The Next Generation of Heritage Building Crafts People

High up in the scaffolding that’s currently wrapped around part of York Theatre Royal, 25 year-old Jemima Davies is checking her work. Jemima is an apprentice stonemason, currently working with Pinnacle Conservation on our commissioned repairs of the 300 year-old theatre’s stonework.

Joining the Heritage Mason Apprenticeship at York College this autumn, Jemima completed her degree in Quantity Surveying at the University College of Estate Management part of Reading University. The last nine months have been with Pinnacle working alongside Tom Farrell, a highly experienced Banker Mason who carves stone from drawings and templates into finished products for fitting into the fabric of historic buildings.

Before moving up to Yorkshire in 2022 Jemima spent a year as an Assistant Conservator working on the Oxburgh Hall restoration project in Norfolk, including rebuilding 27 ornate Victorian chimneys. After her apprenticeship Jemima is hoping to start working towards joining the Guild of Master Craftsmen and find time to explore her own creative style. A big fan of Gothic Architecture, the dream job is working on the Duomo di Milano, for now we’re delighted that Jemima is working on the repair and renovation of our wonderful theatre.

Jemima Davies

York Consortium for Craft and Conservation Bursaries

Alongside craft apprenticeships, there are also a range of bursaries available to support the development of building conservation skills. We offer a range of bursaries through the provision of our £5,000 grant to York Consortium for Craft and Conservation (YCCC). A well-established annual bursary award scheme, our Trustee Ruth Morrell joined the YCCC award assessment panel to assist with deliberations and ensure our grant was applied specifically to historic building related skills.

Craft apprenticeship support

Recipients for 2023

Kate Longworth
A bricklayer, Kate received a bursary towards completing the William Morris Craft Fellowship Programme with the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB). Following a 10 year career with the Police, an early interest in old buildings and after engaging in a variety of trades, Kate fell in love with brickwork. Beginning as an apprentice with the Canal & River Trust, Kate is seeking to develop her knowledge and skills, and become part of a community of crafts people.

Kate’s work so far has included Kensington Palace Orangery, The Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace.

James Osbourne
A Conservation Blacksmith, and collector of historic blacksmithing books and tools, James received a bursary to allow him to attend the SPAB William Morris Craft Fellowship Programme to broaden his experience in a wider range of conservation challenges. James’s varied work to date has included Anthony Gormley sculptures, The Houses of Parliament windows and lanterns at the Greenwich Old royal Naval College.

Apprentice Category
The YCCC has been developing an ‘apprentice-type’ category with funding for a trainee for up to three years. We have committed to support this and for the next two years will support Eden Stained Glass (Cumbria) towards the employment of a craft trainee.

Recipients for 2022

Tom Bardwell
An architectural conservator, Tom received a bursary towards the cost of a specialist brickwork course.

Steve Hogath
A qualified abseiler and Rope Access Conservator, Steve’s bursary helped him complete the William Morris Craft Fellowship Programme.

David McFerran
A heritage carpenter with a particular interest in thatching, David received a bursary to support his completion of the William Morris Craft Fellowship Programme. David explored a whole range of conservation skills, including his specialism.

Bella Romaine
A plasterer, and passionate advocate of lime plaster techniques, Bella is undertaking an MSc in Building Conservation at the Weald & Downland Museum and received a bursary towards her fees.

University of York’s Department of Archaeology Awards

We also award two annual dissertation prizes to students at the University of York’s Department of Archaeology for work connected with historic buildings.

The 2023 Undergraduate Prize was awarded to Miriam Samuels in support of her course fees for continued study. The MA Prize was awarded to Allyson Butler for her dissertation, “Keeping up with the Wilkinsons: public and domestic spaces in the 18th century”. Tate Wilkinson House is a Grade ll listed Georgian townhouse attached to York Theatre Royal, once home to the influential Theatre Manager. You can read Allyson’s dissertation on our York Theatre Royal page.

In 2022, an award was made to William Plant for his dissertation for recommendations for conservation of the trackside building on the Pickering to Whitby railway line, now the North York Moors Railway.


York Consortium for Craft and Conservation Bursary Application

For more information on YCCC Bursary application visit the YCCC website.

Bursary applications for individuals and craft trainees are welcomed from January until March each year.

Find about more about this year’s YCCC annual lecture and bursary awards evening in our July article 2023 YCCC Bursaries.

Bricklayer Kate Longworth

Back to top