IHBC’s CPD Boost, out of Context: Conservation of timber buildings – technique, archive, philosophy

The most recent issue of Context, No 162, devoted to the heritage of New Towns offers  a peek into an archive of timber conservation history, through the records of the practice of FWB and Mary Charles Chartered Architects, a fascinating example of evolving conservation techniques, and meticulous record keeping.

image: Context 162, p41 – Worcestershire County Council, Charles Archive Collection

Tegan Cornah, Tim Cornah, Emily Hathaway and Sheena Payne Lunn write:

FWB ‘Freddie’ Charles (1912–2002) was an architect and nationally recognised expert on the conservation and repair of timber-framed buildings. He and his wife, architect Mary Charles (nee Logan, 1924–2005), set up a private practice, initially based in Bromsgrove and then in Worcester, that eventually specialised in the conservation and restoration of historic timber-framed buildings.

Throughout their long careers Freddie and Mary were involved in the restoration of many important buildings, including the Ancient High House in Stafford, the Old White Hart Inn, Newark (Notts) and over 250 buildings in Worcestershire, many of them of national importance….

… The archive has immense value for the individual buildings documented, as it includes detailed surveys and photographic records. The comprehensive records of restoration and conservation already undertaken will inform the future management and care of these buildings, around two thirds of which are listed. The archive also tracks the development of the historic building conservation profession, including Freddie’s pioneering, and often controversial, approach to conserving, renovating and restoring timber-framed buildings.

Freddie’s most important legacy to architectural conservation was the requirement for any building conservator to understand the form and structure of the building….

It is clear that Freddie Charles was an uncompromising and passionate individual….

View the full article including illustrated worked examples of the approaches taken

Find out more about the project 

Reading Context helps IHBC members develop their skills across all of the IHBC’s Areas of Competence, and so is a critical baseline in addressing priorities in Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

To access Context:

  • IHBC Members: See your postbox, if you don’t already have it by your desk or bed
  • Non-members: Go to the Context Archive

If you have any suggestions for Context articles or other material contact Mike Taylor at: editorial@ihbc.org.uk

See information on Context’s future issues, guidance for authors

Access the online archive

See more IHBC background and guidance on IHBC CPD and on how you might use past, current and future issues of Context

See the formal guidance paper on IHBC CPD(scheduled for update)

See more on the IHBC Competences and Areas of Competence

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