Author Archive

York Consortium for Craft & Conservation Chair Appointment

The York Consortium for Craft & Conservation (YCCC) seeks to recruit a new Chair at the conclusion of many years distinguished service by Martin Stancliffe.

YCCC is the only organisation of its kind in the UK.  We are a small “grass roots” charity that has had a significant impact on heritage skills nationally.  Now in its 25th year the Consortium has provided financial support to over 300 individuals to help them develop and refine their conservation skills.  We support a very wide range of heritage skills ranging from established practice disciplines such as stone masonry, stained glass, carpentry and roofing through to scarcer, and sometimes endangered, disciplines like wheelwrighting, papermaking, fairground sign-painting and side saddle-making.

The Consortium’s focus is on events, research, networking and lobbying.  Its bursary programme is run through its charitable foundation (registration no 1075135) which is in the process of incorporating as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation.

We have investments of some £300k.  About half of our charitable giving involves funds from charity partners who support our work.

We have one remunerated support officer, a part time administrator, who is freelance and works from home for us and other conservation related organisations.

 

Our Mission

Our objectives:

  • To promote to the widest audience the skills, knowledge and capabilities available in Yorkshire, over a diverse and growing range of heritage conservation specialisms, in order to attract additional work and funding.
  • To build on York’s enviable reputation as a nationally and internationally recognised centre for heritage conservation practice, research, and teaching.

This is primarily achieved by:

  • Encouraging and facilitating the training of students by the disbursement of awards.
  • Promoting York as the natural place within the UK to hold heritage-related conferences, meetings, training courses and exhibitions.
  • Attracting more people to York to learn about heritage conservation at both the theoretical and the practical level.
  • Providing a range of membership services and support.
  • Working with other York-based organisations to reveal the successful conservation of York’s buildings, archaeology and collections.
  • Sharing York’s experience and expertise on a worldwide scale.
  • Attracting conservators and craft practitioners to settle and work in York and stimulate business for the sector.

 

Our Aspirations & Plans

We believe our ability to speak for heritage practitioners is highly distinctive and more valuable than ever.  We aim to raise our voice on matters of importance to heritage and the work done by skilled craftspeople and conservators.  In a crowded communications landscape and a sector dominated by very small organisations we aspire to be a force for coordination and collaboration across our regional heritage ecology.

We know that our work is appreciated and that we make a real difference to people looking to develop their skills, but we are now at a point where we believe our work should shift up a gear by:

  • Increasing our financial resilience through fund-raising
  • Doubling our membership to raise engagement and increase influence
  • Working more closely with other heritage organisations.  We do not compete with any other body and are well-placed to take a stronger co-ordination role, especially in the region.
  • Building on our reputation for providing high quality content.
  • Making more of our bursary “alumni”, an overwhelming proportion of whom have gone on to make worthwhile achievements in their chosen disciplines.

 

About the Role

We need you to offer strategic leadership through:

  • Chairing a board comprising heritage practitioners and other experienced individuals with a strong interest in heritage
  • Oversight of sub-committees, principally our Bursary Panel at the present time
  • Representing YCCC locally, and nationally, to influence practice and policy
  • Growing YCCC as a force of integration across a fragmented heritage landscape
  • Support and oversight of YCCC’s freelance administrator

We want you to be:

  • Passionate about heritage, conservation and craft skills
  • An advocate for York as an exemplar of good practice to be shared with others
  • Proactive in working with others to drive membership, fund-raising, philanthropy and profile
  • A good people person

We want you to have experience in:

  • Not for profit sector – trustee or board level
  • Heritage or related cultural activities
  • Guiding an organisation on the next stage of its development

 

Time Commitment

The role combines the standard duties of a trustee and Chair.  In addition to trustee meetings, of which there are six a year, the role will involve a series of administrative and stakeholder engagement activities.  The current Chair’s estimate is approximately 2 days a month.

 

Application Process and Further Information

Applications should be received by 10th June and should comprise a CV together with a statement (max two pages) outlining why you are interested and how you believe you’ll meet the needs of the Consortium.

Interviews will be held in York, on Monday 25th June.

If you would like to discuss the opportunity in more detail, please contact Martin Stancliffe (mstancliffe@outlook.com) to arrange an online conversation.

