Roof Comes Out on Top
1 June 2015
At the 2015 UK Roofing Awards held in London recently, the winner of the Heritage Roofing category was work carried out on an old farmhouse near Dolgellau, Meirionnydd.
In 1990, Penmaen farmhouse was listed as a good example of 18th century vernacular building. It had kept its small thick slate roof which is so characteristic of the buildings of the period. As it had stood empty for a long period, by 2012 the condition of the traditional slate roof had deteriorated so much that the property was included in the Snowdonia National Park Authority's register of Buildings at Risk. As the details of the roof formed such a large part of the building’s character, grants by Cadw and the Authority were offered, subject to the work being completed to the highest standard of conservation. With the co-operation of the owner, the conservation work was linked to providing training traditional skills to more than 70 people, most of which were architects or local craftsmen.
Gwilym H. Jones, the Park Authority’s Head of the Cultural Heritage said,
"We are delighted that the excellent work which has been carried out has been so prominently acknowledged and we extend our congratulations to all those involved with the work. 25 years have passed since the Authority began its grant programme to restore and enhance old listed buildings in the National Park and during that time, we have managed to conserve nearly 300 unique buildings. Penmaen is an excellent example of what we are trying to achieve. We were very happy to have the opportunity to combine the work of salvaging the building with providing traditional building skills training as part of the Dolgellau Townscape Heritage Initiative (funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund). "
In determining the winners, the judges, the National Federation of Roofing Contractors, considered a number of criteria, including how difficult it was to carry out the work, aesthetics, how problems were resolved, health and safety elements, workmanship, along with environmental qualities. In this case, the work on Penmaen was praised due to the traditional skills used to re-roof the farmhouse, which would be able to withstand an average annual rainfall of 62mm, as well as strong westerly winds of 81mph. The judges noted also that the professional training provided to teach traditional roofing skills, (such as using lime mortar and animal hair and using oak pegs to support the tiles) was an exemplar of good practice.
The traditional craft training videos prepared as part of the work can now be viewed on the Authority's website, www.eryri-npa.gov.uk. The CAE Fund contributed to the costs of providing the training.
Notes to Editors
- The Dolgellau Townscape Heritage Initiative was established in 2009 to assist with the regeneration of Dolgellau. It was a partnership between Snowdonia National Park Authority, The Heritage Lottery Fund, Cadw and Gwynedd Council. The initiative offered property owners an opportunity to receive a grant to repair buildings, restore lost architectural features along with bringing empty floors back into economic use. Another objective of the Initiative was to promote awareness of the town's heritage and encourage the community and visitors to have greater involvement in their cultural heritage.
- The Environmental Development Fund was originally established in 2000 by the Welsh Government. Its purpose was to provide a fund of £ 250,000 a year over a three year period, and the National Parks of Wales were asked to administer the scheme. Since its beginning, the fund in Snowdonia has been known as the CAE Fund and has contributed £3.4m to projects in Snowdonia.