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Wednesday, 01 October 2014

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Prince's Foundation backs restoration of Cumbrian hall

The restoration of a historic north Cumbrian building is getting some hands-on charitable help.

Kirklinton hall photo
Joinery apprentice Jamie Kneller at the hall

Kirklinton Hall, near Longtown, is being restored to its former glory by barrister Christopher Boyle.

Mr Boyle, whose family owns the Mallsgate Hall estate at Roweltown, has said he wants to renovate the ruined Grade II-listed property in the hope that “in about 20 years’ time” it will be a home for his son Henry.

Plans for the transformation of the ruined grade II-listed property have already been approved by Carlisle City Council.

Mr Boyle hopes to use traditional techniques to recreate Kirklinton’s original style and this week he welcomed three apprentices from the Prince’s Foundation, headed by Prince Charles, to the site, to take part in the restoration.

Two carpenter apprentices and one joiner apprentice have joined the existing team of local master craftspeople.

The trio are all taking part in the eight-month Prince’s Foundation Heritage Building Craft (PFBC) programme, based at Dumfries House, a stately home in Ayrshire, Scotland.

Mr Boyle said: “I am a trustee of PFBC and am passionate about its education work in respect of these traditional skills.

“I was always keen to make the restoration of Kirklinton available as an educational resource; we have already welcomed apprentices from the North of England Civic Trust and are happy to be approached by other similar heritage organisations.”

He added: “This is an historic building dating from the reign of Charles II: It needs to be approached in a sensitive and appropriate way, with methods and skills matching those of the original builders.

“If at the same time we can widen the pool of craftspeople with those skills – especially at the entry level into the building trade – that’s great.

“In fact, it’s more than great, I think it’s our duty.”

Usually, as part of gaining NVQ qualifications, the apprentices work for a few weeks alongside established, skilled tradesmen.

“We hope the experience will be an enjoyable and rewarding one for both apprentices and tutors.”

The current apprentices are on site for up to three weeks, although others in the future may stay longer, depending on their skills.

Edith Platten, director of skills for the Prince’s Foundation, said: “Our Building Skill in Craft programme aims to give apprentices the chance to get hands-on experience with traditional building techniques, ensuring that these heritage skills are given a future through the next generation of master craftspeople.

“Our apprentices travel across the UK to spend time on an array of unique and challenging projects, working on their placements alongside some of the country’s leading master craftspeople.”

She added: “During their time at Kirklinton Hall, three of our apprentices will get to grips with traditional carpentry and joinery techniques.

“With the expertise of their tutors they will hone their craft and gain experience working on a unique project.”

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