Stone Conservator – Pinnacle Conservation

Pinnacle are looking to expand their Stone Conservation team. The work includes the repair and conservation of historic fabric, notably stone, brick, terracotta, faience and applied finishes.

 

Requirements for Experience

All levels of experience welcomed, and apprentice applications considered.

 

Job requirements

Ability to work independently as well as part of a team. Ability to thrive under pressure in a fast-paced environment. Able to demonstrate problem solving and delegation effectively. Driving license ad access to a vehicle.

 

Job Location

Based in York, but travel regionally.

 

Salary

Depending on experience.

 

Deadline

Friday 27th October – 12 noon.

 

Send your CV to info@pinnacleconservation.co.uk

RAAC: Navigating Craft and Conservation Challenges

In the heart of York, a recent discovery of Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete at York Castle Museum has sparked concerns in the craft and conservation sector. The closure of a portion of the museum due to issues with RAAC has prompted questions about this relatively obscure material and its impact.

The York Castle Museum

The closure was necessary because RAAC was found in the roofing of the north side of York Castle Museum, which houses notable exhibitions like Victorian Kirkgate, Period Rooms the Toy Gallery, and the Shaping the Body exhibition. In contrast, the rest of the museum, featuring attractions like the Prison Cells, the Sixties Gallery, and the First World War Gallery, will remain open. This precaution was taken in line with government guidelines, prioritising public safety while specialists inspect and address the issue.

In a statement to local media, a spokesperson for the York Museums Trust explained, “Once we established that RAAC was present, we sought advice from City of York Council. Following government guidelines, we made the decision to close that part of the museum.” However, the museum has plans to enhance its offerings and activities in other sections, all while offering a reduced entry rate to visitors.

Understanding RAAC: Its Origins and Properties

Catherine Croft, Director of the Twentieth Century Society and Lecturer in the Conservation of Historic Concrete at West Dean College, explains that RAAC is derived from AAC (Autoclave Aerated Concrete), first developed in the 1920s. The “R” indicates the inclusion of steel reinforcement within AAC.

AAC is a specialised form of pre-cast concrete produced in factories. It incorporates aeration during mixing, resulting in a lightweight, cellular structure. RAAC is cast in steel moulds and then strengthened within an autoclave, similar to firing clay bricks in a kiln. One key distinction is that RAAC lacks larger stone aggregates, making its planks and blocks lighter and easier to transport. It also offers enhanced thermal and sound insulation. However, RAAC has lower compressive strength compared to regular concrete, meaning it is more prone to crushing under certain loads. Typically, this factor is considered during initial design.

Recent developments have unearthed various issues tied to RAAC. These include problems with original construction, where some RAAC beams were not adequately supported at both ends during their initial construction, posing structural concerns. Maintenance-related issues have also come to the forefront due to poor upkeep practices, leading to problems such as roofs with failed waterproofing layers, resulting in prolonged exposure to moisture and concrete deterioration. Furthermore, buildings have encountered challenges when adding extra weight to address water ingress issues, emphasising the importance of ensuring the strength of RAAC when incorporating insulation for improved thermal performance.

Prior to the partial closure of York Castle Museum, Croft commented that beyond schools, it was likely that other public buildings from the same era, including hospitals, prisons, libraries, theatres, and leisure centres, may also contain varying amounts of RAAC.

While it has been stated that all RAAC in the country has now “exceeded its design life,” it’s essential to note that this doesn’t necessarily mean imminent failure. Many building components safely surpass their design lives. The longevity of RAAC varies based on factors like manufacturing source, building type, location, and subsequent maintenance practices. In-depth research is needed, examining RAAC examples across different manufacturers and building scenarios to gain a clearer understanding of its performance and longevity.

As RAAC continues to be a subject of scrutiny in the craft and conservation world, the challenges it presents underscore the complexities of preserving our architectural heritage. In York, where history is woven into every structure, the story of RAAC unfolds, reminding us of the ongoing efforts required to protect our heritage.

Pinnacle Conservation – De Gray Rooms and House

Pinnacle Conservation, established in 2019 by Managing Director Adam Hickey, is – as many YCCC members will know – a well-regarded Conservation and Restoration Specialist based in Yorkshire. They have gained a reputation for their dedication and trustworthiness, particularly in working on Listed and Historical Buildings in the region.

One of their notable projects is located in York, a short walk from their office, at the De Grey Rooms and House. This stunning building dates back to 1841 and exemplifies early Victorian architecture, designed by the architect George Townsend Andrews. It was commissioned by Thomas Philip de Grey, the 2nd Earl de Grey and colonel-command of the Yorkshire Hussar Regiment.

Pinnacle Conservation was appointed as the Main Contractor for the upgrade and re-decoration works throughout the De Grey Rooms and House on behalf of York Conservation Trust. The purpose of the renovation was to prepare the building for occupancy as the Trust’s new city centre office.

The scope of the project included full Mechanical and Electrical (M&E) works, which involved installing new data, lighting, fire, and security alarms. To preserve the building’s historical authenticity, traditional methods were used by skilled craftsmen. Oak riven laths and lime plaster were applied to repair areas damaged by water.

 

 

To address any issues on the lower levels of the building, Sepiolite Poultice was used before re-plastering and decoration. Additionally, Pinnacle Conservation’s in-house joiners undertook the delicate task of refurbishing over 40 sash and Yorkshire Sliding windows. This process included splice and resin repairs, as well as re-weighting to ensure the windows functioned properly.

Externally, the building underwent a full Doff clean, which is a gentle cleaning method suitable for historical structures. As part of the finishing works, the existing Newey clock received a fresh coat of paint.

One of the notable additions to the building’s design was a new Fan light above the entrance door, which incorporated the design details of the original diamond linoleum entrance flooring. To complete the design, Coloured Stained Glass was installed, adding an exquisite touch to the entrance area.

Overall, Pinnacle Conservation’s work on the De Grey Rooms and House exemplifies their commitment to preserving historical architecture while making necessary upgrades for modern use.

The Handworkers – featuring Angela Cole

We are thrilled to announce that one of our talented members, Angela Cole, will be featured in an upcoming exhibition at Ryedale Folk Museum Gallery. The exhibition, called “The Handworkers” by Rachel Rimmel, celebrates the individuals who are keeping traditional crafts alive in the modern age.

Angela Cole is an award-winning basket weaver who specializes in creating both traditional and sculptural baskets using sustainable natural materials. She has been awarded a bursary by the York Foundation for Conservation and Craftsmanship to revive a C19th Yorkshire basket, which will be featured in the exhibition.

Rachel Rimmel, the photographer and artist behind the exhibition, has captured the intimate and insightful portraits of Angela and other craftsmen and women who are revitalizing traditional skills and techniques. Also featured in the exhibition are a master thatcher, botanical eco-printer, blacksmith, potter, and ceramacist, as well as a Yorkshire Wolds apple juice maker.

“The Handworkers” will be on display from Monday 20 March to Sunday 30 April (closed on Fridays) at Ryedale Folk Museum Gallery in North Yorkshire. This exhibition is supported by Ryedale District Council and promises to be a fascinating look at the important role traditional crafts play in our world today. Don’t miss it!

 

Heritage Update Issue 481

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Heritage Update Issue 472

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York Rotary Dragon Boat Race – Sunday 10th July

 

On 10th July, committee member Kibby Shaefer and her team of stonemasons, STONEAGE, will be taking part in the York Rotary Dragon Boat Race and will be generously raising money for the YCCC!

Their team is made up of masons and carvers from a commercial workshop – Matthias Garn Master Mason + Partner and a Cathedral workshop – York Minster Works Department, demonstrating their long-standing collaboration both in passion for preserving the skills of traditional stonemasonry and carving, and joint awareness of a severe skills shortage in the sector.

If you would like to make a donation, please follow this link to the fundraising website.

We will be there to cheer Kibby and her team along on the day, if you would like to join us, please feel free to email comms@conservationyork.org.uk to arrange meeting up!

Heritage Update 466

Heritage Update Logo

The Alliance’s fortnightly Heritage Update has arrived!

Click here to read the latest heritage news online, or subscribe to receive updates via email.

 

Heritage Update 465

Heritage Update Logo

The Alliance’s fortnightly Heritage Update has arrived!

Click here to read the latest heritage news online, or subscribe to receive updates via email.