Traditional Building Courses - 2014

This year, Lower Dairy Farm will be the host barn for two Traditional Building Skills courses: Lime Plastering and Timber Frame Repairs.

LIME PLASTERING 24th - 25th April

This two-day hands-on course is aimed at both working and amateur plasterers interested in broadening their experience.

The course will give students the opportunity to work on a listed barn and will explain how to fix laths, prepare lime putty mixes, and plaster on to laths as well as highlighting the importance of good preparation and aftercare.

Course tutor – Roy Cafferty – Traditional plasterer

Roy Cafferty runs his own plastering business and has been in the trade for forty years. He is an expert on lime, and works in all aspects of lime plaster, specialising in fine plaster finishes. Roy is one of the few lime plasterers who still runs mouldings in-situ.

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Those attending this three-day hands-on course will learn how to repair historic sole plates and studwork on a live project - the Stable at Lower Dairy Farm. The course has been designed for working carpenters and joiners, but home owners with basic skills are very welcome. The course will also cover carpentry joints, the choice of timber and analysis of repair strategy.

Course tutor - Rick Lewis - Traditional Oak Carpentry

Rick Lewis is a timber framer and an expert in Medieval architecture and vernacular carpentry.  His company, Traditional Oak Carpentry, specialise in all aspects of timber framing from timber conversion, repairs and conservation, to new framing.

Financial assistance:  There are a number of free places on both courses fully funded by the City & Country Group Bursary Scheme. For details and application criteria contact:

To find out more about the courses, contact Katie Seabright:

E-mail: Tel: 01245 437672

Historic Buildings & Conservation, Essex County Council, County Hall, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 1QH.

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The restoration of our Grade II listed barns has been ongoing for over five years.  Without the Essex County Council courses, we would not have had the catalyst to start stripping back the concrete shuttering and restoring the structure.  Repairing old buildings, whether a house or barn, can be daunting, but our attendance at these courses have equipped us with the traditional skills needed to continue the work once the course is over.  They are highly recommended!

We would love to have unlimited time and resources to throw at the barn, but we don't.  At times, progress can be frustratingly slow and many people do not understand why we have not finished yet!  However, slowly but surely, with the help of all the course attendees, we are saving Lower Dairy Farm's lovely barns for the future.  We are extremely grateful to everyone who has taken part in our restoration process!  In fact, many come back to visit their work!