In the late autumn of 2020 Historic Environment Skills worked with the delivery team for transept repairs at St Bartholomew’s Church Covenham to provide a couple of trainees with a holistic grounding in building conservation and repair in the historic environment. Here we catch one of those trainees Kieran in conversation about his time at St Barts.
So what have you been up to?
So being on the project, we have been making repairs to the south transept as the roof had dropped about 6 inches as the walls were pulling it in all directions away from the body of the church.
In all weathers?
We worked when the sun was out, a bit in the dark, we tried to avoid rain, but in some cases it wasn’t possible, and we even had a bit of snow on the last week on site which was a nice way to end the project.
What practical skills have you done while on the project?
Woking on the project I have learnt how to put slates onto a roof, and also how to do pointing in small gaps in the wall, along with tile stitching and got taught how to do some false jointing.
Did you enjoy any of those more than the rest?
I quite enjoyed the slating the most, though it was uncomfortable, it was strangely satisfying to poke some nails though some slates.
Have there been any surprises while you’ve been on the project?
Throughout the project there have been a few surprises such as the building needing a few extra minor repairs like for the reason for the pointing and tile stitching, which at times was a little frustrating, but needed to be done.
Can you tell us about any of the discoveries on the project?
While working on the project we have found a few interesting things, such as how the church isn’t exactly a perfect shape. For example, if you get a massive set square and rest it on one of the corners, it won’t be a solid right angle.
Have you got a highlight from the project, a memory you’ll take with you?
From being on the project, I’d have to say the main thing I’d take with me is the fact I have been able to work well in a team and that I have been able to adapt and overcome some of my own problems with the support of the team around me, including the ones who weren’t on site.
What do you plan to do next? Do you intend to stay within the heritage construction/restoration?
I do like the idea of staying within the heritage, as I have been able to find new (but old simultaneously) interesting things and picking up skills that could have been used back in the times of the original construction.