2019 SPAB Fellows begin conservation 'grand tour'

The SPAB Scholarship is a prestigious training scheme for young building professionals to gain practical building repair skills from the some of the UK’s most experienced craftspeople.

Every year SPAB offers a learning opportunity to a group of committed young people who work to protect and repair old buildings. The Scholarship and Fellowship are prestigious educational programmes that can kickstart a young person’s career in conservation and run from March to December each year. The Scholarship is open to designers, surveyors and engineers and the Fellowship to building craftspeople.

The four newest recruits to this prestigious training scheme for young building professionals now join a roster of talented individuals, many of whom care for the most significant buildings in Britain.

Surveyor Daniel Shemming and designers Christian Montez, Holly Spilsbury and Bethan Watson have embarked on a nine-month programme of site, workshop and studio visits across the UK. The scheme runs in parallel to the SPAB’s Fellowship programme for craftspeople.

The aim is for the SPAB’s Scholars to gain hands-on experience of building conservation in action guided by experts in the field and to use this knowledge to inform their own approach in their working lives. On their travels they will meet fellow designers, building specialists and craftspeople working in traditional ways.

Starting with a week in the south east of England they have already visited projects at Westminster Abbey and Hampton Court Palace, as well as small-scale, domestic projects in central London.

The group will move further afield over the next six months visiting castles in the Inner Hebrides, exploring the country’s cathedrals, building with mud in Cumbria and visiting slate quarries in Wales.

Since 1930 the Scholarship scheme has set over 150 young architecture and building professionals on the road to positions of great responsibility in the conservation sector.

The Scholarship continues to have enormous relevance. With growing concern at the lack of skilled professionals with the knowledge needed to deal sensitively with historic buildings, SPAB knows that the best way to learn about construction and repair methods available today is out on site.

The SPAB Scholarship is awarded annually to up to four young designers, building surveyors or structural engineers who have completed their college-based training and have a demonstrable enthusiasm for historic building conservation. After spending the first six months as a close-knit group, for the last three months of the programme they separate to develop their own areas of interest relating to the life and culture of the British country house.

The Scholarship is a prestigious and rigorous educational award designed to foster excellence and promote understanding of the unique skills and crafts that look after our old buildings.

Keep up to date with the Fellows and Scholars progress on the SPAB’s blog and social media and in the SPAB Magazine.

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