Historic buildings are complex, often mysterious, things. They are comprised of layers of successive building and repair campaigns. The fabric reveals historic problem-solving, developments in craftsmanship, changing environmental factors and change of use.
It can reveal technical mastery and technical error, replication and experimentation. As such, it is not possible to comprehensively understand an historic building from a single viewpoint. Developing an understanding of a building requires the collective effort of specialists.
We feel that successful conservation projects are a collaborative effort in which professionals from the related disciplines work together towards achieving a result that is sensitive to the unique nature of the building- its individual history and its function within the wider community.
The best projects are those in which local voices are valued by professional ones, when all parties are united by a shared respect for the historic fabric, and when our collective approach is governed by an ethos of sensitivity, collaboration and conservation.
As Main Contractor, we follow strict conservation principles in keeping with the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings- in that the materials used are sensitive to the existing fabric, traditional and reversible. Less is more in the field of conservation- we tread lightly, following strict guidelines and specifications which reflect current conservation methodology and practice.
We are committed to perpetuation of the craft though the training and employment of apprentices. To date, each of our apprentices has been recognised by outside bodies as exceptional in his craft: one has been awarded “Apprentice of the Year” by English Heritage, one has received a Gold Medal of Excellence (best apprentice within the UK) in masonry and carving by the City and Guilds, and was awarded a travelling Fellowship with the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (The SPAB). Our most recent apprentice was awarded a year-long training bursary by the National Heritage Training Group (NHTG) and our current apprentice was awarded a prestigious QEST Scholarship.
Our workshop maintains a strong link with German apprenticeship system whereby travel is considered an integral part of learning a craft. We strongly feel that the exchange of ideas that occurs from the wider engagement with the profession- through travel and work experience elsewhere- not only perpetuates but enriches the craft. In addition, we often employ ‘wandergeselle’ for short periods of time, especially during larger projects. As such, the make-up and numbers of our employees changes from year to year depending on the nature of our projects. But what remains constant is our commitment to fine craftsmanship and a passion for our work.