Salisbury Cathedral mason Matt Barton is one of twenty one cathedral stonemasons and joiners benefitting from a specialist fund dedicated to sustaining the craft skills essential to maintaining and conserving our cathedrals.
The Hamish Ogston Foundation (HOF/https://www.hamishogstonfoundation.org ) has joined forces with the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship (CWF) to fund existing and new trainees at English cathedrals in the face of the pandemic. The emergency funding of £535,000 allows trainees, and their employers, stability at a time of economic uncertainty. Without this support, some may have had to call a halt to their studies and others would have faced redundancy, with the strong likelihood that their skills would have been lost to the heritage sector.
A further grant of £700,000, which has just been announced by the HOF, will support twenty five trainees from ten cathedrals from September 2021. This latest funding is the second phase of a five-year, £3.1m HOF/CWF project to expand heritage training at English cathedrals.
Three members of Salisbury Cathedral’s works team have already benefitted from training provided by the CWF. Head Mason Lee Andrews and stonemasons Andrew Kirby and Luke Kingston have all completed a two-year CWF Foundation degree in Applied Historic Building Conservation and Repair. The current HOF funding recipient, Matt Barton is in his second year of the degree, having successfully completed his first year during lockdown.
Gary Price, Salisbury Cathedral Clerk of Work is also hoping to appoint an apprentice stonemason in the coming months, funded through the HOF/CWF project.
Gary Price, Clerk of Works said:
“The Hamish Ogston/CWF project is a real lifeline, helping teams like mine be retained in economically challenging times. There will never be a point when we don’t need these skills either and, as the custodians of this 800-year-old building, it is essential that we train and retain skilled staff.”
CWF Executive Director Frances Cambrook said:
“We are very excited to be working with the Hamish Ogston Foundation on this important initiative. Cathedrals, like everyone, have been hit hard by the pandemic and the immediate future of our craft training programmes was in jeopardy. The funding will enable training to continue online throughout the rest of this academic year, avoiding the loss of trainee positions, and enable us to plan confidently to increase training opportunities over the next four years”.