An international organisation for all those interested in lesser traditional buildings

News and Notices

News and Notices from the VAG and other groups or organisations.

Wanted – trainees passionate about building heritage!

Chiltern Open Air Museum has an exciting new vacancy for a trainee in building heritage skills. It’s an ideal position for applicants seeking a career change or the opportunity to build on some initial experience in the building sector. Full work-based training is offered during this 18 month salaried appointment funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) under its ‘Skills for the Future’ programme.

Lime mortar plastering, traditional brick laying, wychert building techniques and pole lathing are just a few of the skills on offer. The programme will in fact be tailored to suit the applicant’s specific interests and passions within the context of the Museum’s wealth of environmental and building heritage assets which require daily skilled care 365 days a year.

Sue Shave, Director of Chiltern Open Air Museum says, “Our heritage relies on a highly skilled workforce to preserve rare skills for the future. The skills we practice at the Museum every day are simply dying out. Meanwhile, it’s tough to break into the heritage employment sector without heritage experience and that’s where the Passing on the Heritage Baton trainee programme comes in. Many people who are passionate about building heritage simply cannot afford to spend the time needed to follow their dream in volunteering. Thanks to the HLF, we can now offer salaried work-based experience tailored to individual interests and relevant specialist qualifications.”

Applicants can choose from a vast array of heritage skills on offer at Chiltern Open Air Museum which boasts a collection of 33 historically significant buildings reconstructed by volunteers on the Museum site, from Iron Age to Post War. With such a diversity of buildings to care for and decades of expertise to pass on, the Museum offers a stunning and very appropriate base to launch a career in building heritage skills.

Chiltern Open Air Museum is an experienced and successful training provider, having already launched several trainees into successful heritage careers through its HLF Skills for the Future Tomorrow’s Heritage programme, which focuses on Heritage education, volunteering and environmental sustainability.

Anyone interested in the new traineeships which start in mid-July can contact or find out more at For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Helen Light, Marketing Officer, or Sue Shave, Director, on 01494 871117. Closing date: 9 May 2014.

March 2014

Tools and Trades History Society

The Tools and Trades History Society is a small charity, founded in 1983 to promote the study and understanding of early trades, related tools and the people that used them.

We are always seeking new members to join us, and there seem to be many like-minded individuals in charities and other groups that have similar aims to ourselves. Further details are available on the TATHS website at

Jonathan Green-Plumb (TATHS Chairman)
January 2014

Researching timber framed buildings in the south east – the first 50 years

A one-day conference on Saturday 29 March 2014 at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum, Singleton, Chichester, organised by the Wealden Buildings Study Group.

Formed in 1964 by R T Mason and Roy Armstrong, the Wealden Group celebrates its 50th year in 2014 with a one-day conference looking back – and forward – at vernacular research in south east England. Speakers include Richard Harris and David Martin, as well as Dr Sue Berry on Landscapes, Alan Dickinson on early timber towers and spires, Dr Janet Pennington with a case study, Rod Wild on databases as a resource for the future, and Martin Higgins on the Surrey dendro project. And Weald and Downland carpenter-in-residence Joe Thompson will introduce the newly re-erected Tindall’s Cottage (early 18th century), and host lunchtime visits.

9.15am to 5.30pm, £40 including teas and coffees (£15 WBSG and DBRG members). Bring packed lunch, or pre-order lunch £8. For leaflet and booking, please email Further information available on the Wealden Buildings Study Group website.

December 2013

Discovering Coggeshall - Timber-framed buildings in the town centre

Just published - a new book, Discovering Coggeshall - Timber-framed buildings in the town centre by David Stenning with Richard Shackle, giving a street-by-street guide to the main timber-framed buildings in the town. Price £7. More details can be found on the Discovering Coggeshall website. Copies will be available at the VAG Winter Conference in January, and are also available from the Red Lion Bookshop in Colchester.

November 2013