23rd March 2021
Stonemason Vacancy at Chester Cathedral
Chester Cathedral is seeking to appoint a full-time Stonemason. This role will support the repair and conservation of the fabric of the Cathedral and surrounding buildings, in conjunction with the Estate Manager, Clerk of Works, Cathedral Conservator and the Cathedral Architect.
More details on this vacancy, which closes on 18th April, are available here
15th March 2021
Abraxas Academy – Stone and Letter Carving Course
Beginners and Experts alike are welcome on a residential stone and letter carving course which will take place from 23rd – 26th August 2021. More information can be found here
11th March 2021
A competition for early career carvers in wood and stone is now open for applications
The Grinling Gibbons Tercentennial Award in wood and stone is a national competition for emerging craftspeople and carvers that is being held as part of the 300th anniversary commemorations of Britain’s greatest master carver.
2nd March 2021
CWF student carves the new South Transept Cross at Durham Cathedral
Peter Crinnion, stonemason at Durham Cathedral, has just completed a new cross for the south transept at Durham Cathedral, after his design won a competition.
Peter worked on crafting the new cross in Durham Cathedral’s Work’s Yard for over a year while also developing his portfolio of work as a CWF student. More information is in this news item.
Peter commented “It is an honour to see my design finally come to fruition and receive a blessing after all this time.” He talks about the cross design and is filmed carving it here.
The Cross was blessed by Andrew Tremlett, Dean of Durham Cathedral, on 16th February, before its installation. Watch the Blessing here.
26th January 2021
Cathedral crafts given funding lifeline to help preserve English cathedrals in the pandemic
As part of a longer-term investment aimed at keeping alive the specialist skills needed to repair and maintain our cathedrals the Hamish Ogston Foundation (HOF) has joined forces with the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship (CWF) to fund twenty-one stonemasonry and joinery trainees at English cathedrals in 2021.
Emergency funding of £535,000 will give the twenty-one trainees, and their employers, stability at a time of uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Without this support, some of the trainees would have had to call a halt to their studies and others would have faced redundancy, with the strong likelihood that their skills would have been lost to the heritage sector.
The funding marks the first phase of a five-year, £2.8m HOF/CWF project to expand heritage training at English cathedrals. Even before the pandemic, many cathedrals were reaching crisis point, with no dedicated public funding to help them address the backlog of repairs. Their financial position has been made much worse by COVID-19, in the wake of which it is unlikely that any cathedral will have the money to take on heritage craft trainees in the short term. The HOF/CWF Craft Training project, details of which will be published shortly, will be key to maintaining the flow of skilled craftspeople on whom the future of our cathedrals depends.
CWF Executive Director Frances Cambrook said: “We are very excited to be working with the Hamish Ogston Foundation on this important initiative. Cathedrals, like everyone, have been hit hard by the pandemic and the immediate future of our craft training programmes was in jeopardy. The funding will enable training to continue online throughout the rest of this academic year, avoiding the loss of trainee positions, and enable us to plan confidently to increase training opportunities over the next four years”.
Stonemason Tony Murphy is one of the trainees who will benefit directly from this grant. Redundancy had meant that he would have to give up his place on the CWF’s 2-year Foundation degree course, but HOF funding has enabled Tony to take up a placement at Gloucester Cathedral which will allow him to complete the course this year.
Tony said: “The funding from the Hamish Ogston Foundation is enabling me to continue my learning through the CWF at Gloucester Cathedral. I am passionate about furthering my skills and deepening my knowledge and experience as a crafts person. The broad range of teaching, work-based learning and professional development provided by the CWF is an invaluable opportunity for me. I am incredibly grateful to the HOF for their support”.
Find out more about the Hamish Ogston Foundation here.
15th January 2021
The new Annual Report is published today.
The CWF Annual Report was published on 15th January. This publication reviews a most extraordinary year for everyone involved with The Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship.
Download a PDF of the 2020 Annual Report here
1st January 2021
A new member for the new year
We are delighted to welcome Chester Cathedral as a member of the CWF.
Chester re-opened their Works Department two years ago and currently have one solitary stone mason, who is also a student on the current cohort of our Foundation degree. They hope to gradually grow the workforce in the coming years as funding allows.
This new addition takes the number of CWF cathedrals to ten. Students and staff alike are looking forward to visiting Chester for a Study Workshop when we are able to go out and about again.
22nd September 2020
They’re back! After six long months, we are delighted to have resumed the Foundation degree course today. Thirteen students will be participating in our first online Study Workshop, set in ‘virtual’ Lincoln Cathedral, learning about the principles of historic building conservation.
With a mixture of online presentations, video-recorded lectures, virtual tours, demonstrations and live seminar discussions with tutors and visiting speakers, it is set to be a busy couple of days on Zoom!
