It’s that time of year to give you an update on the successful training and activities the THI has delivered over the past few months and give you a flavour of what’s to come in 2017.
Writing Specifications for Conservation Projects
In August the THI delivered the Writing Specifications for Conservation Projects training, attracting architects, building surveyors, conservation officers and planners as well as a representative from the Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service.
The training was delivered by the very skilled and knowledgeable Alan Gardner, who is a chartered building surveyor, accredited in conservation and a SPAB (Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings) Lethaby Scholar.
The training was extremely successful with twenty eight professionals attending the Deanes House venue in Prescot Town Centre.
Traditional materials, history and craft.
October was a particularly busy month with the fruition of a long standing collaboration successfully coming to pass.
For several months I had been communicating with Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) Built Environment department, with the hope of delivering specific training to students and professionals in Prescot and LJMU.
The aspirations behind this was to increase the awareness of Prescot Town Centre, the THI project and for the sharing of experience and knowledge in the built environment, specifically in relation to conservation.
The first subject of the Traditional Materials days was Lime, with lime selection, slaking and ‘hot lime’ being discussed and demonstrated.
The training was held in Vee’s Place in Prescot, with sixteen people attending. Vee’s Place proved to be the ideal environment for this training as it allowed for practical participation in a well ventilated space, whilst also being undercover.
Participants travelled from far and wide for the day and the feedback received was incredibly positive, with particular mention being made to the standard of catering, which was delivered by Vintage Thyme, a Prescot catering company that sources local produce.
The second training day was Timber and Damp and was held at LJMU with twenty two participants attending. Preservation/repair methods, decay, understanding timber selection and treatment were the main discussion points with the feedback being particularly successful with those attending feeling much more confident and knowledgeable about the subject.
The last subject matter was Stone and was held once more in LJMU with twenty two participants attending. Philosophies of stone replacement and repair, techniques and interventions and issues related to cleaning and repair were discussed. Once more the feedback received was outstanding and a real want and need was expressed for further ‘traditional work’ training to be delivered in 2017.
Fools Tale Production
I had the pleasure and joy of working very closely with MATE Productions, throughout October and November, delivering this years initiative for Prescot’s Halloween and Bonfire Night celebrations, which Prescot Town Team contributed towards with the Fools Tale Trail, which encouraged participants to venture into local shops, seeking answers to their Fools Tale quiz.
I thoroughly enjoyed working alongside MATE in the craft workshops and I look forward to future collaborations, with the Tempest on the horizon in 2017.
Over the two days (23rd of October and 5th of November) of performance and workshops, we engaged with just under 180 children and adults.
Know Your Ancestry
On the 24th of October the THI started its Family History drop in sessions, which run every Monday 11 – 1pm in Vee’s Place
The sessions run every week apart from that which Prescot Library run their Family History session, the timetable for this will be up in January 2017.
Wet Felt Day in the Heritage Hub
I had a very opportunistic meeting with a lovely lady called Jill, whilst attending Prescot Arts and Craft Fair a few months ago. I approached Jill with the possibility of delivering a Wet Felt craft day in the Heritage Hub and, to my delight, Jill agreed. So, on the 29th of October the Hub opened its door to aspiring felters. Felt, wool and textiles in particular have very strong connections with the history of Prescot. This relationship was touched on lightly during the day and will be expanded on next year with plans afoot for more felt, weaving and tapestries with looms.
The wet felt day was extremely successful with eleven very keen participants, who thoroughly enjoyed the day and who are looking forward to more in the near future.
Prescot from up high
Owen – THI Officer, and I were treated to a tour of St Mary’s Church Tower on the 3rd of November, enabling us to gain aerial photos of Prescot to support our LJMU work placement students for the Building Stories Project phase two in 2017 – details of which below.
Understanding Repair and Maintenance of Traditional Buildings Pre 1919
The very much awaited Understanding Repair and Maintenance course was delivered by Heritage Craft Alliance (HCA) on the 24th and 25th of November in Vee’s Place, with all twelve participants passing the final exam and gaining accredited modules towards the NVQ Level 3 in Heritage Skills qualification.
Discussions around delivering the course had originally started late 2015 with the decision to deliver the course late November this year, as traditionally November is a quieter time of year for those in construction and conservation.
I was particularly impressed with the variety of cohort in attendance, there was an unusually balanced split of gender and the diversity of age was spectacular in allowing for wonderful discussions around background, knowledge and experience.
Participants travelled from as far as Wales and London to attend as well as attracting students and professionals closer to home.
The training was extremely successful with the feedback received being outstanding for the THI and HCA and once more, Vintage Thyme provided us with an exceptional catered for experience.
Christmas Cards in the Hub
On the 3rd of December the Heritage Hub hosted a Lino Cut Printing day, which was delivered by the very talented Sophie Scharer from the Natural Building Centre. Sophie taught nine people, myself included, how to prep the lino for printing and work with the cutting tools safely.
The result of everyone’s efforts – you can see below, was very effective and we all left feeling extremely pleased with our cards.
The atmosphere in Prescot on the 3rd was particularly vibrant, with MATE Productions delivering their pop up Christmas Carol and Grotto, Prescot Arts and Craft Fair, the Produce Market and Prescot Town Council providing a range of entertainment leading up to the Christmas Light switch on.
The cluster of such activities resulted in a wonderful festive vibe in Prescot, enjoyed by all who attended.
Prescot Woolly Wonderers
Our very creative and talented knitters and crocheters are moving premises and evening in 2017. The new venue will be the Heritage Hub – Eccleston Street, Prescot, and it will be held on a Tuesday evening 6 – 8pm, new comers are extremely welcome.
Now the year is drawing to a close I am so very excited about what’s planned for 2017.
The Heritage Hub will host a variety of craft days, once every month, starting in March. Our new cohort of students from LJMU will start the building stories phase two in January, the first of which can be found here. Our new group of students will be focusing their attentions on the area soon to be the Shakespeare North site with students looking at trade and family life throughout 1841 – 1911 with current and relative comparisons to be made.
To keep updated, please keep an eye in the window of the Heritage Hub (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday)as well as visiting the blog for information about training and events. Please remember, the first is going to be in March and the topic will be ‘Craft of the Watchmaker’, which will include hands on activities.
It has been another splendid year, with many educational and complimentary initiatives having been achieved. All of which wouldn’t have been possible without the on going support of the local community, numerous voluntary groups, council support and engagement groups and of course the Historic Environment staff team.
The Historic Environment team wish you all a wonderful Christmas with good health, time to rest, recover and reflect and the freedom to make new and joyous memories.