trade associations, business groups and financial institutions that are united in calling on all three main political parties to commit to this VAT reduction in their 2015 General Election manifestos.

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), said: ‘A VAT reduction on housing renovation and repair work will empower home owners to contribute to growth, jobs and greener homes without placing a burden on the Treasury. There is no other proposal that will help the UK achieve so many of its economic, environmental and social aims with so little cost to the public purse. This research shows that the wider benefits of a VAT reduction on housing renovation and repair would stimulate more than £15 billion of wider economic activity, which completely overshadows any direct losses to Treasury coffers due to a drop in the percentage charged for VAT. Berry added: ‘It is a myth that EU law prevents the UK government from reducing VAT on housing renovation and repair. This research report clearly shows that almost half of EU member states are currently enjoying the economic, environmental and social benefits that this VAT reduction can bring. Why should the UK not follow suit?’

Nigel Rees, Chief Executive of the Glass and Glazing Federation, said: ‘We are impressed with this research report and urge the government to now take the necessary action. As the report shows, reducing VAT from 20% to 5% on housing renovation and repair has significant long terms gains, not only for economic growth and job creation, but also for carbon reduction, as many contemporary home improvements will include the installation of energy efficient products.’

Ray Horwood, Chief Executive of the National Federation of Roofing Contractors, said: ‘There are a range of complementary reasons for this sensible reduction in VAT on housing renovation and repair that play to government objectives and overall consumer expectations. The strong leadership message this sends to all political parties would, in addition, be a boost and clear message of support to the responsible and qualified SME firms that will undertake this work.’

Mike Brown, Chair of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation, said: ‘The care and maintenance of our heritage buildings is often crafts-based and, as such, labour intensive, so a reduction in VAT will help support those skills and thousands of jobs across the sector. The case for the reduction in VAT is particularly important in making the difference between a historic building being saved or being unviable.

Brown added: ‘On top of that, more affordable day to day care and maintenance would help save countless older buildings from the destructive and costly cycle of decay and restoration, allowing diminishing resources to be directed towards delivering better informed energy conservation measures, compatible with the fabric of the building.’

The Heritage Alliance (THA) highlight the following main issues of concern:
The UK Government’s VAT regime disadvantages work to existing buildings by adding 20% to repair, maintenance and adaptation work – yet promotes new build with a zero rate.

This is the biggest threat to the future of our heritage. Repair and maintenance is vital. Sympathetic adaptation is now the primary strategy for securing the future of our historic buildings.

  1. Listed buildings are not the prerogative of the rich. Over 80% of our listed building are lived in by people from socio economic backgrounds B – E. They do not get grants, nor can they claim back VAT like commercial companies.
  2. The vast number of older properties even though not listed, give the UK its distinctive character much prized by domestic and international tourists.
  3. Older buildings are distributed all over the country, most of the work carried on them is by small and medium-size enterprises that make huge contributions to local economies.

Recent flooding conditions have also brought the burden of VAT on alterations to the news headlined, with several national news reports of the impact of additional costs reported by the Guardian and Sunday Telegraph collated by the Cut the VAT campaign.

Previous IHBC newsblogs on VAT

The Cut the VAT Campaign writes:
We’ve received some excellent press coverage for our campaign proposal over the past few weeks – here are some of the highlights in case you missed any of them:

- Call for PM to stop taxman’s £85million ‘profit’ on flood misery, Sunday Express, 16 February 2014

- Campaign to stop VAT hit on £10billion floods repair bill, Sunday Express, 16 February 2014

- Consider VAT cut to help flood victims, Vince Cable tells George Osborne, The Daily Telegraph, 20 February 2014

- If the Dutch can drop VAT on flooding, why can’t we?, Sunday Express, 23rd February 2014

- VAT: how government can create a sustainable supply chain, Guardian, 26 February 2014

- VAT cut ‘would boost economy by £15bn’, Builder and Engineers, 4 March 2014

- Reduce VAT on housing repairs to save £15bn, Inside Housing, 5 March 2014

- Watch: FMB calls for VAT cut on housing repair work, Construction News, 10 March 2014

FMB news release on VAT

THA article on VAT and traditional buildings

Cut The VAT collation of recent news reports on VAT

FMB/ Experian report on VAT

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IHBC welcomes EH NHPP consultation

The Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) has welcomed the launch of the English Heritage consultation programme on the future of the National Heritage Protection Plan (NHPP), including consultation events and an online survey that closes on 2 May 2014. 