Remote learning cannot hope to fully replace the wonder and atmosphere of Lincoln Cathedral, but we think we have created the next best thing for these challenging times, enabling our students to stay safe and study.
29th May 2020
CWF receives Grant from Historic England Covid-19 Emergency Fund
When the current cohort started their course in September 2019 social distancing was clearly not an issue! Since then the world has changed and we are all having to come to terms with a ‘new normal’ and what that might mean for our students and our course.
We are therefore delighted to have been awarded a grant by Historic England from their Covid-19 Emergency Fund. The grant will enable us to maintain momentum and start to develop alternative ways of delivering our highly practical course to meet new social distancing and travel guidelines.
Over the coming months we shall be creating webcasts, video demonstrations and other remote learning tools, so that we can restart the course as soon as soon as it is safe to do so.
21st May 2020
CWF contributes to Historic England debate
Historic England have dedicated the latest issue in their Heritage Online Debate series to the impact of Covid-19 on the heritage sector. You can read CWF’s contribution to the debate here.
15th May 2020
Foundation degree next steps
It is mid-May and the country is still largely locked down. The students are in good spirits though, some even admitting to doing more reading in lockdown than they would otherwise have done and finding this useful! They are all looking forward to getting back to work and back to studying, when it is safe to do so, albeit recognising that there are likely to be significant changes to what we do and how we do it in the short – medium term.
We are working on our strategy to resume the course from September, and confronting the serious challenge of how to deliver practical work-based training in a socially distanced way. It will certainly be a while before we are able to work together as we did in this picture! It is going to be a busy few months.
7th April 2020
The difficult but unavoidable decision has been taken to suspend all CWF Foundation degree activity until September 2020. Whilst it is hoped that everyone will be back at work before then, the pressure will be on the cathedrals’ Works Departments to catch up with delayed work and make the most of what is left of the critical summer season, making it very difficult for either students or staff to give priority to their Foundation degree work.
As the situation unfolds over the coming weeks and months we shall be making plans for the resumption of the course from September.
25th March 2020
Covid-19 Interrupts Foundation degree
We are responding to the unfolding Coronavirus crisis with a series of measures to protect students and staff. In response to the government’s call, in mid-March, to reduce non-essential travel the Study Workshop scheduled for late March in Lincoln has been postponed.
The introduction of lockdown on 23rd March has meant that all students and most tutors have now been furloughed. This will require extensive changes to our programme of coursework and assessment, planning for which is underway.
25th January 2020
Tenth Anniversary today!
Today is the tenth anniversary of the launch of the CWF Foundation degree in Personal and Professional Development (Stonemasonry). In those days the programme was delivered at weekends, and the first cohort gathered in Gloucester for their first Study Workshop on 25th January 2010.
Two years later the first four students, Matthew Cook (York), Jason Crozier (Worcester), Andrew Kirby (Salisbury) and David Lamb (York) graduated at a ceremony in Gloucester Cathedral.
Shown here, left to right, are: Neil Barnes, Frances Cambrook, Adrian Munns, David Lamb, the late Peter Lyddon, Jason Crozier, Dr Phil Gravestock, Andrew Kirby and John David.
Where are they now? David Lamb and Matthew Cook run their own businesses. Jason Crozier works as a Project Manager at Clarkson Alliance and Andrew Kirby remains a valued member of the Works team at Salisbury Cathedral.
1st January 2020
New Year changes at CWF
Frances Cambrook, Academic Programme Manager of the CWF for the last nine years, has moved to a new role as Executive Director, following the retirement of the CWF Administrator Adrian Munns OBE and Assistant Administrator Roy Bentham MBE.
Frances has a background in higher and further education consultancy and she has extensive experience of working with employers and education providers supporting the development of innovative work-based education and training solutions. She designed the CWF’s original Foundation degree in Personal & Professional Development for stonemasons in 2008, and has been supporting the team delivering the programme, now revalidated as an Fd in Applied Historic Building Conservation and Repair, since 2011.
Frances said, “ The CWF Fd programme is now well established and recognised in the sector, but the cathedrals face strong challenges with the rising costs of conservation, maintenance and repair, recruitment and craft skill shortages. I am delighted to be working with the CWF on this next phase of their development”.
18 September 2019
Welcome to our new cohort!
Thirteen new students attended the graduation for the outgoing cohort at Gloucester Cathedral on 17th September – and then started their own course the next day!
This is our largest and most diverse cohort to date. We have two cathedral-based students joining our new craft pathway for plumbers, and two students on the carpenter/joiner pathway, with the remaining nine students pursuing the stonemasonry pathway.
