Trainee Six month Blog by Katherine Briggs

This blog was supposed to mark the end of my six-month trainee placement and should contain all my sombre closing sentiments about how it’s come about too quickly or act as my ‘I don’t want to go yet’ proclamation, but it seems Heritage Lincolnshire can’t get rid of me yet as my traineeship has been extended by the HES scheme for another three months! Much rejoicing, but in all seriousness, I am so grateful to HES and Heritage Lincolnshire for letting me stay on a little longer. I’ve learnt so much since April and it’s been wonderful working over the last few weeks knowing I’ve got another three months to do even more!

So, here’s an update on some of things I’ve been up to since my halfway blog.

I received feed-back for the Greyfriars CMP from the development stage review, and it was interesting to see what the National Heritage Lottery Fund expect from a project of this scale. I haven’t had formal feedback on anything I’ve written since university, so it was a bit of a strange flashback experience! But I now know what needs improving and where extra details need adding as new information and plans come in. I have also been learning about activity plans by helping with the plan for Greyfriars and understanding how documents like this should be written.

I volunteered to help with the Heritage Open Days (HOD’s) at Greyfriars, helping to set up and guide people round the building. It was interesting hearing visitor’s feedback regarding the intended use of the building and the project as a whole.

A couple of months ago I was given the opportunity to write the heritage statements for No.40 and 42 Michaelgate, Lincoln, a Medieval close-timber framed structure and a Georgian building respectively. It was interesting researching two buildings that do not necessarily have as rich a pool of documentation or understanding to draw upon compared to say, the M&S building I worked on back in June. However, I did manage to find some photos from the early 1900’s and 1950’s that clearly show that some features have been altered on the frontage of No.42. In addition to their history, these documents gave me the chance to practice my knowledge of architectural terminology as I had to write detailed descriptions of every elevation both internal and external; I will admit I had to refer to a few textbooks from time to time! I was also able to write a Heritage Impact Assessment for No.40 which was a new experience for me. It really tested me to consider all aspects of the proposed plans and how they could affect the inherent character of the buildings.

During the last month I have been doing research for the Boston City Application. The town is taking part in a competition as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, where towns or even villages can apply for city status. As part of the written application, I have been gathering information about interesting heritage and traditions, a record of past innovations which make Boston stand out, for example; was something invented there that went on to be used nationally? And finally finding out whether Boston had any royal connections! Spoiler alert; it did!

I have also recently helped write a guide on how to identify historic assets for the Lincolnshire Local Listing campaign, covering buildings, their architectural features as well as archaeological earthworks. Obviously, it would be impossible to condense everything about historic architectural styles into a manageable document, but I think I made a pretty good attempt at it!

I also attended Build for the Future; East Midlands Exhibition 2021 organised by Heritage Lincolnshire at the Lincolnshire Showground, helping with set up on the day. The event was attended by a range of heritage professionals, heritage skills companies and professional membership bodies. This was my first exclusively heritage related networking event and I took the opportunity to go round all the stalls when I had the chance.

In between working on the above projects, I have been trying to learn as much as I can about conservation and heritage, and I have been on several courses as a result. The Nottingham Townscape Scheme, run by Heritage Lincolnshire, ran ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Historic Building Maintenance’ and ‘An Introduction to Buildings Analysis’ which took us along Carrington Street to illustrate how to identify phase changes in the fabric of a building. The day was extremely enjoyable and informative, we looked at the striking difference between street facing facades and rear elevations which more often than not have more obvious evidence of later phases. Over the last week I have attended the SPAB Buildings Repair Course, an intense week of specialist lectures on everything from flint construction to timber to historic wallpaper, recorded site visits and daily Q&A sessions with the lecturers. I was very lucky to be able to attend as the HES scheme kindly paid for my placement on the course. I learned so much and I have the mountain of notes to prove it! I can’t wait to put it into practice as I continue my heritage journey.

On a final note, I wrote a short article for the IHBC’s East Midlands branch’s quarterly newsletter about the HES scheme and my time at Heritage Lincolnshire, so regardless of everything else I’ve done on my traineeship, I can now say I’m published!