2020-21 SPAB Fellows complete the programme

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Our 2021 Fellows Toby, Thom, Tom and Oliver have now completed their programme of craft training. The Fellowship fosters outstanding craftspeople with the skills for working with historic buildings.

Receiving their certificates with Fellowship officer Pip Soodeen

This year the Fellows visited over 90 building sites, workshops and studios to learn from experts including Hampton Court Palace, Durham Cathedral, Stirling Castle and Manchester Town Hall.

We are especially grateful to our dedicated hosts and funders for supporting us in this difficult year. Toby Slater (carpenter and millwright), Thom Taylor (conservator and bell founder), Oliver Beatson (carpenter) and Tom Skinner (conservation builder) became a close knit, resilient group who honed skills in crafts such as letter cutting, timber frame repair, gilding, stone carving and many others. 

Toby says: “The SPAB Fellowship has been an amazing journey and I have had the privilege of meeting some of the most skilled and inspiring craftspeople. It has ignited new interests and passions which I will continue to explore long after the Fellowship is finished.”

Tom says: “The SPAB Fellowship is an utterly unique immersive experience. The time spent witnessing craftspeople at work over the last six months has been inspiring. The enthusiasm, knowledge and dedication they have for their conservation crafts has made me even more committed to further my education and training.”  

Thom Taylor making roofing shakes with previous Fellow Tom Dunbar

Thom says: “To be able to carry out the SPAB Fellowship is an absolute honour. For someone who is aiming to be multiskilled in the historic built environment it has been ideal – every day useful, every day as enjoyable as the last. There is no better way of learning than doing and working alongside some of the people I have met. I have more confidence and more knowledge, and a better idea of what further knowledge I want to gain.”  

Oliver says: “The Fellowship has opened my eyes to the conservation world and I feel my philosophy has changed for the better. There are many ways to do a job right, the way you do it is what feels more natural to yourself for the best results. It has been lovely to work with master craftswomen and craftsmen. The work we have experienced and tried first hand has been truly inspiring.”

Fellows Oliver Beatson and Tom Skinner work together at Ratho Byres Forge, Edinburgh.

Our 2021 Fellows offer tremendous encouragement to the next generation as they absorb the experiences of the past eight months. Oliver begins a new role at Historic Environment Scotland, Toby completes his millwrighting placements at City & Guilds Art School and with millwright Karl Grevatt, Thom extends his Fellowship with some independent placements and Tom returns to work in timber framing.

Since 1987 this prestigious scheme has run in parallel with our Scholarship for architects, surveyors and engineers.  Find out more about the Fellowship

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