Mike Brown, IHBC Chair and NHPP vice-chair, said: ‘This consultation on the new NHPP is a great opportunity to get much-needed wider input to the plan as it enters this critical review stage.  The new plan must help us move the sector forward in what are very challenging times for us all.  So please do contribute to the plan’s development: it could make all the difference to how we look after, conserve and manage our heritage’.

EH writes:
A consultation on the National Heritage Protection Plan gives everyone an opportunity to say what matters in the historic environment and what is in danger of being lost.

The National Heritage Protection Plan (the Plan) brings together the work of the many organisations whose work helps safeguard England’s heritage. It has been in place since 2011 and runs until March next year. A public consultation is now open for what the priorities for the next plan should be, so this is an opportunity for individuals and organisations to ensure that what matters to them is considered for inclusion in the Plan.

The Plan aims to ensure that while helping to deliver positive and sustainable economic growth, England’s heritage:

• is not needlessly at risk of damage, erosion or loss;

• is experienced, understood and enjoyed by visitors and local communities;

• continues to provide memorable places where people live and work.

The Plan is co-ordinated by English Heritage and provides a common framework for all heritage organisations to work more effectively with each other. An external Advisory Board, which represents a wide range of organisations with interests in the historic environment, monitors and advises on the Plan.

For feedback context see: HERE

For the plan and links see: HERE

Do the online survey, which closes on 2 May 2014

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Parliamentary Motion on Scotland’s historic building stock: 19/03

Nigel Don, SNP MSP for Angus North and Mearns has proposed a parliamentary motion relating to the repair and upkeep of traditional buildings, to be raised on Wednesday 19 March 

The Scottish Parliament motion S4M-09069 states:
‘That the Parliament notes that Scotland’s traditional housing, including that in Angus North and Mearns, which was constructed prior to 1919, is the group of dwellings most likely to be in disrepair; recognises that Historic Scotland’s strategy for sustaining and developing traditional building skills focuses on promoting a better understanding of the value of traditional building skills; welcomes what it sees as this emphasis on traditional building skills in Scotland; notes the Scottish Government’s traditional building health check pilot scheme, which aims to address the state of the country’s housing stock, and considers that quality repairs will also tend to reduce fuel poverty’

The current motion has achieved cross party support. 

Request tickets for the 4- 6pm session on 19 March

View motions and amendments proposed (including the full motion S4M-09069)

Business for 19th March 2014

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DCMS calls for New Year Honours Nominations

Nominations for Queen’s Honours from the heritage sector, are being sought, with a deadline of 5 April 2014.

IHBC members who have more recently received honours include:

  • Colin Hatrick MBE for services to heritage in Northern Ireland
  • Donald Insall CBE for services to conservation architecture
  • Liz Davidson OBE for services to conservation and architectural heritage in Scotland

DCMS writes:
The Department for Culture Media and Sport has asked the heritage sector to identify potential candidates from within the UK heritage and conservation sectors for the 2015 New Years Honours list.

Since the Order of the British Empire was founded, there were more women on the entire 2014 New Years Honours list than men – 611 to 584. DCMS would like to thank those organisations who have helped bring more female candidates forward in 2014, and are very keen to match, if not increase, these numbers for the 2015 New Year Honours list. DCMS also asks the same for black and ethnic minority candidates.

The deadline for nominations for the 2015 New Year Honours list isFriday 5 April. Completed nominations should be emailed to NY15Noms@Culture.gsi.gov.uk.

IHBC newsblogs on honours

Information on honours system

DCMS honours information including explanatory leaflets

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234-year-old Armagh home demolished illegally

The owner of a 234-year-old Armagh house in a conservation area that was allegedly demolished without planning permission has said storm damage brought it down. 

The Belfast Telegraph writes:
Bronagh Curran, director of PC Construction and Development Ltd, said the former farmhouse in the city of Armagh posed a health and safety risk and had become ‘totally unstable’.

