In 1986 the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) founded the William Morris Craft Fellowship, a six-month training programme which aims to broaden the skills and experience of craftspeople from any trade who are employed in the repair of historic buildings and are at the beginning of their careers. It is increasingly relevant given the lack of skilled people needed to care for Britain's historic building and structures. Each year three or four Fellows travel around the UK together, visiting sites and meeting expert craftspeople, contractors and architects working in building conservation. They experience traditional techniques and sympathetic repair in situ and visit structures of every age, size and style, ranging from brickworks to cathedrals to garden grottoes. Thatching, masonry, knapping, and pargeting are just some of the crafts the Fellows may try during the intensive but rewarding programme.
2015 Fellows Emma Teale and Joe Coombes-Jackman will talk about their experience of being SPAB William Morris Craft Fellows. Emma began her career in collections conservation with the National Trust and at Hampton Court, before specialising in stone conservation; her BA History of Art dissertation topic was 'Church Restorers and William Morris'. Joe completed his BA at Hereford College of Arts in 2014, and has since worked on ironwork for the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, and on the repair of cannon and their carriages dating from the Battle of Waterloo.