The year under review saw the Building Limes Forum continue collaboration with conservation and other bodies, including the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), Historic England, Historic Environment Scotland, and the University of Bath. Research at the University of Bath to assess the properties and performance of natural hydraulic limes, supported by Historic England and the Building Limes Forum, is now nearing completion and has produced interesting results … and enough questions to warrant further research.
Building Limes Forum members have also been involved in steering the collaboration on hot-mixed lime mortars between the Irish Heritage Council, the Historic Environment Division of Northern Ireland’s Department for Communities, Historic Environment Scotland, Cadw, and Historic England.
The interest in hot-mixed lime mortars has continued and a further hot-mixed mortars training day, organised by Nigel Copsey, was held at the Weald & Downland Museum in East Sussex in March 2017. The BLF is grateful to Historic England for support of the event.
Our first Lime Slam, organised by Simon Swann, was held in Buxton, Derbyshire in March 2017, hosted by Tarmac and attended by twenty participants. We are grateful to BLF Ireland for the Lime Slam concept: a morning visit or tour of a lime-related site or building led by an expert, followed by an afternoon of presentations by participants of current or recent projects, successes and failures, whether as the contractor or professional, with plenty of time for free discussion.
Phil Braithwaite of UK Restoration Services Ltd organised a site visit and discussion in conjunction with the re-liming of the tower of St Oswald’s Parish Church, Grasmere, Cumbria in June 2017. Twenty-three participants attended a morning site visit followed by afternoon talks and demonstrations by twelve members of the project architect and contractor teams. There was a follow-up visit in October 2017 at the completion of the work.
The 2017 Conference and Gathering was hosted by Nidaros Cathedral Restoration Workshop in Trondheim, Norway. The conference was attended by over 200 delegates which included members of the Building Limes Forum and the Nordic Lime Forum. The theme was Rediscovering Traditional Mortars and focused on the investigations by the Cathedral Workshops into the most appropriate and historically accurate mortars to be used for the reconstruction of the King’s Entrance, a magnificent portal on the south side of the Cathedral.
None of these events could take place without the dedication of individual members who give their time to organise the event, give demonstrations, or contribute as participants.
Plans for 2018 and Beyond
The Building Limes Forum will hold another lime slam, this time at Swindon by the kind invitation of Historic England. Planning has started for the 2018 Conference and Gathering at Canterbury.
Volume 25 of the Journal is being prepared, edited by Alison Henry. Publication of the Journal is being moved from early autumn to late spring so that editing and design work takes place in winter rather than summer so as to avoid clashing with the lime working season.
There will also be the usual newsletters to inform members about best practice, research and current developments in the use of lime in building and our newsly reconfigured website will help to promulgate the ‘lime message’ worldwide.
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.