She hopes to rebuild it in the same style. The ‘White House’ is thought to have been built sometime between 1761 and 1835, as a farmhouse with outbuildings. It pre-dates the St Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral, one of its neighbours.

It was demolished on February 13 and building work began on the site. However, planners have now issued a stop notice.

Belfast Telegraph article

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Night raiders target historic church

THIEVES have stolen 40 flagstones from the grounds of a historic Warrington church currently struggling to raise money for a £1 million restoration project. 

Warrington-worldwide writes:
The raiders targeted St Oswald’s Church, Winwick after the hours of darkness – and disconnected the church floodlights to try and hide their activity.

However, they may have been disturbed by local residents out walking their dog as a white van was seen speeding away from the scene.

The Rector, Canon June Steventon said: ‘We are working so hard to keep the roof above our heads and the flags are stolen from under our feet!’

It was around 8.30pm on Saturday that the 40 flagstones were stolen from the north pathway of the church grounds.

Canon Steventon said: ‘This is sad news for the church and community of Winwick, who for over three years have been raising money to restore the Grade 1 Listed building following infestation by death watch beetle.

‘Originally estimated at £1 million to restore, the church has successfully completed the first phase, costing £419,000, and having secured English Heritage grant funding of £248,000 the second phase is due to start this month.

‘It really is disheartening. The community is pulling together to restore this wonderful building. It will take considerable time, money and effort to see this project to its completion. We estimate that we will need to raise a further £100,000 in addition to English Heritage funding.’

Police are investigating and anyone with information which could lead to the arrest of the offenders is asked to call them on 101, or via the anonymous Crimestoppers hotline 0800 555 111.

The earliest parts of the present church date from the early 13th century, but the building was damaged in 1648 when Oliver Cromwell stationed troops there after the Battle of Red Bank.

The spire was rebuilt and the church restored in 1869 and further restoration, to the tower, was carried out in 1931-32.

A new vestry, porch and entrance was added in 1934.

Donations for St. Oswald’s Church can be made on line via the church website www.stoswaldwinwick.com

Warrington Worldwide article

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Satisfaction in NI Planning Service Highest for 14 Years

The most recent survey undertaken by the Department of the Environment (DoE) into the Northern Ireland (NI) Planning Service has revealed high levels of customer satisfaction. 

The DoENI writes:
Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has welcomed a report that reveals the highest levels of satisfaction from users of the planning system since 2000.

The NI Planning Customer Satisfaction Survey 2012/13 report published today, details improvements in satisfaction with overall service from users of the planning system.

Much has been achieved but there is still much more to do. High levels of satisfaction were expressed with regard to handling queries, quality and clarity of advice, quality and timeliness of information received from DOE Planning and satisfaction with professionalism of planning staff.

Commenting on the report, Mark H Durkan said: This survey is encouraging, reflecting the changes that my predecessor implemented, changes that I will continue to improve upon in DOE Planning. It is heartening to see that the end user has acknowledged that these reforms are working in their best interest.

‘What I and DOE are about is improving the level of service and professionalism we provide to our users. We will continue to strive to improve on these impressive results to help achieve my vision of creating a less complex, more effective and more user-focused system. All this can be achieved without compromising on environmental standards.’

The key findings from the report include:

  • In total, 67% of respondents were satisfied, or very satisfied, with the overall service they received from Planning during 2012/13. This is an improvement in the 61% overall satisfaction rating recorded when the survey was last run in 2010/11.
  • Approaching three quarters (73%) of respondents reported that they had obtained information from the Planning website, published guidance /information leaflets, divisional offices/staff etc before submitting an application. This compares with 69% of respondents in the 2010/11 survey.
  • Three quarters (75%) of respondents reported that their planning application took eight months or less to process to a decision.
  • Over four fifths (86%) of respondents rated the professionalism of planning staff as good or satisfactory.
  • Approximately three quarters of respondents rated the quality and the clarity of advice as good or satisfactory (77% and 74% respectively).
  • Over three quarters (77%) of respondents had used the Planning website. Of these, over four fifths (84%) rated it as good or satisfactory.

Press Release

NI Planning Statistics Report

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Wind farm fails on heritage grounds

An appeal by Peel Energy over the rejection of a nine-turbine wind farm proposed for a former mine site near Melton, Leicestershire, has been refused because of the impact on a nearby church.

