2021 Open Day Season
We hope to reopen on Friday 21st May 2021 at 11am
Woodchester Mansion provides great opportunities for craft skills training, especially in stone masonry. Students require both good tuition and time and practice to develop into the experienced craftsmen needed to work on heritage buildings throughout the country. The Mansion Trust welcomes trainee stonemasons, under skilled supervision, to assist with the conservation of the building. The Trust pioneered the concept of on-site training, a living classroom, about fifteen years ago.
A longstanding partnership with Bath College has been established. The student masons come one day a week for a term, and gain hands-on experience conserving and repairing a real building. The Woodchester Mansion Trust benefits in terms of savings on labour costs.
Bath College students at work
The Prince’s Foundation also bring trainees and provide partnership funding for work experience at Woodchester Mansion. Our Patron, the Prince of Wales, has considerable interest in the subject of craft skills training and was present at the One Big Room heritage training conference held at the Mansion in 2005. The Radcliffe Trust have assisted with financial support for stonemasonry tutors.
HRH The Prince of Wales at 'One Big Room'
We also offer working space to the Stonemasons’ Guild of St Stephen and St George. The Master Mason and his apprentices give demonstrations to the public, exhibit work and run stone carving days.
With assistance from successful local business Renishaw PLC, and the Worshipful Company of Mercers, the Woodchester Mansion Trust has been able to provide classroom facilities for the craft students in the Mansion, and a workshop in the Masons’ Lodge, a separate outside building. While utilitarian in appearance, the lodge offers a valuable space for students to make preparations and do banker work in all weathers.
The Masons' Lodge
The Mansion is traditionally constructed from local Cotswold limestone. An understanding of how to work with lime mortar is essential to its conservation, and to the repair of thousands of old buildings in the belt of limestone across England. The Trust holds occasional courses in the use of lime mortar for the public.
The Woodchester Mansion Trust appreciates the value of creating partnerships, and has worked with a variety of organisations and companies, both local and national, over the years.
(Past partners in italics.)