Since 1930 the SPAB has organised a unique nine month training programme in practical building conservation. The Society feels that the best way to learn about construction methods, building materials, their performance and the range of methods of repair available today is out on site.
Follow our blog, Scholars and Fellows, all about this year’s successful candidates. We’ll be posting soon to keep you up to date as they travel the country together, gaining hands on experience in building conservation.
Three or four scholarships are awarded each year, depending on funding available.
The closing date for applications is 1st December of the preceding year. The successful candidates start their Scholarships in mid-March. Please do contact the SPAB for more details.
The 2012 Scholars, who completed their scholarships just before Christmas are:
Charlie de Bono, Architect
Justin McAteer, Engineer
Henry Sanders, Architect
The 2013 Scholars, who will begin their programme on 18th March are: Richard Prest, architect Conor Meehan, engineer Hannah Reynolds, architect
Ross Perkin, architect
*Please note that it is not a source of funding for those engaged in any other course of study.*
The oldest of the British national amenity societies, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings introduced the first post-graduate specialist training in building conservation in the 1930s.
The founding members of the Society, who advocated a policy of sensitive, conservative repair (rather than restoration), realised they needed to demonstrate how this could be put into practice, and that it would be necessary to pass this knowledge on. The architect Philip Webb was the leading light of this group and a number of young architects trained under his guidance. They discussed major repair problems with him, worked on his sites alongside the craftsmen and took responsibility for the day to day supervision of the work.
In 1930, with financial support from the Royal Institute of British Architects, the SPAB decided to award £60 for a Scholarship to a young architect to study "the methods of repair now become traditional among the architect and builder members of the Society", and it was named the Lethaby Scholarship in memory of Professor W R Lethaby.
The Society remains convinced that the best way to learn about construction methods, building materials and their performance, and the range of methods of repair available today, is out on site.
Today former Scholars are among the leading conservation experts in the United Kingdom, looking after some of the foremost buildings in Britain. Some are cathedral architects, some look after palaces, National Trust houses or English Heritage scheduled monuments. Some Scholars, conversely, have devoted their careers to relatively minor buildings, such as abandoned medieval churches or vernacular agricultural buildings, producing work of the highest quality.
The Scholarships, which have no equivalent in Britain in either the formal or informal education system, are highly respected by employers as a training in building conservation.
How does the Scholarship work?
For the first six months the Scholars travel as a group. They meet professional consultants on site with whom they can discuss every aspect of the work. From time to time they work alongside contractors and craftsmen.
Visits to brickyards, quarries, sawmills and so on are included and Scholars spend time with craftsmen/women in their workshops and studios.
Sites visited depend on the type of work being undertaken in the UK at the time as well as reflecting the needs and interests of the Scholars themselves.
The last three months is a period of country house studies.
The course is full time, including some weekends, and it is impossible to combine it with any other form of study or employment. Candidates need to be aware that there will be long periods when they are away from home.
The programme runs from mid-March to Christmas. There are no course fees as training and administrative costs are borne by the SPAB. Successful candidates will receive an award to cover basic travel and living costs.
The Scholars of 2010 discuss their year
Who can apply for a Scholarship?
Young architects, building surveyors and structural engineers who have completed the college-based part of their courses (eg RIBA Parts I & II for architects), ideally with two or three years work experience.
Similarly qualified overseas candidates are eligible provided they have excellent English language skills. If shortlisted all candidates must be willing to attend an interview in London at their own expense.
How to apply:
For full details and an application form please write to the: