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.



Depending on experience.



Friday 27th October – 12 noon.


Send your CV to

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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The Alliance’s fortnightly Heritage Update has arrived!

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Heritage Update Issue 472

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.

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 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.

Lorraine Finch’s new book on Sustainability in Cultural Heritage



Lorraine Finch has published a new book: “Low Cost/ No Cost Tips for Sustainability in Cultural Heritage”

As well as an accredited archives conservator and ICON trustee, Lorraine is Chair of the Environmental Sustainability Network and works closely with a number of environmental sustainability groups and movements in cultural heritage.

Lorraine’s new book will be available to purchase as a hard copy and ebook from all online booksellers in May 2022.