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Symposium on Traditional Wooden Boat Building Skills

Symposium on Traditional Wooden Boat Building Skills

When: Saturday 8 October 2022, 10am to 4pm
Where: Bristol Create Centre, Smeaton Road, Spike Island, Bristol BS1 6XN and Underfall Yard
Cost: Entry to this event is free and refreshments will be provided. Please bring your own lunch or purchase from the Underfall Café.

We have a rich maritime tradition in the UK and a vibrant community of craftspeople building a wide range of boats, but are our traditional wooden boat building skills at risk?

Heritage Crafts and the Wooden Boat Builders Trade Association are bringing a group of experts and stakeholders together to ask this question and to consider the case for traditional wooden boat building being added to the Red List of Endangered Crafts, with the generous support of the Pilgrim Trust.

We will be joined by a panel of industry experts who will give presentations, participate in a panel discussion and be on hand for questions during the day. The aim for the day is to engage attendees in discussion and to actively consult with all participants. You will be asked to complete a survey when booking in order to gather boat building data to inform our discussion.

Click here to book



  • Gail McGarva is a traditional wooden boat builder. Her specialist area is the building of replicas, or as she prefers to call them ‘daughterboats’, breathing life into a new generation of traditional boats. Gail integrates her work as a traditional boat builder with her work as a speaker and workshop facilitator, bringing to life the stories all boats have to tell about their communities and their shores.
  • Colin Henwood is a boat builder with 40 years of experience in building, restoring and caring for wooden boats on the Thames. He is the current Chair of the Wooden Boat Builders Trade Association. He also writes, teaches practical boat building skills and provides consultancy on traditional wooden boats.
  • Eivind Falk is Director of Håndverksinstituttet the Norwegian Crafts Institute. In 2019 he was instrumental in supporting the nomination of Nordic clinker boat traditions for inscription on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, an international acknowledgement that the building and use of Nordic clinker-built boats should be preserved for the future.
  • Stephen Beresford is Senior Conservator, Chartered Engineer and Maritime Heritage Consultant at Windermere Jetty Museum. He is also a skilled traditional boat builder with a passion for conserving historic vessels.
  • Will Reed is Principal of the Boat Building Academy Lyme Regis. Will is a passionate maker and has spent many years working professionally as a furniture designer/maker and boat builder. Teaching has always been an important part of life and through the BBA Will helps to pass on the knowledge through first class training.

There will also be a tour of Underfall Yard and an opportunity to visit the maritime businesses that are based in the historic site. Underfall Yard was restored from a derelict state into a thriving boatyard of separate small companies around a Trust operated Slipway. It also has a visitor centre and café.


How to find the Create Centre

The Create Centre is in one of the three large red brick warehouses in Cumberland Basin, halfway between Clifton Suspension Bridge and the SS Great Britain.

On foot

  • The city centre is only 1.8 miles away – a pleasant 30-minute walk along the docks.
  • Temple Meads railway station is about 2 miles and Broadmead bus station 2.5 miles.

By bike

  • From the city centre the Festival Way cycle track runs alongside Cumberland Road (riverside) to Create and on to Long Ashton.
  • From Bedminster the cycle track crosses Greville Smyth park, crossing the old railway bridge and on to Create.
  • From Pill the cycle track runs along the old rail track, under the suspension bridge and over the old rail bridge and on to Create.
  • Plenty of cycle parking is provided inside and outside the building, and showers and lockers are available for visitors.
  • Visit for bike route maps and to read about their fantastic loan bike scheme.

