2014 marked the fortieth anniversary year of Professor Robert and Eve Baker’s fundamental use of lime in the restoration of the west front of Wells Cathedral. At the time, their innovative use of lime was considered by some to be controversial and inappropriate.
As the passage of time and 2014’s Building Limes Forum conference have revealed, the work of the Bakers has proved to be both foundational and inspirational. The conference at Bath & Wells brought together some of the participants in those pioneering days, and the inspiration of the lime message was transmitted to a new generation.
Lime continues to be both inspirational and controversial. The Building Limes Forum organised a series of presentations and practical demonstrations on the uses, methods and definitions of hot limes in construction and repair. These invents included a forum day in Edinburgh and a demonstration day at Blackford in Perthshire. This generated heated debate yet showed the diversity in application, expertise, and understanding across the industry.
The use of limes, their chemical composition and the effect of aggregates and additives is also a matter for fundamental research and the Building Limes Forum has entered a partnership with English Heritage and the University of Bath to sponsor a PhD student to research the properties of commercially available hydraulic limes.
The Conference and Gathering in 2015 will be held in Cambridge with the theme of Lime in East Anglia. There will also be more events on hot-mix limes and the BLF is working with English Heritage/Historic England and our sister organisation, BLF Ireland, to develop expertise in the topic and to disseminate knowledge about this traditional building material.
Members of the Building Limes Forum form a community of lime enthusiasts and practitioners, most of whom are producers, suppliers, specifiers or users of lime.