Conservation and Repair of Plasters and Renders, Online and Workshop Based with Tobias Carleton-Prangnell, Alison Henry and Dean Johnston

Ref: BCW13285

Location: Online

About this course

Learn basic skills in the conservation and replication of traditional internal and external plaster based on lime and gypsum but also including earth mortars and cob
Rendered and plastered masonry, timber-framed buildings with rendered infill panels and plastered earth buildings form a very important part of our heritage. Through lectures, demonstration and personal experience, you will learn about the properties of these materials and how they are applied and repaired. You will be learning using a combination of remote online and onsite workshop learning at West Dean. This is called a blended learning approach.
You will be given access to the online elements of the course from Monday 22 April 2024 and will have the opportunity to meet the tutors and other students in 3 remote Zoom sessions from 6- 7 pm on Tuesday 23 April 2024, Tuesday 7 May and Tuesday 14 May 2024. There are about 10 hours work in total in the online segments; these must be completed prior to attending the practical workshop and classroom sessions from 20 to 22 May 2024.

Course Description

Learn the basic and essential skills for conservation and replication of traditional plasters and renders. 

2.5 Day teaching agenda with 3 online sessions

5.30pm - 6.30pm - Meet students in the afternoon to run through: H&S - sign enrolment forms and site/ workshop orientation
7pm - 7.45pm - Dinner
8pm - 9pm - Evening session – Student case study presentations

9am - 10am - Site visit of West Dean Church include return coffee break
10am - 12pm – Introduction to plasters and renders
12pm - 12.45pm - Mortar review and wall rubble wall preparation
12.45pm - 2pm - Lunch
2pm - 3.30pm - Rubble wall substrate preparation and first coat
3.30pm - 4pm - Coffee Break
4pm - 5.30pm - Lath substrate, first coat and coring out running mold
7pm - 7.45pm - Dinner
8pm - 9pm - Evening session – Lime mortar science

9am - 10am - Lime Analysis, Method Statements and Specifications 
10am - 11.00am - Coffee Break
11am - 12.45pm - Earthen Mortars 
12.45pm - 2.00pm - Lunch
2pm - 3pm - Rubble wall plasters discussion and top-coat
3pm - 3.30pm - Coffee Break
3.30pm - 4.30pm - Lath top coat and top coat with running mold
4.45pm - Issue certificates and finish

Course Materials

What students need to bring

Please remember to bring work clothes/overalls and shoes/boots for practical sessions.  A torch and umbrella may be useful on the short walk to the Auditorium and Ruinette.


Is it possible to book only the online or onsite part of the course?
The course is only available as a joint online and onsite course and both elements must be completed.

Can I book accommodation for the onsite part of the course?
Yes, to book accommodation or find out about accommodation prices please call 01243 818300 (option 2) or email [email protected].

What technologies are used to deliver the online part of the course?
We use CANVAS, a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), for all your course materials. This is a system for delivering learning materials via the Internet. It offers you flexible access to all the course content, which is available to you for the duration of the course.

Do the course videos have subtitles for hearing impaired people?
Yes, all of our course videos have the option to display closed captions in English.

How do I access the online course?
You will receive your login details by email before the course start date.

What computer set-up will I need for the online element of the course?
You can watch our courses on all computers and devices – Mac, PC, Mobile and Tablet – with an Internet connection and a modern internet browser (see "What Web Browser do you recommend" below). You will need an email account to sign up for a course and an up-to-date web browser. Some of the course resources are presented as PDF files, which will require a PDF viewer such as Adobe Reader.

What web browser do you recommend?
PC users - Firefox ver. 54, Chrome ver. 58 or Edge ver. 14 or newer are recommended. Unfortunately, Internet Explorer 11 (or older) are not supported.
Mac users - Safari and Firefox are recommended.

We do not recommend using any Internet service provider's proprietary browser, as certain functions may be restricted. We regularly upgrade the site to add features and improve the quality of your experience. Please be sure to keep your browser updated. If you need to upgrade your browser, go to your browser manufacturer's website and download the most recent version.

Phones and tablets - All courses are built on a responsive platform, allowing for access on most smartphones and tablets.

What do I do if I experience technical issues?
If you have checked the technical requirements above and are using a suitable browser but the problem persists, email [email protected] with the details of your problem (including a screenshot if useful) for advice.

I’ve lost my login details, what do I do?
If you have deleted your login information please contact [email protected].


Tobias Carlton-Prangnell - BCM Tutor at West Dean College

Tobias Carleton-Prangnell

Tutor for Plasters & Renders courses

Tobias has worked as a senior consultant, practitioner, and lecturer in Historic Earthen Architecture Conservation for more than 20 years. Tobias is also a course author, leader and lecturer at West Dean on the Building Conservation Masterclass programme. 

Alison Henry - Tutor at West Dean

Alison Henry

Alison Henry is Head of Building Conservation and Geospatial Survey at Historic England. She has a special interest in mortars, renders and plaster, and leads Historic England’s research in this area. She co-edited and contributed to the Historic England Practical Building Conservation series volume on Mortars, Renders & Plasters. She is a trained stone conservator,  and also worked for many years as a local authority conservation officer.

Dean Johnston

Dean Johnston

Dean Johnston has been a bricklayer for 16 years and has worked exclusively within conservation for 10 years.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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