By bus

  • Long Ashton Park & Ride to city centre operated by First West of England
  • The m2 serves Long Ashton Park & Ride, Ashton Vale, Ashton Gate, Cumberland Basin, Spike Island, Redcliff Hill, Temple Meads, Cabot Circus and Broadmead. Please visit for more information.
  • The 505 Wessex Connect bus stops at Merchants Road, Hotwells. This service runs from Southmead to Bower Ashton via Redland, Clifton and Hotwells.
  • A number of out of town bus services run regularly from Broadmead bus station and the city centre along Hotwells Road, stopping just before Junction Lock Bridge, marked by the red dot above. Buses that stop here are the 71, 505, 903, Portway Park & Ride, X1 all the way through to X9, including X3A, and X54.
    For full details of the bus timetables and routes, please call TRAVELINE South West on 0871 200 22 33

By train

  • Temple Meads railway station, serviced by trains from across the country, is situated around two miles from Create, approximately 45 minutes walk or a short taxi ride. You can also hire a Brompton folding bike from Temple Meads Station, available 24/7 from fully automated docks. For more information please visit Brompton Bike Hire at

By car

  • There is very limited permit parking at the Create Centre as well as 3 hour Pay and Display. As an environment centre they positively encourage other forms of transport. If you must come by car, please allow plenty of time to park as you may have to park within a five minute walk of the centre.
  • The car park immediately adjacent to Create includes 5 accessible bays; a ‘blue’ badge must be displayed when using these and your badge will act as your permit.
  • Long Ashton and Portway Park and Ride services are available with the buses stopping on Hotwells Road. For more information visit

Endangered Craft Week

21 to 26 March 2022 marked the inaugural #EndangeredCraftWeek, an effort by Heritage Crafts and partner The Prince’s Foundation to shine a light on the urgent need to preserve traditional craft skills.

Over the course of the week we profiled five craft businesses that involve skills featured in the Heritage Crafts Red List of Endangered Crafts.

HRH The Prince of Wales is President of Heritage Crafts and of The Prince’s Foundation. Heritage Crafts was set up in 2009 to support and safeguard traditional craft skills in the UK. Every year we award the President’s Award for Endangered Crafts to one of the nation’s most skilled practitioners, with a £3,000 bursary to invest in ensuring that their craft remains viable.

Applications for the President’s Award for Endangered Crafts are open until 29 April. To find out more visit




York Handmade

York HandmadeMonday it was the turn of York Handmade, based in Alne just North of York, founded in 1988 and operating on a site where bricks have been made since the 1930s. The company can make bricks of all shapes and sizes in a variety of colours and textures to match existing buildings. They have manufactured bricks for several award-winning heritage projects, conserving the glory of these buildings for generations to come.

The company created 47,000 Dumfries Blend bricks for The Queen Elizabeth II Walled Garden at Dumfries House, headquarters of The Prince’s Foundation. The restoration project won the Best Outdoor Space award in the Brick Awards, the Oscars of the brick industry, for its “magnificent achievement” in restoring the walled garden to its former glory.

It is estimated there are fewer than 20 professional makers of handmade bricks remaining in the UK. Currently there is a healthy demand for the work, but with such a small workforce and fluctuations in supply and demand can have significant effects.


Kate Brett

Kate Brett by Kristin PerersTuesday’s focus of #EndangeredCraftWeek was Kate Brett of Payhembury Papers, who has made traditional marbled papers by hand since 1982. Kate, based in Perthshire, specialises in reproducing traditional patterns by floating water-based paints on a size made from carragheen moss.

Marbling began to develop slowly in Britain in the second half of the eighteenth century. Though listed as an endangered craft today, interest in marbling is steadily increasing as a result of social media and a growing appreciation of the traditional technique as opposed to cheaper digital reproductions.

Photo by Kristin Perers


AS Handover Ltd

AS Handover, photo by Jackson's ArtThe spotlight on Wednesday fell on AS Handover Ltd, who hand make professional quality brushes at their workshop in Welwyn Garden City.

Established over 60 years ago, their wide range of products are used by the country’s finest artists and craftspeople in museums, film studios, stately homes and the Houses of Parliament. Their customers range from independent artists, signwriters and decorators through to the royal household at Buckingham Palace.

Brushmaking is highly skilled and the training period is long. However, brush manufacturers, particularly those making fine artists’ brushes, are reporting high demand and that their businesses are growing, so there is hope that this craft will be off the Red List before too long.

