Tewkesbury’s High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) has delivered its first heritage building skills workshop, giving members of the public the chance to try their hand at traditional wood carving.

The workshop – which ran on Saturday, 11 March at 9 Church Street, Tewkesbury – was overseen by master carver William Barsley, who recently worked on the restoration of the wooden carved angels in Westminster Hall in central London.

After demonstrating his wood carving skills, William gave attendees the opportunity to have a go at carving a section of a lime wood panel. By the time the workshop was over, carvers from the ages of 10 to 80 had contributed to the completed panel.

Tewkesbury Borough Council officers were also on hand to talk about the work of the HSHAZ, which develops projects to improve the town centre’s public places and spaces, and is offering grants to refurbish historic commercial premises.

The workshop was run in association with the HSHAZ’s schools project, which has been teaching pupils at Tewkesbury C of E Primary School about the traditional building techniques used by the crafts people who built Tewkesbury’s medieval buildings.

The HSHAZ will be running more hands-on events soon, with a lime mortar workshop for Tewkesbury School students at the end of March, and the Tewkesbury Then and Now photographic exhibition – one of the events during Tewkesbury’s Big Weekend in May – which will look at changes to the town’s built heritage.

Tewkesbury Borough Council’s Head of Development Services, Sandra Ford, said: “The promotion of traditional skills is one of the key themes for the HSHAZ. We want to introduce people to these techniques in the hope that some of them will consider taking them up and possibly even embarking on a career specialising in this heritage work.”

Rebecca Barrett, Historic England’s Regional Director, said: “Preserving an understanding of traditional materials, and their use in restoring historic buildings, is vital to the construction industry, and a fundamental part of our work. We look forward to seeing all the upcoming events Tewkesbury has planned.”

Photo caption: 

Master carver William Barsley holding the completed lime wood panel.