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Historic Building workshop, Bricks and mortars, Kent

November 18, 2016, 10:00 - 16:30


Historic Building workshops

Bricks and mortars

Date: 18 November 2016

When: 1000 – 1630

Where: Knole House, Sevenoaks

Cost:  £120.00 plus VAT (£144.00) to include seminar proceedings, all refreshments, lunch and comprehensive delegate pack

The day’s course will consider in depth three aspects of building conservation.

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  • The care and repair of historic stonework
  • The care and repair of historic brickwork
  • Understanding historic mortars and the use of lime in conservation


The venue has been carefully chosen as it represents a fine example of 15th century and later stonework. This major and very large country house developed from a palace built by Archbishop Bourchier from 1456, and later extended by various archbishops of Canterbury. In 1538 Archbishop Cranmer was forced to give the property to Henry VIII and it remained in royal ownership though leased to a number of favourites until it was acquired by the Sackville family in 1605. The house remained in the ownership of the family until 1946 when it was given to the National Trust though the family still live in part of it. The buildings display masonry of many periods as it was modified and the interiors revamped in the 17th and 18th centuries. There has also been many phases of repair including major restoration of the Kentish Ragstone walls in the 20th century and now a large scale conservation project including not only the building but also its contents. The day will include formal Power Point presentations, material handling sessions and first hand observations of some of the buildings.


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.

Main themes

The History and Architectural Development of Stone Structures

Stone Buildings are some of our oldest surviving structures in the country and there are many from the medieval and later periods in need of sensitive care and repair. The use of stone was not just confined to the grand buildings and churches but was also used for a variety of ordinary domestic and vernacular buildings. The methods of quarrying, selection and use of stone in the past contributes much to the character and grain of our historic Cities, Towns and Villages.
Care and Repair of Historic Stonework. A basic understanding of historic stone structures will be developed. The identification of causes of failure and the selection of appropriate repair and conservation systems including the selection of replacement stone and methods of fixing will be considered.The History of Brickmaking and Building in Brick
Bricks have been a principal building material in many parts of the country since the 16th century.  The history and development of brick buildings and brickmaking will be examined up to the middle of the 20th century when bricks ceased to be a mainly local vernacular material and became a mass produced product by a few large international companies.
Interpreting Historic Brickwork
A selection of different types of bricks from different sources and periods will be handled and discussed, paying particular attention to how they were made and fired and how this affected their durability and character. Looking closely at historic brickwork can give clues as to how the bricks were manufactured and laid and what alterations the building has gone through since its original construction.  This process can be likened to reading a detective story: the clues are there, they just need interpreting by the observer, thus enabling a correct and aesthetically pleasing repair/restoration to be achieved.
Care And Repair of Historic Masonry structures and Selection of Mortars
The first important stage of this process is to identify the sources which have caused the problems of decay to occur; these must be resolved before the stonework or brickwork can be repaired.  It is also important to understand the nature and function of historic mortars and the dangers of the use of modern cementitious products.  The use of inappropriate mortars can result in the rapid deterioration of historic masonry and long term structural problems. The problems of water movement, salts, frost and the cleaning of stone and brickwork a will be examined.  The methods of re-pointing will also be considered, not only for aesthetic reasons, but to ensure the correct performance and durability of the new joint.
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Knole House, Sevenoaks
Knole House
Sevenoaks, TN15 0RP United Kingdom


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