Photo by Jackson’s Art


Graeme Bone

Graeme BoneMeet Graeme Bone, maker of handsewn kilts from Auchinleck in East Ayrshire and graduate of The Prince’s Foundation’s Future Textiles and Modern Artisan training programmes. Graeme, who featured in our Endangered Craft Week series on Thursday, has become a flagbearer for traditional kilt-making and handcrafted menswear. He previously worked in the steel industry, but left his job to pursue his passion for garment design and manufacture.

Kiltmaking was added to the Red List in 2021. Most kilts are still bought from kilt retailers, not directly from the skilled craftspeople, who often work behind the scenes on a piece rate, underpaid for the work that they do. The kiltmaker as a craftsperson has been largely invisible, but Graeme and his contemporaries are working hard to remedy that.


Rebecca Struthers

Rebecca Struthers by Andy PilsburyRounding off our inaugural #EndangeredCraftWeek was Rebecca Struthers, a traditional watchmaker based in Birmingham and current holder of the Heritage Crafts President’s Award for Endangered Crafts.

Rebecca uses traditional methods, materials and techniques in the restoration of vintage and antique watches as well as the production of her own. She is the first, and currently only, watchmaker in the UK to earn a PhD in horology.

There are only a small handful of businesses still practising traditional watchmaking in the UK today, with fewer than 20 traditional makers earning a living from making as opposed to repair and restoration. It is now virtually impossible to create every component of a watch in the UK due to a shortage of allied craft businesses, including spring-making and jewel-making.

Photos by Andy Pilsbury

Watchmaker Rebecca wins President’s Award


Craig and Rebecca Struthers. Photo by Richard Ivey.

Craig and Rebecca Struthers. Photo by Richard Ivey.

Birmingham-based watchmaker Rebecca Struthers has won the 2021 HCA President’s Award for Endangered Crafts. The prestigious award, and £3,000 bursary, was initiated by Heritage Crafts Association President HRH The Prince of Wales.

The HCA was set up 11 years ago as a national charity to support and safeguard heritage crafts skills, and has become well known for its Red List of Endangered Crafts, the first research of its kind to rank traditional crafts in the UK by the likelihood they would survive the next generation.

The President’s Award trophy was presented to Dr Struthers at a special presentation on Friday 10 September 2021, hosted by The Prince’s Foundation, one of the country’s major providers of training in traditional building skills. The Prince of Wales was in attendance at the presentation, which also saw a trophy awarded to 2020 winners, Paul Jacobs and Jonathan Reid from Ernest Wright Scissors, whose presentation was unable to proceed last year due to COVID restrictions.

HCA President's Award

HCA President’s Award

Between 1630 and 1890, England was the centre of global watchmaking, home to many of the world’s most celebrated watchmakers. By 1793, twenty thousand London watchmakers were part of the city’s population of one million inhabitants, representing around one fiftieth of the population. Today watchmaking is listed as critically endangered on the HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts.

Dr Rebecca Struthers is Director and watchmaker of a traditional watchmaking workshop and studio in Birmingham alongside husband and fellow master watchmaker Craig. They use traditional methods, materials and techniques in the restoration of vintage and antique watches as well as the production of her own timepieces. She is the first, and currently only, watchmaker in the UK to earn a PhD in horology.

Award winners with HRH The Prince of Wales. Photo by Richard Ivey.

Award winners with HRH The Prince of Wales. Photo by Richard Ivey.

Dr Struthers is a Fellow of the British Horological Institute and Royal Society of Arts, a Trustee of the Museum of Timekeeping in Newark, and a Jury Member of the Academy, Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. She has received over a dozen awards over the years for her craft, design, entrepreneurship and research, and her work has appeared in a range of media including the BBC, New York Times and Wall Street Journal. She is currently writing a non-fiction book for Hodder & Stoughton on the history of time, told through watches, and the way in which they have influenced societies and cultures around the world.

