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05th April - 13:23
Metalworker Ross Buckley, 33, stonemason Naz Dmiuterko, 25, and stonemason Gary Holliday, 32 are the latest recruits to a unique educational scheme designed to nurture and develop the hands-on skills needed to care for old buildings. Chosen as the 2018 William Morris Craft Fellows, the talented group has now begun the countrywide conservation ‘grand tour’. Since 1987 the SPAB (Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings) has organised the Fellowship to foster a new generation of outstanding craftspeople with the knowledge and expertise to pass on essential skills for working with historic materials. The prestigious scheme runs in parallel to the SPAB’s Scholarship programme for architectural / building professionals. The aim is for the Fellows to gain broad, practical experience and knowledge to enable them to bring a strong awareness of craft diversity to their future professional roles. The Fellowship also equips them with the skills necessary to lead and manage historic building contracts, while deepening their understanding of the importance of gentle repair - the keystone of the SPAB approach. In March, our 2018 Fellows (and Scholars) began their six-month itinerary of site, workshop and studio visits. Starting with a week in the south east of England they have visited projects at Westminster Abbey and Hampton Court Palace, as well as small-scale projects in central London. The group will move further afield over the next six months visiting castles in the Inner Hebrides, timber-framing in Sussex and slating in Lincolnshire. They will visit significant conservation projects, workshops and studios in all parts of the country where they will learn about traditional building techniques from skilled craftsmen and women who have already established careers in the field. Interest in craft building skills is steadily increasing as people turn to more sustainable and traditional methods of construction. Yet, ironically, these same skills are under threat as fewer young people are encouraged to pursue careers in these areas. Nationally, heritage bodies are concerned that there are simply not enough people training to continue Britain’s distinctive buildings crafts and each year SPAB’s Fellowship becomes more relevant. Three or four Fellowships are awarded each year depending on available funding. As usual, the SPAB’s 2018 Fellows are a committed and talented group (see biographies below) with each individual looking to enhance a particular skill and further their knowledge of traditional craft techniques. ENDS   2018 Fellows’ Biographies ROSS BUCKLEY         Metalworker, G Filer Engineering, Isle of Wight     Age: 33 Training:     A Levels Product Design, Music & Physics, Sandown High School   2003 - 2005     Bachelor of Music, Thames Valley College   2005 – 2008 Qualified Teacher Status, Sandown Bay Academy   2009 – 2010 Ross has had an unconventional route into conservation: after working in the music industry he trained as a teacher and went on to teach wood and metal work to boys struggling with mainstream school. After leaving this role he moved on to an engineering workshop, Filer Engineering, where he immersed himself in all aspects of metalwork: welding, fabrication, machining and associated building work. At Filer Engineering Ross was given the opportunity to work on prestigious buildings on the Isle of Wight that he admired growing up. Most notably he worked on the Cowes’ 80 ton Babcock and Wilcox hammerhead crane that was on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register. Ross was the site manager on this project for six months and here he met SPAB Scholar, Robert Williams who introduced him to the Fellowship. Ross has always had an interest in heritage; architectural, mechanical, industrial and steam. He hopes the Fellowship will give him the authority and confidence to question the corner cutting decisions he sometimes encounters on site. NAZ DMIUTERKO     Stonemason, Cliveden Conservation, Berkshire          Age: 25      Training:     Prince’s Foundation Young Heritage Apprenticeship   2016 – 2017 NVQ Lev3 & Adv Stonemasonry, Building Craft College, London   2013 – 2016 BETC National Diploma for IT Practitioners, Westminster College   2008 – 2011 After realising a career in IT was not for him, Naz took jobs labouring on different sites so he could explore different trades. Seeing someone carving stone on site, Naz loved the idea of working with such an enduring material and began pursuing this as a career. He studied for three years at the Building Crafts College in Stratford where was awarded the Best Advanced Masonry Student, Student of the Year and the Medal of Excellence. With this mentor he built porticos, ballast railings, fireplaces and worked on stone cladding. With the Prince’s Foundation Naz worked at Woodchester Mansion, Canterbury and Worcester Cathedrals, Westminster Abbey and Ridgeway Forge. The course also brought small teams of students to work together to build a series of farm buildings on the Dumfries estate. Since joining Cliveden Conservation, Naz has built a pedestal at Stowe, worked with flint and hot lime stabilising the ruins of Reading Abbey, and most recently repairing the London Wall bastion. Naz says the beauty, hard work and accuracy that goes into caring for historic buildings inspires him, he has become passionate about the projects he’s worked on and likes to think he leaves a little bit of himself behind. GARY HOLLIDAY         Stonemason, Durham Cathedral             Age: 32 Training:     City & Guilds NVQ Level 3 stonemasonry   2002 - 2005 Employment & Interests:     J.L.D. Stone, nr Durham   2001- 2005     Lambert Walker, Manchester   2005 - 2007 J.L.D. Stone   2007 - 2015 Durham Cathedral   2015 - 2017 Gary comes from a family of stone merchants involved in new build work but he chose to explore stone and historic buildings. He joined Lambert Walker, a specialist contractor dealing with historic building conservation, where he gained a reputation for being very knowledgeable and passionate about his work. He now works at Durham Cathedral where he is an integral part of the cathedral’s in-house masonry team. During the last year, Gary has been promoted to site supervisor at the cathedral and took on a lead role in their belfry tower repair project. Gary excels at nurturing the younger masons and enjoys passing on the skills he has learnt during his 18 years in the trade. Durham Cathedral hopes that Gary’s experience on the Fellowship will benefit the whole works yard.  