The Asfordby wind farm scheme had been refused by Melton Borough Council before becoming the subject of a recovered appeal after Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced he would be reviewing how wind farm applications were dealt with by inspectors. This decision went against the advice of the planning inspector involved.

The Secretary of State concluded that, in this case, the ‘substantial harm to the significance of the setting of St Bartholomew’s Church, coupled with the harm by reason of impact on other heritage assets, landscape, residential amenity and recreational amenity clearly outweigh the need for the proposal and its wider economic benefits’.

Jonathan England, Peel Energy’s development director said: ‘We are disappointed and surprised about the Secretary of State’s decision and we will now consider our options before making a decision about how to proceed.’

Search Planning Portal

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Churches affected by flooding gain funding to help with repairs

Eleven churches affected by recent floods have been awarded funding by DCMS and the Churches Conservation Trust to help with essential repairs

DCMS writes:
The funding will go to those areas worst hit from Dorset and Devon in the South West to Norwich and East Bradenham in the East of England, including:

  • St George’s, Dorset
  • All Saints, Nether Cerne, Dorset
  • Holy Trinity, Torbryan, Devon
  • St Martin’s, Lincolnshire
  • St George, Goltho, Lincolnshire
  • St Andrew, Hove, Brighton
  • St Nicholas, Feltwell, Norfolk
  • St Augustine, Norwich, Norfolk
  • St Mary, East Bradenham, Norfolk
  • St Thomas, Bristol
  • All Saints, Shorncote, Gloucestershire

Crispin Truman, chief executive, The Churches Conservation Trust said: ‘Inevitably the recent extreme weather has hit a number of our historic churches around the country with issues from serious flooding and water ingress to wind damage causing holes to appear in church roofs. As a charity these unexpected urgent repairs create a financial burden so we are extremely grateful to be receiving emergency funding from the Department for Culture Media and Sport in order to help us repair the damage quickly’

DCMS Press release

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Petney Priory saved from the Buildings At Risk register

English Heritage funding has helped secure the removal of a Grade I listed 14th Century Norfolk gatehouse from the buildings at risk register.

English Heritage writes:
This Grade I listed gatehouse and scheduled monument is now set to be removed from English Heritage’s ‘Heritage At Risk’ register following major structural repairs and a new roof, partly funded by a substantial repair grant from English Heritage.

The site has been on English Heritage’s ‘at risk’ register since it was first published in 1998 and it is one of the top 10 priority sites in the East of England. Although recognised as an iconic local landmark, it was recently found to be in danger of imminent collapse, with falling masonry and leaking walls. Temporary internal scaffolding had to be put in place to brace the unsupported external walls. The priority was not only to save the gatehouse but also to find a use and sustainable future for the building. A well-informed and collaborative approach to the conservation work has lead to a beautiful restoration project involving traditional craft building skills. The owners are currently developing plans to open the gatehouse to the public.

John Ette, English Heritage’s Principle Heritage at Risk Adviser for the East of England, said: ‘Securing a future for this remarkable medieval gatehouse has been a top priority and I am delighted at the results. Our advice and expertise together with the dedication shown by the site’s owners Howard Barber and Dita Lee, has transformed this ruin into a building that will be enjoyed by generations to come.’

Howard Barber, owner of Pentney Priory, said: ‘A four year project is now drawing to a wonderful conclusion, and we are proud to present this beautiful building to the public. Not only it is a testament of past achievements, but it is also a narrative of what can be accomplished by today’s craftsmen when they have the support of a partnership between English Heritage and the owners of these national important assets.’

Pentney Priory was founded around 1130 by Robert De Vaux, and was one of the wealthier monastic communities in Norfolk. It was built on low-lying land in the Nar Valley and the site was linked to the river by a canal. The gatehouse was built in the 14th century as the principle entrance to the Priory complex. The external walls stand to their full height and retain important architectural detail.

EH news article

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Report on the value of arts and culture published

Arts Council England have released a new report this month, entitled ‘The value of arts and culture to people and society – an evidence review’,that undertakes quantitative and qualitative studies into the value of arts and culture to society, helping raise the profile of culture as a strategic resource.

