The  Annual ‘Gathering’ of the New Guild for the Traditional Plastering Craft, was held this year on September 8-9 2017. The venue was the Heritage Craft Alliance training centre in Thorpe Perrow in Bedale, North Yorkshire.

Mr. Glenn Young the founder welcomed us, to this specialist training centre. He explained the need for such craft based training, also the focus and development of the centre.

The setting of the centre is ideal as traditional building are available for repair and renovation.

The guild took a big step forward with the selection of a chairman and committee of who can drive its development. Philip Gaches explained that with an increasing membership and work load, it seemed the right time for him to take on a smaller role allowing other members to move the guild forward.

The Program

The 2 day program began with slide shows and discussions by experienced craftspeople who are leaders in their particular fields, the presentations outlined the work methods that were employed to overcome problems, selection of materials and techniques used.

The sessions were then followed up by practical demonstrations in the centres workshops.

Practical Demonstations

Mr. Keith Langton open the Friday with a demonstration of using a variety of mounds for casting, and the methods and techniques in using plaster and Jesomite products. This included the use of traditional reinforcing materials such as the traditional timber lath, hessian, cotton and the more modern GRG (Glass Reinforced Gypsum) fibre mesh.


Mr. Mark McCorrie demonstrated methods of dealing with plaster lath ceilings that need remedial work to stabilise them. The problems of water penetration, infestation, lath failure to other trades damaging the historic fabric were discussed and methods old and new discussed. Mark reviewed his methods developed from his personal experience. (Photographs show Demonstration of mechanical and resin based fixing methods and solutions). Main point was how to preserve historic ceilings and decorative plasterwork often attached to them with minimal intervention. A very interesting session and lively discussion followed as to the pros and cons of the various methods and techniques.


One of the best known practitioners of Pargetting in the country is Bill Sergeant provided an insight into the historic decorative external lime work he and his team had carried out. Using a small lath panel prepared with a lime mortar floating coat, scratched an outline of the design. Then built up the layers of lime mortar then after completing the design applied a hot lime wash over surface. Bill has been feature on a number of TV programmes over the years.

Andrew Fawcett who works closely with Bill Sergeant, provided an insight into the application of the application of frescos, it limitations and it development from famous examples in Italy, to the history of painted lime plastered wall surfaces.

Phil Gaches and George O’Malley concluded the session with a reminder about how to maintain and length our working lives. Reminding us of  our hand board skills and the fewer the movements the less wear and tear.

Kevin and Bill took the opportunity of wearing our new corporate sweat shirts.

Sympathetic works ltd was represented by Kevin Millar and Bill Oakes. We would like to thank all who made the two days instructive and enjoyable.

The New Guild for the Traditional Plastering Craft.

National Heritage Training Group.

Princes foundation. Email