Gregor Alcorn, stonemason
After leaving school in Cheddar, Gregor moved to his birth place, Stirling, to study for a degree in environmental geography. Whilst at university he saw a video featuring SPAB Fellow and stonemason Graham Campbell at the Elgin Conservation Centre and it piqued Gregor’s interest. Independently, Gregor took short courses in stonemasonry at Lincoln with a former cathedral mason to see if he had a good eye. After graduating he sought to gain some building experience through work exchange websites with opportunities abroad. He worked on a couple of straw bale houses and a watermill in France then undertook hotel work until he was offered an apprenticeship for Historic Environment Scotland in Shetland. Successful in gaining the post, Gregor has carried out lime harling, lime pointing, monument maintenance and some stone carving projects. He has used his own initiative to develop his knowledge of stonemasonry, such as meeting with Japanese masons whilst travelling through the country on holiday.
He is a member of the Mountain Bothies Association which helps repair shelters in remote parts of Britain for walkers and climbers. He carves for pleasure and would like to make more use of this talent, learn other skills and pass those on to others. Gregor has taken part in the European Stone Festivals in Frieburg (2014) and Salzburg (2016) has twice been a member of the best stonemasonry college team in the UK and twice attended SkillBuild finals at the NEC winning gold in 2016.
Jack Clare, stained glass conservator
Jack and his father Stephen Clare have been great supporters of the SPAB for many years, hosting visits and lecturing. Jack did not enter straight into stained glass conservation, he studied English literature and journalism, and worked as a sub-editor on a newspaper before committing full time to the family firm. He has found these skills have helped in the report writing side of the job. Jack is an ICON member and enjoys travel, taking in historic sites wherever he can. Jack works with conscientious practitioners who place great value in making the correct conservation decisions and he wants to develop a greater understanding of other parts of a building so he can ensure a holistic approach as he develops his career. At interview he said his first priority is to ensure the nation’s most beautiful stained glass is conserved in a manner befitting its significance. He believes in collaboration between conservation disciplines and feels the Fellowship is the best platform to develop this understanding alongside honing his own skills.
Dale Perrin, carpenter
Dale completed his apprenticeship in carpentry with Bakers of Danbury which introduced him to the idea of conservative repair. He worked on Spain’s Hall, an Elizabethan house near Finchingfield in Essex, many churches and other listed buildings undertaking floor repairs, oak shingle roofing and a good range of carpentry repairs. Dale then became self-employed and has worked for private clients and local companies such as Chelmer Builders in Great Dunmow where he has gained further experience working on traditional buildings such as The Priest’s House in Felsted, Dunmow Park and other properties throughout Essex, Suffolk and Hertfordshire. Dale has most recently worked with SPAB member Lydia Roe on her timber framed home, learning and working through repair techniques together to retain as much of the historic fabric as possible. Lydia says his attention to detail and his research preparation before attending site has been a great asset to the project. Lydia, Joe Bispham and architect David Whymark all recommended the Fellowship programme to him. Dale enjoys all sporting activities and travelling.
Paul Walters, plasterer
Paul considers himself fortunate to have experienced several careers all of which he’s been very passionate about. Working as a climbing instructor, he took groups on climbing holidays across Europe. It was during this time he began to learn how to plaster. He met a local mason who pointed him towards the Tywi Centre in Llandeilo, a heritage skills college upskilling existing trades to heritage trades. Paul embarked on an NVQ3 in heritage plastering, where he gained invaluable experience at Ty Mawr Lime and with local conservation builders Jones & Fraser. Whilst on one of his placements on the Traditional Building Skills Bursary Scheme (TBSBS) he met a previous SPAB Fellow, Julie Haddow. Upon attaining his NVQ3, he was asked to be on the board of directors at the Tywi Centre and he now runs his own successful business, Just Lime Ltd. He has hosted several TBSBS trainees and remains passionate about passing on his knowledge of the sector and his trade. The Fellowship programme has been a recurring theme in his working life and he has found other Fellows to be amongst the most knowledgeable and passionate people he’s encountered. Paul takes a measured approach to his work and what can be accomplished; he believes in the ethos of conservative repair and strives to overcome the effects of decades of ignorance on the buildings he works on. He hopes to influence not just his employees but also the principle contractors, architects, building control and conservation officers he works with, and to change the circumstances in which the craftsperson rarely gets to make the decisions that matter.