The evidence review highlights several points likely to be of interest to IHBC members, under the themes of society, education, health and wellbeing and economy:

  • 10 million visits to the UK involved engagement in arts and culture in 2011
  • Participation in arts and culture can reduce social exclusion
  • £753.8 million was added to the Liverpool economy through the 2008 Capital of Culture celebrations
  • Britain’s cultural and heritage attractions generate £4.5 billion of spend annually, sustaining over 100,000 jobs
  • 60% of people are more likely to report good health if they have attended a cultural place or event in the last 12 months

Arts Council England are encouraging the public to contribute further to the debate and comment on the review via Twitter using the hashtag #artsculturevalue or their account @ace_national

Infographic highlighting key findings

Full report

Read the press release

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War memorials listing commemorates WW1 women

The Culture Minister for Women and Equalities backed the current English Heritage programme of listing of up to 500 war memorials a year to mark the centenary of the First World War, with the most recent addition being at Salisbury Road in York.

EH writes:
The Leeman Road District war memorial in Salisbury Rd, York has been listed at Grade II.  The English Heritage scheme has the backing of Culture Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, Maria Miller, who leads for the Government on First World War commemorations. She announced the listing yesterday, 6 March, while speaking at an event at the Imperial War Museum to mark International Women’s Day 2014 and to open a discussion about the role of women in the First World War. The Leeman Road District war memorial was built to a distinctive bespoke design in 1925 and lists the names of more than 70 local men, and unusually, three women. The local women were munitions workers killed in an accidental explosion at the Barnbow shell filling factory in Leeds in December 1916. In total 35 women lost their lives in the explosion.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller said: ‘This centenary comes at a point where living memory becomes written history, so it is absolutely essential that our work to mark it speaks clearly to young people in particular. War Memorials are a precious part of our heritage that keeps alive the ultimate sacrifice that so many made. It is absolutely right that we cherish and protect them’.

Roger Bowdler, Designation Director at English Heritage, said: ‘Researching, recording and recommending up to 2,500 more war memorials for listing over the next five years is a major task but one that English Heritage is proud to undertake. These memorials will gain a place on the National Heritage List for England to tell the story of this country’s role in the First World War, and to ensure that they are properly looked after in times to come.’

War Memorials Trust is working in partnership with English Heritage to encourage applications to list war memorials and wants people to report war memorials in poor condition so that it can help get these memorials repaired. Find out more on how to care for your local war memorial.

Maria Miller added: ‘Whether we have relatives whose names are on local memorials, or who fought alongside those who died, we all have a connection with remembrance. I would urge everyone to make sure their local memorial is in good condition. If it isn’t, then English Heritage, War Memorials Trust and the Heritage Lottery Fund all have grants and advice available.’

EH news release

The War Memorials Trust guidance on caring for war memorials

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CADW’s apprentices tell their stories

Cadwraeth Cymru apprentices have been testing their skills using traditional repair techniques in stonemasonry and carpentry across Wales and tales of getting into traditional construction and repairing and maintaining historic monuments

Cadw writes:
Using techniques developed thousands of years ago, having Wales’s amazing heritage in your hands and cutting stone in an environment where power tools are strictly forbidden — it’s all in a day’s work for an apprentice with Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service.

Whether it’s constructing a bridge into an ancient castle, restoring 500-year-old Tudor doors or rebuilding farm walls, everything has to be done with extreme care by Cadwraeth Cymru, Cadw’s specialist conservation team which is responsible for 129 historic sites across Wales.

The team at Cadwraeth Cymru, which translates as Conservation Wales, are well known for their skill and pride of work, and are passing these qualities down to the next generation of craftspeople through apprenticeship schemes.

‘I did my apprenticeship 20 years ago and a lot has changed since then,’ said Gwynfor Olsen, a Conservation Work Supervisor based in north Wales.

‘There’s more of a philosophy behind conservation these days. We are far more aware that what we are doing may be improved upon in the future and we use materials that will make it easier for that work to be done.

‘It’s important that Cadw is leading the field in demonstrating best practice in heritage conservation, and it’s great that our apprentices are gaining experience during this time.’

Read the full story in the CADW Press Release

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