Industrial Heritage Training with Lorne Simpson in the Medicine Hat Clay Industries District

Written by Marilyn Williams

Last June, York Conservation Studies alumnus Lorne Simpson taught a week long Industrial Heritage course offered through the University of Victoria and based in a remarkable setting, Medalta Potteries, an industrial site that is also part of the 150-acre Medicine Hat Clay Industries National Historic District. The district comprises numerous clay industry enterprises, from the remnants of the 1910 Alberta Clay Products pressed brick & tile factory to the fully operational clay supplier, 1962 Plainsman Clays Ltd. The district also includes the adaptively re-used 1912 Medalta and 1937 Medicine Hat (Hycroft) potteries and the recently closed 1885 MHB&TCo (Medicine Hat Brick & Tile) factory, now I-XL. For Lorne, the industrial site also represents a “lifetime of work” – he has applied his conservation skills with the museum, interpretive centre and model community centre for over 30 years – and one of his proudest achievements. Over the ensuing week it would also serve as a collection of real life, ideal case studies with which we would observe and interact first hand. Continue reading