Training in traditional construction skills for Penicuik students
Students from Penicuik and Beeslack High Schools are currently taking part in on-site training in traditional construction skills at the historic St Mungo’s churchyard in Penicuik.
Part of the Penicuik Heritage Regeneration Project training plan, the scheme will see the students repair and repoint parts of the churchyard stone boundary walls which are in urgent need of restoration. Experienced stone masons from training providers Craig Frew Conservation Ltd, are managing the work.
The scheme will last over 3 weeks, with 18 students in total taking part - a team of 6 students each week from both schools. As well as the physical repair work, the training will look at the planning and financial aspects that have to be considered in a project such as this.
The training started earlier this month with the students receiving a full health and safety briefing. As well as safety boots, overalls, masks, glasses and gloves, they were each provided with an individual bag of tools.
Their work involves taking out defective cement pointing and replacing it with lime mortar. Some new wall stones will also be needed, together with some new copings which will be installed with the help of the experienced tutors.
As part of the training project, some students have also been able to visit Penicuik House where they were given a talk by the stone mason who was involved in helping consolidate the remains of that historic building.
“Training in traditional construction skills is key in protecting and enhancing our built heritage environment,” said Midlothian Provost Councillor Debbi McCall, who chairs the Heritage Regeneration Project team. “With many traditional skills being lost as a result of experienced craftsmen retiring, it is really important that young people are able to gain an understanding of how to repair and restore historic buildings, to help ensure that they are safeguarded for the future.
Thanks to those involved
“This is a marvellous project for our young people to be involved in, and I would like to thank all those who have helped make it happen. The Penicuik Heritage Regeneration project is also grateful to St Mungo’s Church for the use of the church hall as a base for the project’s welfare facilities.”
The Penicuik Heritage Regeneration Project will also be present at this year’s Hunter and Lass event in the town. Craig Frew Conservation will have a stand in the Park on the afternoon of Saturday 28 May, where Craig and his expert team will be demonstrating traditional construction skills, including stone carving, roof slating, joinery and signwriting. Anyone is welcome to try their hand at some or all of the skills being showcased.
About the regeneration project
The Penicuik Heritage Regeneration Project is a 5-year scheme aimed at regenerating the historic core of Penicuik through historic building grants, improvements to public areas and an extensive education, training and engagement programme. It is funded by the National Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Environment Scotland and Midlothian Council, and is supported by Penicuik Community Development Trust, and Penicuik and District Community Council.