I’m a huge supporter of training people in traditional crafts. Safeguarding these skills by supporting the continued passing on of knowledge and skills associated with traditional craft are a very important part of our cultural heritage. It also makes for a very satisfying career. There are a number of organisations out there assisting craftspeople and promoting traditional building skills, from the Society for Protection of Ancient Buildings fellowships (www.spab.org.uk), to the brilliant Heritage Crafts Association (www.heritagecrafts.org.uk).
Also in this hard working group is the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship (CWF) – a partnership of ten Anglican cathedrals (Lincoln, Canterbury, Durham, York, Salisbury, Gloucester, Winchester, Exeter, Worcester and Chester) who joined together to create a new generation of crafts men and women capable of caring for our cathedrals and heritage buildings in the 21st century. Called a Foundation degree, it provides a phenomenal opportunity for people wishing to further their skills and knowledge to meet the finest heritage specialists and craftspeople throughout England (as well as – COVID-19 permitting – some of best behind-the-scenes site visits you can imagine). Founded in 2006, it originally focused on cathedral stonemasons to give mid-career training, a career path and higher level qualifications. Now opened up to other trades (plumbers, carpenters/joiners, electricians etc) and those outside cathedral employment, its focus ranges from philosophy and ethics, archaeology and hands-on skills to building services and management skills. For my own part, I contribute with lectures and tours to the Conservation and Carving units. Anyone who’s interested, or know of someone who might be, should visit the website www.cwfcathedrals.co.uk, or contact their local CWF cathedral.
And, in case you were wondering, the rather fabulous enamel Philips Tea sign at the top of the page is a rare one apparently – I snapped this at Beamish Museum café some years ago. Should anyone know of one for sale at less than the £1995.00 currently being asked on Ebay, I’d love to know….View all news