BLF Review 2019

In the year under review, The Building Limes Forum  continued to promote the use of lime in building through events, publications and research.

The 2019 Conference and Gathering was held at Stirling, with 190 delegates from many backgrounds and countries sharing their knowledge, ideas and perspectives of all things lime.  The joint theme was Lime Finishes and Lime in Extreme Climates. It included hands-on activities at Doune Castle and the Charlestown Workshops, and visits to Bannockburn House, Kinneil House, Dunblane Cathedral, and Stirling Castle.  The Gathering was generously supported by Historic Environment Scotland, who provided The Engine Shed for plenary sessions, use of the Great Hall of Stirling Castle for the Baker Memorial Lecture and gala dinner, and, not least, a generous grant which enabled 21 bursaries and travel grants for young craftspeople and professionals from around Scotland.  Thirteen other bursaries were also awarded to delegates from outwith Scotland, funded by the auction at the Canterbury Gathering.

A small number of Stirling delegates took the opportunity of being in Scotland to visit two lime projects: the castles of Duart and Gylen.  The masonry of the ruined Gylen Castle on the Isle of Kerrera showed how well lime repairs had stood up to everything that the Atlantic could throw at it over a decade, while Duart showed progress on lime work to dry out a sodden castle.

There was a Lime Day at Corfe Castle in March, hosted by The National Trust, where the standing archaeology and history of repairs came under the scrutiny of 30 members and friends.  There was a second Lime Day hosted by Poltimore House near Exeter in April, where 20 members and friends enjoyed a mix of talks and demonstrations as well as an opportunity to discuss the proposed restoration of the house and its magnificent plasterwork.

A three-day symposium on hot-mixed lime mortars was held in York in June, attended by 150 delegates, including 21 who were assisted by bursaries.  Two days consisted of talks, with presentations from speakers from Canada and Spain as well as from around the United Kingdom and Ireland; the third day comprised a range of hands-on activities at the York Minster Stoneyard and scaffolding tours of the Minster.

None of these activities could take place without the dedication of individual members who give their time to organise events, gather material for publications, or contribute as participants.

Plans for 2020 and Beyond

The Building Limes Forum will hold further events in 2020.  A three-day event is planned for the Isle of Man in May and the 2020 Conference and Gathering will be held in Exeter in September. There will be consideration of further research into building limes as opportunities and funds permit.

Read BLF Annual Report and Financial Statements for 2019

Next Conference

Looking Back, Looking Forward: learning from the past to inform the future. The Exeter Gathering, originally scheduled for 4-6 September 2020 has been postponed to 27-29 August 2021.

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