Two of the elements required for a conservation plan are a condition report and an assessment by an historic building specialist as to the significance of various aspects of the building. These ensure that any important elements of the building aren’t overlooked and consider what would be the effect of repairs.
We could have simply commissioned reports from our chosen professionals, but as this project seeks to engage people with their heritage and have a better understanding of what it takes to look after such precious buildings, we decided to do things slightly differently.
We were extremely fortunate to be able to work with Roger Bunney of local structural engineers, EAR Sheppard and with a Rye-based historic buildings specialist – Alan Dickinson. Together, we planned and ran a study day whereby interested people could come and join in, learning how a building survey and recording exercise takes place and how our professionals know which features are original, which have been added or changed and how rare such features are. They were even able to show us features we hadn’t noticed ourselves – it was all very exciting!
Not only did the students learn…but the professionals learned from each other and so it was a positive and interesting experience for everyone who attended the day. We based ourselves at the Landsdowne Hotel who kept us well topped up with food and drink and it was close enough to walk to and from the Tower without getting too wet (it rained quite a bit…even though it was summer).
In addition to the visual survey, we had two surveyors join in – one using traditional measuring techniques and the other showing us some laser surveying equipment. This gives us some ideas for possibilities for the future!
All in all, whilst this is a more time-consuming way to commission surveys, the benefits in terms of sharing knowledge and getting really hands-on with what it takes to care for our Tower were immeasurable. Thank you to everyone who made the day so thoroughly engaging.
Students assemble to discuss the surveys and to see the results of a partial laser-survey of the Tower
No corner of the Tower was left unexplored. Some intrepid souls even venture into the cistern
Learning about the evils of cementitious renders and mortars in old buildings
No bystanders allowed – Shirley makes recording notes
Assessing the roof and the ventilation shafts
Roger determines whether the pulley wheel is likely to be repairable (probably not, sadly)