Scholarship

PLEASE NOTE: As with many other face to face opportunities, this year's Scholarship programme has unfortunately been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will resume in 2021 with the the three Scholars chosen for 2020. We are now looking for expressions of interest in our 2022 programme.

"A unique opportunity to combine my love of historic buildings, travel and meeting new people. It enabled me to develop my own conservation philosophy based on the many different approaches we saw and the people we met. I feel very inspired and excited to continue my career as a conservation engineer."

- Triona Byrne, 2016 Scholar

Since 1930 the SPAB’s Lethaby Scholarship has offered an unrivalled training opportunity to architects, surveyors and engineers in the early stages of their career to travel countrywide together, learning on site from architects and specialist craftspeople working in building conservation. Many Scholars are now among the leading conservation experts in the UK and overseas, looking after a wide range of historic buildings and sites.

Funding

Three or four Scholarships are awarded each year, depending on funding. There is no course fee and Scholars will receive a bursary in the region of £8600 to cover basic travel and living costs. Supplementary finance is usually required. Running between March and December, the nine-month full-time programme is highly rewarding but intensive (including some weekends) and it is not possible to combine it with work or other forms of study.

Programme

The majority of the nine-month programme is undertaken on site through visits guided by experts, with support from a SPAB mentor. There are no formal lectures or essay submissions, though Scholars are required to make periodic verbal reports and to submit a selection from their sketchbook at the end of the programme. The first six months of the Scholarship follow a programme arranged by the SPAB. The final three months (the Plunket Scholarship) give Scholars the opportunity to explore in depth a theme of their choosing relating to the history, arts and allied crafts of the country house.

Scholars observe and experience traditional techniques and sympathetic repair in situ and visit structures of every age, size and style. The SPAB favours a hands-on approach, giving Scholars chance to try skills such as timber framing, thatching, blacksmithing and stone masonry, and to travel from time to time with the SPAB Fellows (craftspeople).

The SPAB recruits Scholars and Fellows on merit and is committed to eliminating discrimination and encouraging diversity in the sector.  We particularly welcome applications by people from backgrounds under-represented in building conservation (such as those from a low socio-economic background, women and black and minority ethnic communities).

Please note that the offer of a SPAB Scholarship is subject to the applicant providing evidence of their right to live and work in the UK. The SPAB is not a registered sponsor body for the purpose of visa applications.  Applicants from outside the UK and Ireland should check their eligibility for a UK visa before applying to the scheme. Information can be found on the government website.

Read more about our Scholars and Fellows on our blog. Please feel free to contact us to discuss your application: catharine.bull@spab.org.uk.

Get involved

Current Scholars

Our 2020 Scholars are: 

  • Lucy Newport, a structural engineer
  • Amy Redman, architect
  • Libby Watts, architect

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they are unable to start their programme this year and will instead commence in 2021.

How to apply for the 2022 Scholarship

Architects, building surveyors and structural engineers who have completed formal training and have experience working in their field are eligible. Check this page for details of 2022 recruitment (TBC) or subscribe for alerts. Get in touch with any questions.

Support the Scholarship

The SPAB is grateful to all donors and sponsors who support the Scholarship programme and make it possible for us to continue offering this unique, hands-on learning experience. The Scholarship was founded to ensure the passing down of skills and knowledge to the next generation of building professionals entrusted with the care of our old buildings. 

Interested in hosting the Scholars and Fellows? Contact us

Supporters

We are grateful to all the supporters who make the Scholarship programme possible: The Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire SPAB Regional Group, Dance Scholarship TrustDrake Trust, The Cathedral Architects AssociationFenton Arts Trust, Historic England, The John Vickers Charitable Trust, Patrick Plunket Memorial Trust, West Midlands Architects Conservation Group, Wheler Foundation, Donors to the 2019 Sponsor a Scholar for a Day campaign.