The great newspaper editor, C P Scott (1846-1932), said: “comment is free but facts are sacred”. The Building Limes Forum does not itself have opinions, its chief purpose is to promote debate and put people of differing viewpoints in touch. The Forum does concern itself with facts, and uses its Journal, newsletter and website to disseminate information. Discrepancies between published data and performance of natural hydraulic limes led the Forum, funded by Historic England, to support research at the University of Bath. The three-year study was completed in 2018 with the award of a PhD to Cristiano Figueiredo. It was hoped that the systematic study of standardised mortars of commercially available natural hydraulic limes would lead to the publication of a guide for specifiers. The results, however, were too variable to be used to generate a guide and, instead, will be published as a research report. The work has generated as many questions as answers and giving scope for further research.
The Building Limes Forum held its second lime slam, at Swindon, hosted by Historic England.
The 2018 Conference and Gathering was held at Canterbury Cathedral in Kent. The conference was attended by 150 delegates from around the world. The theme was Pozzolans, Additives and Natural Cements and was dedicated to the memory of our past Chairman, Simon Swann (1956-2018). The head of conservation at the Cathedral, Heather Newton, coordinated tours of the cathedral (including scaffolding tours), visits to the cathedral workshops, and hands-on demonstrations within the cathedral precincts. The Building Limes Forum was pleased to be able to offer eleven bursaries to enable those in the early years of their conservation/lime career, self-employed, or on a low income to attend. The funds came from the auction of lime-related items held at the Liverpool Conference and Gathering.
Over the past year, The Building Limes Forum continued 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.
None of these activities could take place without the dedication of individual members who give their time to organise events, give demonstrations, or contribute to the debate.
Plans for 2019 and Beyond
The Building Limes Forum will hold further events in 2019. Two lime slams are planned: at Corfe Castle in Dorset, and at Poltimore House in Devon. Planning has started for the 2019 Conference and Gathering at Stirling where we will be hosted by Historic Environment Scotland at The Engine Shed with a gala dinner in Stirling Castle.
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.