Mustn’t Crumble

This autumn, a popular course that has taught the essential skills of historic building restoration and renovation to tens of thousands of construction workers will be offered again.

The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) is bringing back a special course in October to give building experts the knowledge they need to repair and renovate historic structures.

Many architects and developers are resorting to older structures for their projects due to the decline in new development.

In 1951, the first SPAB course was held, and since then, it has trained tens of thousands of professionals from the public and private sectors, including English Heritage and the National Trust.

Described by Dame Liz Forgan, former chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund, as the best course she’d been on, it includes a blend of professional lectures on themes such as conservation philosophy, stonework, lime, ancient structures and timber repairs.

Delegates also take part in site visits to historic structures under repair.

Uncertainty in the building sector is pushing professionals, particularly those who care for public buildings, to strive to enhance their knowledge base and extend their offering.

This in-depth examination of old-building practises and concerns is priceless.

Students have from Monday, October 1 through Friday, October 5 to complete the fall 2012 course. Now is the time to make a reservation.

The purpose is to explain by lectures and practical examples the method in which the conservative repair of old structures can be performed. One of the most important parts of the week is going on field trips to structures that need work.

As addition as afternoon site visits in the London area, there will be a two-day tour (usually Wednesday and Thursday) to conservation work taking place at a site in a different section of the country.

Conservation experts will benefit from the course’s focus on historic structures, while architects, surveyors, planners, structural engineers, builders, and artisans with an interest in working in this field can learn more.

Over the five days, attendees will be introduced to methodologies created and proved by SPAB for over 130 years. Lecturers are all established, practising architects and professionals from other connected professions.

There is a good chance that the following topics will be addressed:

  • Principles of repair and conservation
  • The material and repair applications of damp lime
  • Masonry as it has always been done
  • Finishes and surfaces
  • Structural repair – an engineer’s standpoint
  • Conservation of historic ironwork
  • Repair and conservation of plasters and renders
  • Case studies
  • Site visitors
  • Services in historic structures
  • Timber frame construction and repair
  • the price of restoring an old building’s roof
  • Repair and maintenance of stone and brick structures.
  • Timber – its nature, deterioration, mechanism and restorative therapy
  • At 37 Spital Square, near Liverpool Street Station in London E1, the SPAB holds its lectures.

The Repair Course costs £710, which covers all lectures, essential papers, coffee and tea in the mornings and afternoons, and coach travel to the sites. It also covers the two-day excursion, which includes overnight lodging, transportation, insurance, and meals while on the road (accommodation in London is not provided).

Individual one-year memberships in the SPAB are also included in the registration price.

Course members will need to be able to climb scaffolding in some sites. Delegates who may require specific access requirements are recommended to contact the SPAB education team before booking.

In this audiovisual presentation, you can learn more about the course and hear what former participants have to say about their experience:

For further information about the SPAB Repair Course or to make a booking please contact SPAB courses organiser Skye Dillon: 0207 456 0915 or email: Alternatively, book online at

Last Updated on December 29, 2021


Author: Indra Gupta

Indra is an in-house writer with a love of Newcastle United and all things sustainable.

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