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West Dean – Conservation & Repair of Stone Masonry (Practical)

13 March - 15 March


You will be learning using a combination of remote online learning and “traditional” workshop learning here at the college. This is called a blended learning approach.

You will be given access to the online elements of the course from the 2 February 2024, there are 10 hours work in total which must be completed prior to attending practical workshop and classroom sessions at the College on 11-13 March 202 4 (5.30pm arrival). Online discussions via Zoom will take place on 5 Tuesday evenings from 6pm-7.30pm: 6 February (Introduction), 13 February, 20 February, 27 February and 5 March. Access to online elements of the course will expire on 29 April.

During the course you will learn how to recognise and analyse stone types and the defects commonly found on historic stonework. This course will enable you to carry out condition assessment and development and evaluation of appropriate remedial work options. You will learn how to prepare and apply lime-based stone repair mortars and fix a small indent (new stone piece-in) using a range of methods, materials, and tools.

This course is open to anyone with an interest in historic buildings and their conservation, it is designed for those with some knowledge of building conservation who wish to develop their practical skills and experience. BCM students typically include a mix of building professionals and practitioners. Participants normally find that interaction with others on the course is a key part of their learning experience. If you have no knowledge in the field of building conservation you may find you need to do additional reading or other work to benefit fully from the course.

Online course content (approx. 10 hours) includes:
• Introduction to the College Health and Safety (including measures in place in response to the pandemic), your senior tutor Catherine Woolfitt, and Getting Started on your course
• Virtual introduction to other course participants through online activity guided by the tutor
• Access to our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) with course material to work through independently at your own pace
• Course material includes a combination of pre-recorded lectures, assigned activities, directed reading and viewing, PDFs of key information to save and keep
• Assigned activities for you to complete and upload to the VLE for group discussion online and subsequent face to face workshop and classroom sessions at West Dean
• Online discussion (at pre-assigned times), guided by the course tutor, to share ideas on content and activities
• Online technical support through the College Technical Resources and online learning support (at pre-assigned times) by the course tutor
• Online course content provides an introduction and essential information on the subjects outlined below
• Subsequent workshop sessions reinforce online learning through group discussion, demonstrations by tutors and hands on practical exercises where students carry out repair techniques on the Ruinette

Course Description:

Blended Learning Course Content (Blended: Online and Onsite)
You will be learning using a combination of remote online learning and “traditional” workshop learning here at the college

Overview of Online Content
Zoom sessions take place on 5 Tuesday evenings from 18.00- 19.00
6 February(Introduction), 13 February, 20 February, 27 February, and 5 March.
1. Stone and Lime
1.1 Geology
1.2 Use of Stone in Traditional Buildings
1.3 Stone Working
1.4 Lime Technology

2. Conservation and Repair
2.1 Conservation Principles
2.2 Weathering and Decay (How stone changes over time)
2.2 Conservation and Repair Techniques
2.3 Preparing a Conservation Report

Face to Face Learning (13-15 March 2024)

3. Stone and Lime
3.1 Examining the Characteristics of a Range of  Stone Types
3.2 Examining the Characteristics of a Range of Mortar Types
3.3 Demonstrations of Lime Slaking and Mortar Mixing
3.4 Demonstrations of Stone Masonry Tool Skills
3.6 Practical Exercise in Applying a Stone Repair Mortar
3.7 Practical Exercise in Fixing a New Stone Indent (Piece-in)
3.8 Practical Exercise in Applying Limewash and Sheltercoat
3.9 Student Presentation of a Conservation Report on an Element of a Local Building
Your Onsite Sessions at the Ruinette at West Dean

Workshop sessions in the Ruinette with demonstrations, discussions and practical exercises:

  • Stone characteristics, workability, porosity, mineralogy, colour and texture
  • Masonry tools and techniques of working stone
  • Mortar components, lime binders, aggregates, pozzolanic and other additives
  • Visual examination and analysis of hand samples of stone and mortar
  • Traditional mortar production, lime burning, lime slaking and mortar mixing
  • Lime types and mixing a range of mortars.
  • The use of lime in repair and conservation of stone: grouting, mortars, plasters, shelter coat and limewash.
  • Application of mortar repair to moulded stonemasonry
  • Application of new stone indent (piece-in) to masonry wall

Group Discussion led by tutors, based on student submissions and assignments completed in online course sessions. Conservation report of an element of a building local to the student including description, history condition, proposals for repair and conservation.

Discussion of current conservation approaches and techniques for stone cleaning, repair, consolidation and protection


West Dean College of Arts and Conservation
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West Dean College of Arts and Conservation
Chichester, PO18 OQZ United Kingdom + Google Map

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