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Historic Building workshop, Traditional vernacular building construction and materials, Blickling Hall, Norfolk

October 25, 2019, 09:00 - 17:00


Historic Building workshop

Traditional vernacular building construction and materials

Date: 25 October 2019

When: 0900 – 1700

Where: Banningham Crown  followed by Blickling Estate

Cost:  £125.00 plus VAT (£150.00) to include seminar proceedings, all refreshments, lunch, entrance to Blickling and comprehensive delegate pack

The day’s course will consider in depth the following aspects of historic building conservation and the care and repair of the heritage.

  • The local pallet of historic building materials. These including brick, stone, flint, timber, thatch and tile.
  • The more prestigious materials such as decorative plasterwork and glass.
  • The methods of selection and use of materials, identification of causes of failure and the selection of appropriate repair and conservation systems will all be considered.

The afternoon will be spent on a visit to Blickling House. Although this is a high status building it reflects the use of locally available materials in the early 17th century. The venue has been carefully chosen as Blickling House is a good example of the historic use of a wide range of local building materials. The day will include formal Power Point presentations in the morning at the nearby Walpole Arms, where we will also have lunch. The afternoon will be devoted to a tour of the site for first hand observations of the buildings.

The local pallet of traditional materials.

The use of stone and flint in the region was not just confined to the grand buildings and churches but was also used for a variety of ordinary domestic and vernacular buildings. Timber framing was also important in the medieval period but during the 16th century good building timber became scarce in the region. In the late medieval period the region saw some of the earliest use of brick in the country. After the 16th century brick became the most abundant local building material and was used for both the prestigious houses and the smaller domestic buildings. Water reed for thatching roofs was readily available from the reed beds of the wetland areas of the region. However for the more prestigious buildings clay tile was the preferred roofing material and again appeared quite early in the region. Glass for glazing windows became more available at the end of the 16th century though was expensive. The early 17th century use of glass on a large scale at Blickling House is a good example of the conspicuous display of the wealth of the owner. The interior of the house has good surviving decorative plasterwork from the 17th and 18th centuries.

Care and Repair

The first important stage of the process of repair is to identify the sources which have caused the problems of decay to occur; these must be resolved before the building can be repaired.  It is also important to understand the nature and function of historic materials and the dangers of the use of modern products which may not be as flexible or vapour permeable as the original materials.  The use of inappropriate mortars can result in the rapid deterioration of historic masonry and long term structural problems. Many of the problems with historic structures are due to lack of maintenance and water ingress. The most appropriate methods of repair will be considered, not only for aesthetic reasons, but to ensure the correct performance and durability of the new work. 

A brief history of Blickling

The house was constructed for Sir Henry Hobart who was the distinguished Chief Justice of the Common Pleas at the court of James 1st. It was designed by Robert Lyminge on the site of a former Medieval and Tudor manor. The house is a very grand Jacobean mansion with no expense spared. The building and its lavish interiors befitting the status of its owner. Of note is the Great Hall, the Grand Staircase and the Long Gallery, some 123 feet long. Outstanding original decorative ceilings by Edward Stanyon also survive.

In the 18th century there was some remodelling of the north and west ranges by Thomas and William Ivory for John Hobart the second Earl of Buckinghamshire. In 1793 the landscaped park was redesigned by Humphry Repton. In the 19th century a small amount of updating and alterations were undertaken but these do not impinge on the period splendour of the building.

The estate was given to the National Trust in 1940 and the house opened to the public in 1962.


Kevin Stubbs BA(Hons)  DipBldgCons(AA)  IHBC   CertEd

Kevin Stubbs is a Historic Buildings Consultant and comes with a background of education, archaeology and building conservation. He was Director of Archaeology for the Test Valley in Hampshire and later moved to Hampshire County Council to join the Historic Buildings Bureau, where he became the Principal Buildings Conservation Officer for the County. For eleven years he acted as the Director of a Conservation Centre and now runs his own Historic Building Consultancy and Training Company.

He advises on the repair and maintenance of all historic structures and provides training at all levels for the building conservation industry.  This includes the development of historic building technology, traditional materials and hands-on craft training.  Work for Local Government Authorities includes Conservation Area appraisals, historic building condition surveys and feasibility studies.  He has provided training exercises with local communities to raise awareness of their village plans and local heritage interpretation documents and he has provided Traditional Skills Awareness Courses for a number of bodies.

He undertakes the Historic Analysis of buildings and produces: Statements of Significance; Method Statements; Impact Assessments and Specifications for the repair and conservation of traditional buildings.

He lectures for various CPD providers, Universities and national building conservation organizations including SPAB, RICS and the Weald and Downland Museum.  Topics include: Bricks and Mortar; Lime, Plasters and Renders; Cob and Earth, Timber Frame and Stone Structures and Traditional Roofing.

The day will include formal Power Point presentations, material handling sessions and first hand observations of the building.

blickling booking form can be downloaded here
blickling flyer can be downloaded here
joining sheet can be downloaded here


Banningham Crown
Colby Road, Banningham,
Norwich,, Norfolk NR11 7DY


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