We are especially pleased that we have been able to offer places to two students from commercial contractors for the first time this year. We welcome a stonemason from Chichester Stoneworks and a carpenter from Ellis and Co. Ltd.
We wish them all luck!
17 September 2019
In the beautiful setting of Gloucester Cathedral Quire, to the accompaniment of Gloucester’s world renowned Cathedral Choir, eleven new graduates received their Foundation degrees at a ceremony on 17th September. Family and friends, together with CWF tutors, watched proudly as the Awards were conferred by Stephen Marston, Vice Chancellor of the University of Gloucestershire, during Choral Evensong.
We congratulate them all and wish them well on the next stage of their careers!
All September News Images © Andrew Higgins reproduced with kind permission. Please contact Thousand Word Media if you would like copies of these images.
A senior volunteering opportunity
We are seeking to appoint a new volunteer Executive Director of the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship. Supported by a dedicated team of cathedral and academic professionals, the CWF Executive Director provides the leadership and coordination necessary to achieve ongoing success for the Fellowship. Working primarily from home, this is an unpaid role requiring a flexible commitment of approximately two days a week throughout the year. Contact us for further details and information about how to apply.
Closing date: 13th September 2019.
We are delighted that all eleven of our students have passed the final year of their Foundation degree. They are looking forward to their graduation ceremony in September.
The news of the tragic fire at the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris has saddened us all and highlighted the significance of our own historic ecclesiastical buildings and the ever present need to retain the craft skills to conserve, repair and maintain them.
The CWF sends its sincere support to colleagues in Paris, and to the people of France. We are sure that our partner cathedrals will be ready to offer support and assistance in the months ahead.
Recruitment is underway for the next intake of students on our Foundation degree in September 2019. The course is now open to stonemasons, carpenter/joiners and electricians employed in the heritage building sector, as well as to crafts people directly employed in cathedrals. Contact us for more information and to receive an application form.
Our field trip to St Margaret’s Church, Westminster and Westminster Abbey was described by one student as ‘the best part of the course so far’. We are very grateful to staff The Morton Partnership and Daedalus Conservation for giving us so much of their time and enabling the students to see the conservation and restoration work behind the scenes, including the recently completed Queens Diamond Jubilee Galleries in the Triforium.
Poppies on tour
Our field trip to Hereford Cathedral coincided with the installation of the Poppies: Weeping Window cascade. Touring as part of the 1st Word War Centenary commemorations, the Poppies will be at Hereford until 29th April.
What’s the problem?
Students gathered in Winchester for their Principles of Conservation assessment. The task, set by module leader Heather Newton, Head of Conservation at Canterbury Cathedral, was to diagnose the possible causes of the decay to a pier in the North West Transept and make recommendations as to how to approach conservation and repair.
Winchester Mason Pourang Tajally (CWF graduate 2013) provided the background for the exercise.
Students celebrate success
Nine of our students have received their Foundation degrees at a graduation ceremony in Gloucester Cathedral. Stephen Buchan and Philip Green from Canterbury, Steven Mann from Durham, Owen Whitfield from Exeter, James Bayliss and Paul Synan from Gloucester, Laura Jeary from Lincoln, Christian Sullivan from Salisbury and Emily Draper from Worcester celebrated their success with family and friends.
The CWF now has twenty seven graduates from the four cohorts that have completed the programme since 2010.
The Duke of Gloucester Craft Awards
were established by The Worshipful Company of Masons in 2007 in honour of HRH The Duke of Gloucester.
The awards are made jointly with The Stone Federation of Great Britain and the masons awards are given every two years in recognition of excellence in stonemasonry.
We are delighted that one CWF graduate, two graduands and two current students were amongst those receiving awards at a ceremony in London on 4th October. The top award went (jointly) to Victoria Darley (York Minster, CWF graduate 2015) and Tom Francis from Chichester Stoneworks. James Bayliss (Gloucester, CWF graduand 2017) and Luke Kingston (Salisbury, CWF student 2017) were ‘Highly Commended’ and Matt Hoskins (Exeter, CWF student 2017) and Christian Sullivan (Salisbury, CWF graduand 2017) each received a ‘Commendation’. Well done to all!
CWF welcomes new cohort
Ten stonemasons and one carpenter/joiner from seven of our cathedrals joined the first cohort of the new CWF Foundation degree programme on 26th September 2017. The first teaching Workshop took place over three days in Canterbury.
New Programme Validated
The CWF Foundation degree in Applied Historic Building Conservation and Repair has successfully completed validation with the University of Gloucestershire.
The final cohort of the CWF’s first Foundation degree in Professional Development completed their final assessments this month. Eight stonemasons and one cathedral electrician can now look forward to graduating in November.