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Book your place on free heritage workshops taking place in Wisbech

A series of heritage skills training sessions organised through Fenland District Council's Wisbech High Street Project will be held in person for the first time since their launch when three workshops are held in the town later this month.

Wisbech High Street

The project, which is funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund's Townscape Heritage scheme and made possible thanks to National Lottery players, launched the sessions in partnership with Lincoln Conservation last May to provide local people with free traditional construction and heritage skills training opportunities.

So far eight events have been delivered online, led by experts and specialists from across the UK. Now booking has opened for three FREE workshops taking place at St Peter's Church Hall, Wisbech, on Saturday and Sunday, 23rd and 24th July.

Cllr Chris Seaton, Fenland District Council's Portfolio Holder for Heritage and Social Mobility, said: "This series has enjoyed great success online over the past 14 months, but it will be great to see the sessions going ahead in person. We have had some fantastic events as part of the Wisbech High Street Project in the past, including photography workshops and the Big Dig archaeology event, and I'm sure these will be a great hit too.

"The events are all completely free thanks to funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund so book your place as soon as possible to avoid disappointment."

Medieval Tile Making Workshops with Karen Slade

Saturday, 23rd July

  • Adult workshop: 10am to 1pm
  • Family workshop: 2pm to 4pm

Medieval tile maker Karen Slade has delivered creative arts, history and medieval demonstrations and training courses across the UK for over 20 years, including an online talk as part of the Wisbech High Street Project heritage training series in January.

She will be delivering two workshops on Saturday, 23rd July, one for adults and another for children and families.

In the adult session, participants will use carved wooden pattern blocks to learn how to make a copy of a traditional slip-decorated medieval tile using traditional clay and slip, which will then be finished and fired and returned to them to keep. With a demonstration, talk and background notes with where to carry on research, the session is suitable for anyone with an interest in history, ceramics, and traditional crafts.

Karen will also be bringing her collection of original medieval tiles and replicas from across Britain and sharing her research into tiles made just 15 miles from Wisbech at Bawsey Medieval Tilery, near King's Lynn, which made some of the most unique medieval tiles ever found featuring doves, deer, and dragons.

In the family workshop, participants will use mini medieval tile stamps and air-drying clay to make tiles that can be taken home and decorated with paint when they are dry. The mini stamps are easy-to-use and based on traditional patterns, including those replicating designs from Bawsey. This workshop is suitable for all ages and all children must be accompanied by an adult.

Repairing Georgian and Victorian Brickwork

  • Sunday, 24th July, 10am to 4pm (1 hour break for lunch 1pm-2pm)

The third workshop will be led by Charlie Slade, who has worked as an architectural building conservator for 25 years, restoring a range of properties from church buildings and cottages to the British Museum, Highcliffe Castle and Hampton Court Palace.

Charlie, who also delivered an online talk as part of the heritage series in February, will look at examples of common problems with historic brickwork and how they can be remedied simply and cost-effectively while improving the lifespan of a building. The talk will include a walking tour of Wisbech to look at examples of both good practice and where modern treatments have caused damage, as well as a demonstration of the preparation and use of traditional lime pointing mortars and historic techniques.

The workshop will be of interest to anyone responsible for the care and maintenance of pre-1920's properties and includes a recommended reading list.

Book your free place

Places on the workshops are free and open to anyone, although people living in and around Wisbech will be given priority if spaces are oversubscribed.

To book your place on any of the workshops, email Fenland District Council's Creativity & Culture Development Officer, Jaime-Lea Taylor, on jtaylor@fenland.gov.uk.

Article Date: July 2022

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