Want to learn traditional building skills on historic sites? Our summer Working Party is a unique opportunity to help repair medieval Boxley Abbey and the SPAB’s Old House Project, a former 15th century chapel.
You’ll work alongside and learn from some of the UK’s leading craftspeople in a fun, relaxed environment. No previous experience needed – applications are open to all.
Scope of work
At medieval Boxley Abbey, we’ll carry out work across the 17-acre site including:
- Stone and brickwork repairs of the garden wall
- Repointing low-level stonework and repairing the floor and joinery scarfing of the 14th century Hospitium
- Surveying and scanning the precinct wall and outbuildings
- Conducting trial archaeological excavations across the site.
At our nearby Old House Project, we’ll work with Owlsworth IJP across the site to:
- Reduce ground levels, improve drainage, build a large garden wall and timber cloister, and look for important archaeology and hidden details
- Thermally improve the internal walls and roof structures using natural fibre insulations and glazing
- Undertake carpentry repairs to the historic timber window frames and structural timber frame.
All the mortar for both sites will be made from locally sourced Oxted Grey Chalk, and Kentish Ragstone burnt by Working Party participants in our Old House Project field kiln.
Who should apply?
Anyone can apply for a place. No previous building conservation experience is required. It's a great opportunity for building professionals, craftspeople, general builders, students, homeowners, and enthusiasts to get hands-on experience.
The SPAB is committed to eliminating discrimination and encouraging diversity in the sector. We particularly welcome applications by people from backgrounds underrepresented in building conservation.
To help cover the significant cost of materials, catering, camping and first aid facilities, we're asking participants to contribute £300 for the whole week/ £175 for half a week. We'll send you further details on how to pay when we confirm your place.
A limited number of bursary places are available. These could include free attendance and a subsistence and travel allowance up to £150. Priority will be given to new applicants who are students, people who are unemployed and those who need financial assistance to attend.
Apply for a bursary place by ticking the relevant box on the Working Party application form. If you have any questions before you apply, or would prefer to apply in another format, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org, marking your message “2023 Working Party Bursary”.
Bursary places at the Working Party are made possible through a generous donation from Men of the Stones Charitable Trust. An additional place is available this year thanks to a kind donation from a SPAB member. Our thanks go to both for their support.
Food and accommodation
Camping on-site is free and the most popular choice! You’ll need to bring your own tent, sleeping bag, and any other camping equipment you require. There are various budget hotels nearby if you prefer to arrange your own accommodation. Please note that they are not within easy walking distance of the site.
Breakfast and lunch are provided, as well as a BBQ at the beginning and end of the week. Participants are responsible for most of their evening meals.
Various tours and activities will be arranged in the evenings, including outings to historic sites on Saturday and Monday.
Event organiser is SPAB.
Disclaimer: All information was correct when the listing was prepared. Any questions about the event should be directed to the event organiser.