The Journal of the Building Limes Forum

Exciting news, The Journal of the Building Limes Forum has landed on members doormats. Alison Henry, committee member of the Building Limes Forum, talks about her experience as editor of The Journal and why this publication is a timeless repository of research, knowledge and case studies for anyone interested in lime.

My copy of The Journal of the Building Limes Forum just landed with a thud on my doormat. When, as a young conservation officer and recently qualified stone conservator, I first joined the Building Limes Forum in the mid-1990s, I never dreamed that I would rise to the giddy heights of being the Forum’s journal editor!

After four years, this is my last volume as editor as I’m handing over to Jacqui Goddard who is an architect, lecturer and Convener of the Australian Chapter of the BLF, but I hope I’m going out on a high note, as it’s a bumper edition with an exciting selection of papers, ranging from studies of past practices in the use of lime, scientific research, and case studies to exciting new developments that push the boundaries of lime use.

Why The Journal of the Building Limes Forum is so important
In a year when, sadly, the annual Building Limes Forum conference has had to be cancelled, the Journal is – more than ever – the showcase for members’ work and a great way to share research and opinion and contribute to the lime debate.

The inaugural issue of the Journal was produced in 1992, printed in black and white and just 19 pages long. The Journal’s come a long way since then, adopting colour for the covers in 2002 and full colour printing in 2005, and expanding in length to 100 pages. However, looking at some of those early volumes proves the adage that you can’t judge a book by its cover: there are some fantastic papers that are just as relevant today as they were when published.

Suggested reading from previous editions
If you’ve been faced with failure of lime-based work, take a look at Peter Hood’s paper on ‘The reasons for failures in lime-based mortars, plasters and renders’ in volume 4 (1996), or if you’ve ever wondered what causes those swirl patterns that you sometimes see in ancient render or pointing, the answer lies in Nigel Seeley’s paper in the same volume.

And in the light of current concerns over climate change, how about reading Neville Hill and Kelvin Mason’s article on calculating the energy efficiency of lime burning in volume 5 (1997) or Neil May’s paper ‘The ecology of lime’ in volume 6 (1998)?

The Journal also carries papers about ground-breaking scientific research, which reflects the esteem in which it is held and the importance of the membership in translating academic research into practical applications; it’s worth revisiting ‘The mechanism of carbonation in lime-based materials’ by Radonjic et al in volume 8 (2001), or ‘The influence of mortar water content on the strength of lime-mortar masonry’ by Adrian Costigan and Sara Pavia in volume 17 (2010).

Perhaps the whole ethos of the Building Limes Forum is summed up in Cliff Blundell’s paper in volume 16 (2009) – ‘Where there’s lime, there’s hope’! I could go on, but I know you’ll be keen to start reading the current volume, which contains more game-changing work; in particular I commend Tim Meek’s paper on integrated mortars, Will Napier and Stephen Blench’s paper on the use of gypsum in historic Scottish plasterwork, and Ben Bosence’s paper on the use of waste materials from seafood restaurants to make lime.

Getting a copy of The Journal and past editions
If you’re not already a member, it’s not too late to join and receive this year’s Journal. And as a thank-you for joining, we’ll also send you a selection of 5 volumes of the journal from previous years, worth over £50! You may think this is simply an attempt to clear out old and out-of-date stock, but far from it: as described above, the Journal is a timeless repository of research, knowledge and case studies, which anyone who is interested in lime would benefit from re-visiting.

Find out more about membership, download an application form and take advantage of this special offer to start mining the deep seam that is The Journal of the Building Limes Forum.

Talk to other lime experts and enthusiasts
Of course, the journal is just one advantage of being a member of the Building Limes Forum. As well as the journal you’ll get regular newsletters and reduced rates at Building Limes Forum events. In time you will also get to meet loads of brilliant people; the forum is a level playing field, where every member has the chance to learn from others and contribute their own experience of the use of lime; I don’t think there can be many organisations where skilled craftsmen rub shoulders with high-ranking academics, or conservation professionals engage in debate with materials producers and suppliers. Someone once described the annual conference as “a slow motion party with lectures” – which I think is quite a selling point! I’ve learned a huge amount, had a lot of fun and made some lasting friendships thanks to the Building Limes Forum.

So, why don’t you join us? With your free back issues of the journal, there’s never been a better time!

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.

Membership of the Building Limes Forum is open to all, no prior knowledge or experience in the use of lime in building is required. The membership form may be downloaded by clicking on the link below.

Become a member

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.

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322 Lawnmarket
Edinburgh, EH1 2PG, UK

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