Tywi Centre partners with Historic England to teach the new generation


Last year, we at the Tywi Centre were asked to deliver a 2-day Level 3 ‘Repair and Maintenance in Traditional (pre-1919) Buildings’ Course for the Historic England Summer School. Hosted at Hopwood Hall, situated just outside Manchester, this marked the second year of delivering the course at their summer school; welcoming students from local colleges, the National Trust, and Historic England.

Historic England’s summer school is an annual opportunity, aiming to pass on essential and at-risk traditional heritage crafts to trainees from across the North of England. Consisting of a series of craft workshops delivered by master craftspeople, the summer school is designed to help tackle the critical shortage in essential skills needed to rescue historic buildings across the country – very much aligning with our mission at the Tywi Centre!

Hopwood Hall stands as the ancestral home of Hopwood DePree, American actor, writer, and filmmaker, and is one of Greater Manchester’s most important surviving halls, boasting a rich tapestry of stories and cultural heritage. Collaborating with local volunteers, Historic England, Rochdale Borough Council, and Hopwood Hall College, DePree is spearheading efforts to restore and repurpose the hall into a vibrant artistic and cultural venue, ensuring its preservation for generations to come.

Amongst the brilliant traditional buildings and heritage experts advising DePree and students, was our very own Tom Duxbury. With a wealth of experience within the construction industry, and successfully running his own specialist joinery and building business for 25 years, Tom made a great addition to the project – bringing knowledge on the integral structure of traditional buildings and how to best care for them.

Alongside the project, Hopwood DePree and Historic England made a documentary, where Tom can be seen talking about the cause of dry rot; when elements need to be removed and restored; moisture management and the importance of tackling problems as soon as they appear!

With an already impressive 63,000 views, the documentary stands as one of the most watched films on the Historic England YouTube channel and underscores the vital importance of skills development and encouraging new entrants into the heritage construction sector!