A week bringing the past into the present at Balmerino Abbey – the site of this year’s Scottish Building Conservation Working Party – has been successful through hands-on conservation.
The event aimed to inspire local community volunteers to think differently about old buildings and providd a firsthand approach to learning through practical conservation.
Inspired by successful events organized by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings in England and Scotland, the Working Party enables the country’s leading heritage organisations to put their expertise into practice on a local level.
By undertaking repairs to an historic building in need, local communities connect with their past and contribute to a historic building’s future.
Wendy Purvis, property manager said: “I am delighted that Balmerino is the subject of this amazing opportunity. I enjoyed getting hands-on experience myself, guided by experts in their field.”
The event brought together volunteers, historic building professionals and conservation specialists for a week of work and learning, with traditional ‘lime burning’ demonstrations and other traditional crafts.
William Napier, National Trust for Scotland, lead surveyor said: “The Trust is very grateful to have the help of so many experts at beautiful Balmerino Abbey. As a charity, without the contribution of volunteers, we simply couldn’t carry out our vital work to conserve Scotland’s heritage.”
Balmerino Abbey was founded in 1227 by monks from Melrose Abbey, and thrived until 1547 when it was sadly burned down.
The ruins were originally consolidated in 1910, and are now in the stewardship of the National Trust for Scotland.
The annual summer working party has become an increasingly popular event attracting volunteers ranging from heritage and architectural professionals, to those with an informed amateur interest in buildings and history.
For this short period they are united in their efforts to help a specific building and experts were on hand at all times to guide volunteers through the work.
The local community also pulled together to help provide facilities for the volunteers, and organised a free open day on Wednesday where there was slaking and lime burning demonstrations and puppet shows for children.