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Historic Building workshop, Traditional vernacular building construction and materials, Clandon Park, Guildford SOLD OUT

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Historic Building workshop, Traditional vernacular building construction and materials, Clandon Park, Guildford SOLD OUT

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

Historic Building workshop  SOLD OUT

Traditional vernacular building construction and materials

Date: 17 October 2019

When: 0900 – 1700

Where: Guildford Manor hotel followed by Clandon Park

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, flint, timber frame, tile, and plaster.
  • Problems of decay and methods of repair particularly after disasters such as fire.
  • Clandon Park. The aftermath of the disastrous fire and implications for the future.

The venue has been carefully chosen. Clandon Park was a fine example of the use of local vernacular materials and traditional construction. The building was constructed in the early 1720s for Lord Onslow and replaced an earlier Jacobean house. It reflected the wealth and social status of the original owner and was designed as a prestigious house in which to entertain. The architect was a Venetian, Giacomo Leoni and is in the Palladian Villa style. The exterior was rather plain in red brick with some stone elements. However the interior was highly decorated with sumptuous plasterwork by the stuccadore, Giuseppe Artari. The magnificent carved marble fireplace over-mantel reliefs in the Marble Hall were by the great sculptor John Michael Rysbrack. In the late 19th century some alterations and updating of the interior was undertaken. However in the 20th century the house reflected the general decline of the fortunes of many of these old families and was in a poor state of repair after WW2 during which it had been used as an out of London  store for documents from the Public Records Office. The family clung on to the house until it got too much for them and they gifted it to the N.T. in 1956.

Sadly in 2015 there was a disastrous fire which gutted the building and destroyed much of the collection. Restoration of the buildings fabric is due to commence next year so this will be one of the last chances to view the burnt out shell. The fire has revealed details of the original fabric and methods of construction and has raised much discussion as to the philosophy of repair and restoration.

The day will include formal Power Point presentations, material handling sessions and first hand observations of the buildings. The morning’s presentations will be based nearby where we will also have lunch. The afternoon will be spent on site at Clandon Park looking at the building and its materials of construction so come suitably dressed for the weather.

The local pallet of traditional materials.

The local landscape and historic system of land management affected the availability and use of building materials. In the Medieval period use of flint and stone in the form of chalk Clunch can be seen in the construction of the local churches and flint continues to be used for boundary walls into the 19th century.

Timber framing was also important in parts of the region in the medieval period but during the 16th century good building timber became scarce as oak was in high demand for ship building for the navy and the  rapidly developing window glass industry was devouring vast quantities of timber.

In the late medieval period parts of the area saw the development of a local brick and tile industry which continued to develop and thrive right into the 20th century.

Straw for thatching was readily available from farming activities. However for the more prestigious vernacular buildings clay tiles were extensively used from the 16th century onwards and where in prolific use by the end of the 19th century. The mid-nineteenth century saw the railways coming to the region and they provided cheap transport for building materials coming from other parts of the country. In this period slate from North Wales became popular for roofing.

Glass for glazing windows became more available at the end of the 16th century though was expensive. The use of glass on a larger scale during the 17th and 18th centuries is a good example of the conspicuous display of the wealth of the owner.

Clandon Park

The house was considered to be one of the most complete examples of early 18th Palladian architecture. The interior had very fine examples of decoration and craftsmanship of the period and also furniture and collections of national importance.

Sadly the fire in 2015 was so severe and developed so quickly that only a small percentage of the contents could be rescued. The fine stucco ceilings were destroyed together with the decorative finishes to the walls. Today the building is a roofless shell, totally enclosed by a huge scaffold canopy erected immediately after the fire to protect the surviving structural elements. The post fire debris were cleared as an archaeological process and many thousands of pieces of decorative plasterwork recovered. This system of recovery has produced so much information and fragments that it should be possible to reconstruct the architecture and decoration of the principle room. The fire has also revealed much information on the use of materials and details of the construction of the fabric of the house.

The conservation of the fabric and restoration of the building is due to commence next year and will involve many skilled craftsmen using traditional materials and techniques to reinstate the buildings grandeur and will take several years. It is proposed to restore the principle rooms to their former appearance. However, the less significant areas of the interior are likely to be given a modern design to create exhibition and visitor facilities.


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.

clandon booking form can be downloaded here


Guildford Manor Hotel
Newlands Corner
Guildford, Surrey GU4 8SE

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