Perth Traditional Building Skills Roadshow

Gavin Lindsay, Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust, shares how traditional building skills demonstrations are inspiring future generations in the skills of the past.

Perth Traditional Building Skills Demonstration ©PKHT

For two days at the end of September Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust (PKHT), in partnership with the Fife and Tayside Traditional Buildings Forum (a regional branch of the Scottish Traditional Building Forum) hosted a free roadshow in Perth City Centre to raise awareness of Scotland’s traditional buildings and the specialist skills needed to maintain them.

Demonstrations and hands-on opportunities were delivered by local and national specialists in stonemasonry (Historic Environment Scotland [HES]), joinery (McRitchie Conservation & Restoration), roof slating (Dundee & Angus College), craft painting and decorating (Carte Blanche Decorative Painters), and lime pointing (Masonry & Lime Ltd). Information and guidance was provided to homeowners interested in repairing and maintaining their buildings by representatives from HES, Perth and Kinross Council and PKHT. Representatives from the Tayside Biodiversity Partnership were also in attendance to raise awareness of nesting Swifts in older buildings.

The continued use of traditional materials, such as stone, slate, and lime mortar is not only vital to the long term preservation of historic buildings but also to the character of areas like Perth and Kinross. The roadshow is all about raising awareness about the value of traditional building skills, making advice available to owners and encouraging young people into careers that address the significant skills shortage we have in the sector.” – Sara Carruthers, PKHT Historic Buildings Development Manager

 Inspiring future generations in skills from the past was a major focus of the event, reflecting the core strategic objectives of PKHT. Young people at career choice stage from St John’s Academy, Kinross, Perth, Pitlochry and Blairgowrie High Schools and employment support charity Barnardos Works attended half-day sessions where they got to try a range of traditional skills under the guidance of professionals.

“The pupils from Kinross High had a great experience on their recent trip to the Traditional Skills Roadshow in Perth. This was a unique opportunity for our pupils to find out about the traditional skills and careers that help to maintain and preserve the Historic buildings that we have in Scotland. […] It was also really good for our pupils (the majority of whom were female) to hear about the demand to get more women involved within careers that focus on Traditional Skills.”  – Stuart McDonald, Kinross High School CDT Teacher

 The event was well attended with 77 young people receiving practical skills training and attracted a lot of interest from over 200 passing public, some of whom had a go at the skills on offer. We were also delighted to welcome local MSP Murdo Fraser and Cabinet Secretary for Education John Swinney MSP who took great interest in what the young people were doing and tried their hand at the trades.

The roadshow is a collaborative effort and wouldn’t have been possible without the contributions in time given by members of the Fife and Tayside Traditional Buildings Forum who demonstrated and taught their skills. Robertson Construction and the CITB (Construction Industry Training Board) have been very supportive throughout and generously donated the personal protective equipment needed to enable the young people to take part. The roadshow was delivered and funded through the Perth City Heritage Fund, a PKHT scheme encouraging the regeneration of Perth’s historic buildings that forms part of the Scottish Government regeneration strategy for cities financed through Historic Environment Scotland.