Dr Struthers plans to use the prize to create a free-to-use educational website for anyone with an interest in learning the art of watchmaking. It would list training opportunities and facilities, and allow people to share projects they are currently working on and seek advice and feedback from a watchmaking community. It would also share useful technical information and charts, articles, a reference library and short videos on her own techniques for others to learn from.

Winner Dr Rebecca Struthers said:

“As independent makers the high costs of training a full-time apprentice means that even if it were possible, the apprentice’s pay would be so low that it would be prohibitive to people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds. The President’s Award has provided us with the foundation to start something we hope will help to break down these boundaries and allow us to share what we do for free, in a manageable way for us. To have such a prestigious beginning for this project is an invaluable start!”

HCA Chair Patricia Lovett MBE said:

“Many people know HRH The Prince of Wales as being a long-time supporter and champion of traditional craft skills, and his passion is all too evident through initiatives such as the HCA President’s Award and The Prince’s Foundation. Dr Struthers and Ernest Wright Scissors are immensely deserving winners and we know that in their hands the prizes will provide a massive boost to the outlook of these critically endangered crafts.”

Jonathan Reid and Paul Jacobs from Ernest Wright Scissors. Photo by Richard Ivey.

Jonathan Reid and Paul Jacobs from Ernest Wright Scissors. Photo by Richard Ivey.

2020 winner Ernest Wright scissor makers was founded in 1902 and reflects everything Sheffield has become famous for – highly skilled craftspeople making supreme quality products.

Following a tragedy in 2018, the company went into receivership and the critically endangered craft of scissor making was on the verge of disappearing from Sheffield. Paul Jacobs and Jan Bart Fanoy took action and bought the company, re-hired the remaining master putter-togetherers, Cliff Denton and Eric Stones, and took on several ‘putters’ in training. The factory is now back in action, with the prize used to repair machinery so that their putter-in-training can learn the craft from Cliff and Eric.

Click here to see details of this year’s finalists, including hat plaiter Veronica Main and wallpaper maker Hugh Dunford-Wood.

Click here to read more about the President’s Award trophies.

Rose Uniacke supports HCA with new textiles range

Rose UniackeDesigner Rose Uniacke has partnered with the Heritage Crafts Association (HCA) to create ‘Remnant Weave’, a new fabric remnants collection, the profits of which will be donated to help safeguard endangered artisanal and craft skills in the UK.

Rose Uniacke has long been committed to championing traditional skills and craftspeople. Over the years, she has nurtured relationships with an exceptional group of highly skilled artisans and craftspeople who have the experience, virtuosity and sensitivity to interpret her designs.

Research published by the HCA in May 2021 showed that Covid-19 has exacerbated the issues faced by our most at-risk craft skills, after 18 months of the pandemic which saw many craftspeople and their businesses pushed to the brink of collapse.

Remnant WeaveThe new ‘Remnant Weave’ cushions are handwoven in the UK with Rose Uniacke fabric remnants. The inner pads are handmade with 100% British wool, which is a natural, eco-friendly and healthy alternative to hollowfibre and feather fillings. As they are made with remnants, the colours and textures of the cushions on sale will change according to the materials available at the time.

The HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts now lists 56 crafts as critically endangered, including damask weaving, fabric pleating using moulds, and frame knitting, meaning that they are at serious risk of no longer being practised in the UK. A further 74 are listed as endangered; there are enough craftspeople to transmit their skills to the next generation, but there are serious concerns about their ongoing viability.

All profits from the sale of the Remnant Weave collection will be donated to the HCA to help support and promote traditional crafts in the UK. Members of the public can also donate directly to support the HCA’s work at

Rose Uniacke said:

“Now more than ever, the survival of small artisanal businesses is under threat, and with them the traditions and skills of hand-built craftsmanship which they keep alive. I am delighted to be working with the Heritage Crafts Association to help ensure these crafts are available to the next generation.

Daniel Carpenter, HCA Operations Director, said:

“We are thrilled to be working in partnership with Rose Uniacke on a project that combines sustainability, design and an appreciation of craft skill. We know that the future is going to be beset with global challenges, and we strongly believe that our repository of skills and knowledge will play a vital part in helping future generations tackle them. We cannot afford to lose them now.”

