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.
In my previous career as an engineer in new product introduction, I learned all too well that ‘we are living in a material world’ (Madonna’s 1985 song Material Girl). Unlike working with systems or software issues, with hardware, one is up against the laws of nature. There are no workarounds; one has to work with materials, and that means understanding them – sometimes at the molecular level. That is one of the reasons I was drawn to the York conservation studies programme, which balances the theoretical and cultural aspects of conserving built heritage with a practical, hands-on approach and a strong grounding in traditional building materials and buildings crafts (we also say trades in North America). After completing the lime and stone module, I was intrigued about what I had learned, and left with a driving curiosity about the local quarries, stonemasons and quarrymen in my own part of the world, southern Alberta, Canada. Continue reading →
When asked to contribute an article for this month’s newsletter I initially did not know where to start, so much had happened since I emerged from my dissertation bubble last January. But the more I thought about the year, despite several interwoven strands of opportunities and experiences, there has been one theme I can’t ignore. Whether it be the upheaval in UK and US politics or in our world of conservation and the historic environment, the IHBC got it right when they chose their summer school theme ‘People Power! – Catalyst for Change’.
Last autumn, whilst writing up my research, I joined the University of York Heritage Planning Studio, a team of Conservation, Cultural Heritage Management and Buildings Archaeology postgraduate students who meet one afternoon a week to assist York Civic Trust with their planning casework. Continue reading →
Recent times have seen the closure of some of York’s most iconic shops and restaurants – Mulberry Hall, Scott’s Butchers, Cox’s Leather Shop, Bulmers, TheWillows restaurant. As independent retailers, they have helped shape York’s individuality, and reader’s responses in the local Press show they will be dearly missed. In August 2014, Robson & Cooper, the leather emporium that had traded at 14 Lendal since 1911, was added to the list of departing stores following the death of its co-owner and manager, George Myerscough. Continue reading →