BLF Review 2011

After three years, Stafford Holmes handed over the role of Chairman to Jeremy Blake at the Annual General Meeting in September. Stafford Holmes – our ‘Lime Minister’ – is remaining on the committee so the Forum will be able to draw on his boundless knowledge and enthusiasm.

Jeremy’s credentials as Chairman include, in addition to his years on the committee, roles as a senior partner at Purcell Miller Triton, an AABC (Architects Accredited in Building Conservation) committee member, and chairman of the Hemp Lime Construction Products Association.

Education & Training.
Two of the objectives of the Building Limes Forum emphasise education of professionals, builders, conservators, craftsmen and -women, and the development of appropriate industrial and craft skills and techniques.

The UK government’s initiatives for education in traditional skills include establishing the National Heritage Training Group. During its early years Ian Brocklebank arranged meetings with the NHTG to advise on their curriculum for the trades.

The Forum has maintained contact to some degree; various training courses involving advanced levels of skill have been given at NHTG venues by committee members Gerard LyncBlundell.

There is not room here to list all past and present BLF committee and other members concerned with education, but the numbers providing courses continue to expand and we are learning from one another.

The Journal and the Newsletter achieve the objective to exchange, collate, and disseminate information. Journal 18, edited by Richard Smith, was published in September and contained the largest amount of information of any Journal in a variety of papers covering a wide range of topics.  There were four newsletters issued, three were edited by Sam Percival, the fourth by the Committee.

The 2011 Conference and Gathering was held in September in Ironbridge, Shropshire.  This year, the members of the Building Limes Forum were augmented by a sizeable contingent from the Nordic Limes Forum as well as members of the Building Limes Forum Ireland.

In addition, the Stone and Wall Paintings section of the Institute of Conservation (Icon) held a one-day conference on the conservation of architectural plasterwork in an adjacent room.  The presence of so many like-minded people generated a real ‘buzz’ and we hope for similar combined or parallel events in the future.

Technical Advice and Standards
Paul Livesey, chairman of the Technical Panel, has taken the lead in answering many technical queries submitted to us over recent years.

The queries continue to grow and become more complex as the use of lime increases worldwide. The Forum has also taken the lead in promoting field studies, research and analysis which is urgently required to establish the variable qualities and performance of building limes supplied by different manufacturers.

Cliff Blundell is influencing the drafting of the Building Regulations in Wales to take account of appropriate repair and maintenance methods for traditional buildings, particularly those of solid-wall construction; Ian Brocklebank is attempting similar influence in England.

International links
There is a truly international dimension and growing friendship that continues to develop in the world of lime. Other national Building Limes Forums have been formed and have expanded with enthusiasm and a unity of purpose.

The presence of the Nordic Limes Forum and the Building Limes Forum Ireland at Ironbridge was only one of the many contacts made and maintained during the year.

The redesigned website attracts an increasing number of visitors thus promoting the lime message worldwide.

Plans for 2012 and Beyond

The series of Lime in New Build Seminars will continue with a seminar in conjunction with the Heritage Skills Network (South-East) planned for Basingstoke in February 2012.

Next year’s Gathering will be held 21-23 September 2012 at Durham. The committee is developing proposals for small, low-cost, one-day regional events in addition to annual Gatherings. There is also the potential for joining forces with other like-minded organisations for joint events.

Volume 19 of the Journal is being prepared and there will be the usual newsletters to inform members about best practice, research and current developments in the use of lime in building.

The Forum will maintain its links with other national Building Limes Forums to promulgate the ‘lime message’ worldwide.

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Riddle’s Court
322 Lawnmarket
Edinburgh, EH1 2PG, UK

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