The masonry at Redbrook Church is exceptionally eroded, so a team of volunteers and trainers have decided to teach historic masonry skills to people who want to help save the church and other historic buildings.
The grade II listed Redbrook Church has been on Historic England’s ‘At Risk Register’ since 1982, suffering high levels of erosion which are thought to be due to pollution from the old Redbrook tinplate works.
Conservation architect Toby Falconer is taking steps to ensure that the church can be maintained for future generations. There will be four highly experienced conservators supervising and giving demonstrations.
Course attendees will learn lime mortar skills: raking out, mixing, and pointing. They will be invited to annual training weekends, talks, demonstrations, and social activities. The project will also offer further research into the causes of erosion and conservation techniques.
Toby said, “The work will be really beneficial in demonstrating what you can do with good mortar repairs. There will also be workshops on the analysis, making, and use of lime mortars so trainees understand the process behind their specification.”
Kath Hilsden, Senior Church Buildings Officer at the Diocese of Gloucester has signed up to be a trainee for the weekend. She said, “The best way to learn traditional building skills is through hands-on experience. I am excited by this opportunity to develop my practical conservation skills and to play a small part in saving Redbrook church for future generations.
“Despite its enduring use over hundreds of years, it is only in the past few decades that we have begun to rediscover the importance of lime mortar in conserving historic buildings. Churches, like Redbrook, were built by local craftspeople using time-honoured practices, traditional methods of construction, and natural materials. An understanding of lime, and its use in renders and mortars, is essential for anyone working on old buildings. This course will be of interest to anyone hoping to develop practical conservation skills”.
If you are a commercial trainee and planning to use the skills in your own work rather than committing to voluntary work for Redbrook Church, the full fees are £175.