Written by Jenna Tinning, Conservation Studies postgraduate (2017-18).
At the end of a busy first week for the new 2017/18 Conservation Studies cohort, the students and alumni gathered together on Saturday 30 September 2017 for a study to trip to the World Heritage Site of Studley Royal Park, known by many as home to the ruins of Fountains Abbey. We were very lucky to be led through the day by the extremely knowledgeable Dr Keith Emerick, Inspector of Ancient Monuments at Historic England, who has been involved in the conservation management of the site for many years.
As one of National Trust’s flagship sites (though interestingly managed by English Heritage!) the visit was a brilliant example of sustainable management of a cultural heritage asset as a visitor attraction. Keith picked up on a number of interesting points about the challenges that are faced in making this a reality. We started the day with a bit of background to the site, where we discovered just how many partners are involved in its running and what it means to be a world heritage site – including the fact that ‘fountains’ must have a management plan for every six years, which in turn forms the guidelines for the conservation work on site.
An invitation for expressions of interest in the YCAA’s five-day study tour.
This will be an unique opportunity to explore the current conservation issues in a city of ‘endless metamorphoses’, (Mazower 2005). Situated at the northern extremity of the Aegean Sea, and to the south of the Balkan states, Thessaloniki had been for seventeen-hundred years an Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine metropolis – until 1430AD. Then, with the collapse of the Roman Empire, it came under the rule of the Ottoman Turks until the First World War. Athens, on the other hand, had been promoting and celebrating its Hellenic past since Greek independence from Turkish rule in the 1830s. The result is an intriguingly different focus on heritage in Thessaloniki compared to Athens: the world Heritage site of Thessaloniki has no Hellenic remains, no Acropolis, but comprises an assemblage of Byzantine monuments which themselves have undergone metamorphoses from places of Pagan worship, to Christian churches to Mosques, but all provide evidence of artistic and cultural exchange with those two great cultural centres of Rome and Constantinople.
Our final visit of the day took us to the Grade II-listed St. Michael’s Church in Mytholmroyd (1847-1848), which was majorly affected by the Boxing Day floods of 2015. The rivers Elphin and Calder reached record heights, leaving 1.2m of water in the church and its adjacent hall, as well as causing devastation throughout the homes and businesses of Mytholmroyd. The Church still holds a relatively large congregation of between 60 and 80 people. It is difficult to imagine the heartache for those who not only lost their homes, but also their community building as a result of the flooding!
Following on from the visit to Heptonstall’s Wesleyan Methodist Chapel and Sunday school, the group made its way up to the village’s twin churches of St. Thomas. Upon arriving at the Church of St. Thomas the Apostle (1850-1854), the Churchwarden, Graham Kidd, gave us a brief context of the building.
The church is a good example of reflective and progressive approaches to architectural development. Continue reading →
The first site visit on the study tour was Hepstonstall Methodist Church (grade II*) and its neighbouring Sunday school building (unlisted but in the setting of a listed building). The church dates from 1764 and is said to be the oldest Methodist chapel in continual use (although apparently Yarm Chapel also makes this claim!). Originally the building was an interesting octagonal shape as approved by John Wesley, and used in a number of other Methodist chapels, but was extended in 1802. The Sunday school was built in 1891. Both buildings have significant condition problems. Continue reading →
Written by Eric Carter, Dan Edmunds & Sean Rawling, edited and introduced by Duncan Marks (all current York University MA in Conservation Studies students)
Reflecting recent developments in conservation, one of the running themes in the MA in Conservation Studies programme at York is the impact of climate change, and how this requires us to consider sustainability, retro-fitting, and post-disaster management of the built historic environment. Recently, too, the YCAA co-facilitated Resilient York, a successful day conference that explored ways in which York’s communities and historic buildings can be better prepared for the city’s frequent flooding.
It was therefore both timely and very much welcomed when YCAA member, Richard Storah of Storah Architecture, invited members, especially current MA students, to visit three sites in West Yorkshire’s beautiful Upper Calder Valley where he is leading restoration projects addressing different effects of climate change. Continue reading →
To complete the study tour, the second day in Edinburgh included a viewing of the Forth and its famous bridge. Having looked at the Forth Bridge construction in previous studies, I was particularly looking forward to this portion of the weekend and it certainly did not disappoint. A clear morning provided an excellent opportunity to take in the 19th-century cantilever bridge and its younger neighbours, the Forth Road Bridge, a 20th-century suspension bridge, and the Queensferry Crossing (currently under construction), a 21st-century cable-stayed bridge. The showcase of bridge technology and history from one vantage point is an impressive sight and well worth the trip. Continue reading →