Press Release: West Dean College of Arts and Conservation announce new programme of building conservation masterclasses

West Dean College of Arts and Conservation is very pleased to announce the resumption of site based training in Historic Building Conservation, following delays due to the Covid pandemic, starting with the four-day course Structural Repair of Historic Buildings from Monday, June 7 to Thursday, June 10, 2021. The course leader Ian Hume is a former Chief Engineer of the Conservation Engineering Team of English Heritage and a structural engineer who has had an influential role in the conservation of historic buildings across the UK for the past 40 years. He has worked extensively in private practice and published numerous technical articles and papers, which provide practical guidance in the conservation of historic structures. He is an experienced trainer, having taught widely at UK universities and other institutions on conservation engineering and is an active member of the UK Conservation Accreditation Register for Engineers (CARE).

This course can be taken on its own, or as one of the seven core Building Conservation Masterclasses (BCMs) required for completion of the Professional Development Diploma (PDD) in Historic Building Conservation and Repair and offers special value to those who wish to gain a new perspective in applying engineering principles to the conservation of historic structures such as architects, conservation officers, masons, carpenters and others involved in conservation, as well as to engineers.

The course covers monitoring equipment and methods, load testing, scaffolding and temporary works, repair works to masonry, metal and timber structures, ranging from pointing and grouting to tying and underpinning. The informal evening sessions provide an opportunity for participants to present a structural problem or case study for group discussion, using their own photographs and drawings. Site visits provide an opportunity for further discussion; these include structures on the West Dean estate, as well as a visit to the Weald and Downland Living Museum. The non-residential cost of the course is £683.

Feedback from previous BCM courses shows that 99% of participants would recommend the College to others (based on 2019-2020 student feedback). Comments include: "I really valued the opportunity to share skills and experiences (both focussed and more broadly associated with course content) in a relaxed and mutually supportive environment." Paul, Structural Repair of Historic Buildings student, 2019

"The diversity of information and knowledge from [the tutors]. It was a pleasure to listen to their experiences and also learn from their mistakes which they acknowledged was an important part of the course. Also, meeting other delegates from all over the world and hearing about their work and issues they have was extremely helpful; it's brilliant to network and understand their work as well as getting to know them on a personal level too." Amelia, Structural Repair of Historic Buildings student, 2019

Other courses in 2021 include:

· June 14-17 - Conservation of Historic Concrete with Catherine Croft (£746). Created in response to the growing number of concrete buildings which are now listed, this course is an in-depth look at how to implement a conservation and repair strategy through lectures, demonstrations and practical exercises.

· September 13-16 - Conservation and Repair of Architectural and Structural Metalwork with Geoff Wallis (£726). This course covers a wide range of conservation techniques for both ferrous and non-ferrous metals, including the latest developments in cathodic protection and electrotype forming for statuary. There will also be a hands-on opportunity in the Forge.

West Dean College of Arts and Conservation in West Sussex, has been running internationally respected Building Conservation Masterclasses in conjunction with Historic England since 1999. Students come from across the UK and further afield for a range of courses taught by experts from across the sector, and using the College’s unique ruinette. Core subject areas include brick, flint, timber, stonemasonry, plasters, renders, metals, concrete and structural repairs. The courses can also be taken as part of a Professional Development Diploma. Students include architects, surveyors, engineers, stonemasons, carpenters, bricklayers, conservators and graduates. To find out more, please see

To ensure a safe and welcoming campus, the College has put in place measures operating on a principle of the same as, or better than, national guidelines. This includes social distancing, self-opening doors, less students in workshops, and extensive cleaning and sanitising protocols to protect students and staff. For more details on Social Distancing and COVID-19 measures, please visit

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Notes to Editors:

• West Dean College of Arts and Conservation is an educational charity whose mission is to provide the highest quality education in arts and conservation. Alongside the academic provision, the College supports an annual programme of residencies designed to provide research and development opportunities to artists and writers whilst enhancing the learning environment of the College.
• West Dean College of Arts and Conservation was founded in 1971 by the poet and Surrealist patron, Edward James, recognised by BBC Arts as the ‘the greatest patron of art of the early 20th century’. 
• The College is part of The Edward James Foundation (Charity No. 1126084), also comprising West Dean Gardens, West Dean Estate and West Dean Tapestry Studio.
• All photography is free to use for editorial purposes. 
• West Dean College is situated on the A286, six miles north of Chichester and within easy access of Portsmouth, Guildford, Brighton and London. 

For all media enquiries please contact:
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 01243 818300

West Dean College of Arts and Conservation, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 OQZ