24th January - 13:30
The SPAB is delighted to announce its 2018 SPAB Fellows: Ross Buckley, a metalworker from the Isle of Wight; Nazar Dmiuterko, a stonemason with Cliveden Conservation in Buckinghamshire; and Gary Holliday a stonemason at Durham Cathedral. Since 1987 the SPAB has organised the Fellowship to foster a new generation of outstanding craftspeople with the knowledge and expertise to pass on essential skills for working with historic materials. The prestigious scheme runs in parallel to the SPAB’s Scholarship programme for architectural / building professionals. Ross was introduced to the Fellowship programme by SPAB Scholar Robert Williams whilst repairing the Cowes hammerhead crane on English Heritage's At Risk Register. Ross takes a keen interest in industrial machinery and mills; the Fellowship interview panel enjoyed hearing of his journeys with steam engines. Nazar Dmiuterko was uninspired by his initial career path – IT. He explored different trades and sites whilst labouring in the building industry. Fascinated by the skills involved in carving stone, Nazar was taken under the wing of a mentor and encouraged down the stonemasonry route. Gary Holliday is from a family background of stone merchants and new-build work but he diverged into conservative repair. Gary was inspired to pursue the Fellowship by a previous Fellow, Mike Goulding who he met at York College whilst training for a SkillBuild competition. He enjoys sharing his skills, teaching others and currently looks after a team of masons at Durham Cathedral. The aim is for our 2018 Fellows to gain broad, practical experience and knowledge to enable them to bring a strong awareness of craft diversity to their future professional roles. The Fellowship also equips them with the skills necessary to lead and manage historic building contracts, while deepening their understanding of the importance of gentle repair - the keystone of the SPAB approach.  
11th December - 14:44
By Paul Walters It has been a few months since we embarked on the incredible journey that is the William Morris Craft Fellowship and it has not disappointed! We have visited an incredible amount of sites, varying in architectural style, function and grandeur. However, I have always been just as interested in the ethos of the people working on these sites as I have been in the buildings themselves. Paul Walters Brickrubbing with Emma Simpson at Hampton Court Palace. As a small business owner it can get very difficult trying to get the balance right when establishing one’s boundaries to repairing, conserving and/or restoring a building, and having spent a significant amount of time these past few months with a variety of craftspeople and conservation professionals, it is reassuring to know that everyone has such dilemmas. There are a few obvious avenues that affect the ability to carry out works in the manner which is perceived as “textbook” or the “SPAB way”, this is perhaps true north on our conservation compass. On sites, this magnetic pull towards our true north is disrupted by numerous and perhaps inevitable complications that will make us deviate from our path. Perhaps the strongest influence is the client. A lot of clients want to ‘modernise’ a building, to the peril of the character that makes the building desirable in the first instance. But equally detrimental is that of personal ambition of specifiers, architects and craftspeople. We can all get blinded by our own version of doing what’s right, whilst trying to manage what the client wants. Some value some eras more than others, some crafts or work more than others. Fortunately, one could argue that we’re better off having a compass in the first instance? Knowing where true north is serves us in good stead, regardless of whether we choose to utilise it to its full potential. Its reassuring to know that even the most knowledgeable and experienced people go through similar turmoil when making important decisions, before putting the stamp of our era on such amazing buildings.  
09th December - 15:31
SPAB Fellows, past and present, celebrated 30 years of the Fellowship programme at the Carpenters’ Company in London in November alongside supporters and donors. Matthew Slocombe, SPAB director, introduced the four 2017 SPAB Fellows, commending them all for their commitment to their craft and the Fellowship. Dale Perrin, this year’s carpenter Fellow, told guests what a privilege it was to travel to all corners of the UK in the pursuit of exemplary craftsmanship and said “it would take a good through years to sift through everything they’ve learned on the Fellowship”, before warmly thanking all the hosts and tutors that made their year of conservation learning possible. The guest speaker Richard Kindersley, a hugely influential letter carver responsible for work at St Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and London Bridge, spoke passionately about the importance of crafts. In the mid-century modern Carpenter’s Hall with its exquisite joinery, Richard talked about the tactile nature of good craftsmanship: “the first thing a person wants to do when they see a fine piece of craftsmanship is to touch it. This process is like the closing of the circuit.” Without our funders and partnerships this scheme wouldn’t be possible. The SPAB William Morris Craft Fellowship is generously supported by Historic England, Historic Environment Scotland, William Morris Society, the Churches Conservation Trust, the William Morris Craft Fellowship Trust, the Drake Trust, Carrington (1953) Ltd, the Building Limes Forum, Carpenters’ Company Charitable Trust, the Stuart Heath Charitable Trust and the Delves Charitable Trust. Lord Cormack, a member of the Fellowship founding committee, closed the event by reflecting on our historic buildings, they were “created by the craftsmen of the past but wouldn’t survive without the craftsmen of the future” and that it is the dedicated work of those that understand these buildings that ensures their survival.