2016 Scholars and Fellows

SPAB Fellows

Thom Evans

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Thom is a stonemason from Llechryd, Ceredigion. Thom enjoyed puzzles from an early age so working out building defects and their causes became a natural progression. He found great pleasure working with his hands when  labouring as a trainee with his stonemason father.

Thom was self employed for four years before he worked for Welsh Heritage Construction on masonry projects before joining current employer and mentor Oliver Coe at Coe Stone Ltd. He is currently concentrating on his conservation and carving techniques. He is passionate about his craft and is currently trying to encourage the use of various local products and champion the cause of various quarries in a search for ‘like for like’ repair

Thom hopes to return to Wales with new ideas and repair techniques that he wilpick up over the nine-month training programme. This will not only shape his work there but also his volunteering with a local charity that aims to gather tools, working space and other items for communal hire. .

Lizzy Hippisley-Cox

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Lizzy is a stained glass conservator living in York. She recalls her awe upon entering Salisbury Cathedral on a school trip at the age of eight and soon after experienced a practical wattle and daub session at the Weald and Downland Museum. After a degree in Medieval Studies in 2009, she began training as a stained glass conservator at York Minster.

During her training, Lizzy travelled to Belgium and Germany, working in established stained glass studios, learning the craft and getting to know about traditional and modern methods of conservation. Since then she has met many SPAB Scholars and Fellows, and also several European craftspeople on traditional travelling programmes. These encounters encouraged her to broaden her own knowledge and, encouraged by SPAB Fellow Helen Bower, a colleague at the York Glaziers Trust, Lizzy applied for the SPAB Fellowship.

Lizzy is now self-employed; she has recently worked as part of a team on several cathedrals in the South West, and conserved a window by Edward Burne-Jones at Holy Trinity Church in Frome. She enjoys debate, especially on the philosophical and practical matters of old buildings, and looks forward to advocating the perspective of the glazing specialist. She is interested in approaches that prioritise honesty, attention to detail, mutual support and idea sharing. Conscious of how important good mentoring and early career support is in conservation, Lizzy is an “Early Career Rep” for stained glass conservators at ICON and also for the York Conservation Alumni Association.

Heather Griffin

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Heather has embarked on a number of craft courses alongside her 4 year stonemasonry apprenticeship with Historic Environment Scotland, including: book-binding, pottery, printmaking, stone carving and dry stone walling. A sense of sadness at the neglect of some of Glasgow’s buildings eventually led her to follow a course in architectural conservation after which she gained work experience with the National Trust and then moved on to stonemasonry. She enjoys surveying, recording and drawing but the practical modules of slating, stonemasonry and plastering were what most appealed in her architectural conservation course. We were impressed with her life drawings and her holocaust memorial carving, formed in the shape of a suitcase, for Elgin Academy. Heather has already encountered philosophical issues of various treatments of stone repair; experiences that will be built on and influenced by her visits over the next few months. She is interested in sustainable and traditional building techniques and is an active member of her local conservation volunteer group maintaining nature reserves, building board walks etc. She has engaged in school outreach programmes and looks forward to passing on the knowledge that she gains on the Fellowship programme.

Peter McCluskey

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Peter is a slater and roughcaster from Glasgow. He has a keen interest in natural renders, holistic retrofits and sustainable construction. He is is an enthusiastic advocate for traditional, regional roofing rather than a “one size fits all” approach. As a first year apprentice he made a conscious decision to move away from a large firm dealing in modern roofing and rendering systems to a smaller family-run company based in a Conservation Area. Three years of his apprenticeship were spent with roofers / plasterers; this involved slate and tile roof installations, rendering and roughcast projects and traditional property maintenance and repair. Now a sole trader of 3 years, Peter previously attended college to study graphic design and before embarking on a Modern Apprenticeship. He still enjoys the process, designing a corporate identity package for his sole trader business. Peter engaged us at interview with his presentations of the turret roofs at Crawfordton House, Dumfries and his descriptions of the variety of regional styles often responding to the prevailing weather conditions on any particular site. Peter continually researches aspects of associated crafts and supports his knowledge on site where possible via courses at the Scottish Lime Centre Trust.

SPAB Scholars

Triona Byrne

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Triona was uncertain if structural engineering was her calling when in her final year of undergraduate studies, however she soon realised conservation engineering combined her interest in history and practical issues. After graduating, she spent two months in France repairing a stone mill and getting an introduction to working with lime mortars. Upon leaving college, she joined a design engineer’s practice in Dublin to get experience in mainstream engineering and in this time furthered her interest in historic conservation by attending a 12 week lecture series ‘Conserve your Dublin period house’ run by the Georgian Society and making visits to live sites with members of CARE. After a year, she took the opportunity to join her boyfriend travelling in Central and South America and since her return has been working on conservation projects with Lisa Edden; she leaves behind a project working on Dublin’s oldest intact domestic building. Triona first heard about the Scholarship at a talk given by 2014 Fellow Eoin Madigan for the Building Limes Forum Ireland, of which she is an active member. She enjoys life drawing evening classes and relishes the thought of interacting with other disciplines, both now and in her future career.

Gethin Harvey

Scholars 2016_Gethin Harvey2Gethin began sketching old buildings as a teenager and it was this careful analysis of buildings that sparked his desire to be an architect. Since going to work for Nicholas Warns Architect Ltd for his Part 1 placement, he has returned at each stage of his architectural training and is now currently employed at the practice. Nicholas Warns was a SPAB Scholar and is a current SPAB Guardian, under Nicholas’ mentorship, Gethin has been exposed to the SPAB approach to the repair and conservation of historic buildings. He is keen on the range of projects, philosophies, techniques and skills the Scholarship programme offers. Attendance at events such as the SPAB Repair Course and Stone Repair Masterclass impressed on him the amount of knowledge gained from discussions with craftspeople and site workers. On a research project investigating the integration of bio-climatic strategies into existing urban environments, Gethin explored a range of contemporary techniques, and how modern technologies and softwares may be appropriated for use within a historic context.


Declan Cahill

Scholars 2016_Declan Cahill1Interested in old buildings from a young age, Declan decided to pursue building surveying. This interest has also influenced his other hobby, travelling. He went to South America, Asia and Spain for 7 months in July 2013 and spent time visiting historic sites. From his first job in a general surveying practice, he went on to join the City of London Corporation Operations Team. Having expressed his interest in historic buildings, he works in a team caring largely for historic public buildings, and is responsible for the Grade 1 listed cemetery and crematorium at Manor Park, where he is working with his colleague Ulrike Wahl (2006 Fellow) on the repair of a stone gateway. Declan has attended several SPAB events including ‘Modern Design in Historic Contexts’ seminar, the Sullington Working Party and is a member of the recently formed SPAB London Regional Group committee. Keen on climbing, last summer was spent in a tent exploring the rock faces of the Peak District and Portland. He appreciates debating the options rather than adopting a “one size fits all” approach, and looks forward to seeing skilled crafts people in action and talking to them.