Building Limes in Conservation

By Ian Brocklebank

Review by Ashley Pettit (February 2013)

Lime has always been fundamental in construction and the understanding of how to make it work today is showcased in this publication. Many chapters are key texts, Paul Livesey’s chapter on working in extreme weather conditions should be compulsory reading for the start of any project, but in truth every article shows the increased understanding of the subject that is making lime successful in today’s marketplace. The articles are carefully grouped to give structure to the book and the authors’ biographies show the depth of experience available.

Looking for the right material and specification for every project can become very involved. In Stafford Holmes’s chapter on Grey Limes, he explains the diversity that existed at the beginning of the last century, and the wide range of limes are also discussed in the article on Roman Cements in chapter 7, and by Pierre Bergoin on Lime after Vicat. The quest for the right lime for the job in hand has a long history, which has accelerated in recent centuries by the intervention of science.

This book has science aplenty and looks to find answers to many empirical observations, discussing in detail how to replicate old mortars, how to analyse failures and concludes with a discussion on the application of the relatively new nano-limes.

The whole has been edited by Ian Brocklebank, whose introduction sets the standard and his audacity to restyle the iconic lime cycle shows the new confidence in the lime products available to us today.

It is not only a book for intellectuals but is fully accessible for anyone who wishes to understand these important building materials. I tried it around the office and found that the book was eminently readable by anyone with an enquiring mind.

There is no substitute for using lime in the company of an experienced practitioner, but here you can find comfort in the knowledge shared in this volume. Equally, if you want to be taken seriously in the lime world, you should have read this book.

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