‘Remnant Weave’ cushions and wall hanging are available to purchase at with prices starting from £420.


About Rose Uniacke:

Rose Uniacke is an architectural and interior designer, antiques dealer and furniture designer who has garnered a world-class reputation for her signature aesthetic that is unrivalled in its quiet simplicity, sensitivity, and sophistication. A master of space and light, Uniacke restores, remodels and restructures rooms and buildings, often stripping a structure back to its bare bones, balancing texture, scale, and proportion for an inimitable level of refinement.

From concept to completion, Uniacke works closely with skilled craftspeople to ensure a space is as inviting as it is functional, combining a richness of character, with warmth, serenity, and timeless elegance. Uniacke began her career at a furniture-restoration workshop, sparking an interest in antiques and furniture that would lay the foundation for her career. A move to France in 1994 saw Uniacke begin to really hone her craft and eye as she started to buy antiques to sell in her mother’s store, the antiques dealer Hilary Batstone.

Several years later, back in England, Uniacke was asked to help design a home; informed by an innate appreciation for classic design, Uniacke embarked on her first design project.

Uniacke and her team now work on a broad portfolio of projects internationally, from London villas and apartments, to listed manor houses and global company headquarters, all for a varied yet discerning client base. The Rose Uniacke team is based in Pimlico, central London, in spacious premises that serves as a gallery which sells antiques and Rose Uniacke pieces and, below stairs – the project and product design studio.

In 2010 Rose Uniacke launched Rose Uniacke Editions, a collection of furniture, lighting, and accessories. The collection was the organic solution to Rose’s own personal hunt for elegant and distinctive items for her own home. When clients asked for similar pieces, it was a natural progression for her to produce them. Today the range continues to grow and calls upon the finest contemporary craftspeople to create the collection. In 2017, the Rose Uniacke offer expanded with the launch of Rose Uniacke Fabric Collection, a unique collection of custom-dyed cloth, in Uniacke’s distinctive colour palette. Beautifully understated and above all functional, the collection is suitable for upholstery, furnishings, wall coverings and drapery. Now coveted globally, the collection embodies the company’s driving ethical and environmental ethos, using almost entirely natural fibres and sustainable production methods.

Autumn 2021 will see Uniacke open the doors to a new shop, her second, on the Pimlico Road, located opposite the existing Rose Uniacke Gallery. The new space, set over two floors, will be devoted to textiles, housing the expansive RU Fabric collection on the ground floor and a curated selection of table, kitchen and bed linen and cashmere – plus the brand’s new range of environmentally conscious paints – downstairs.

Rose Uniacke Editions which spans furniture, lighting, and gifts – plus Rose’s expert curation of antiques – will continue to be available at the Rose Uniacke Gallery, 76-84 Pimlico Road and online at


About the HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts

The 2021 edition of the HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts was led by Mary Lewis, HCA Endangered Crafts Manager, supported by the Pilgrim Trust. The project runs alongside Mary’s work in identifying and developing interventions to improve the prospects of such crafts, funded by The Swire Charitable Trust, The Garfield Weston Foundation and The Dulverton Trust.

For the 2021 edition, 244 crafts have been assessed to identify those which are at greatest risk of disappearing. Of the 134 crafts featured on the Red List, four have been classified as extinct, 56 as critically endangered and 74 as endangered. The remaining 110 are classed as currently viable.

Drawing on information such as the current number of craftspeople and trainees, the average age of practitioners, opportunities to learn, and other issues affecting the future of the crafts, including the impact of COVID-19, the research assesses how likely it is that the craft skills will be passed on to the next generation. From armour making and arrowsmithing to wig making and woodturning, each has been assigned to one of four categories: extinct, critically endangered, endangered, or currently viable.

Four crafts are known to have become extinct in the UK in the last fifteen years (cricket ball making, gold beating, lacrosse stick making, and paper mould and deckle making) with one more (sieve and riddle making) brought back from extinction. At the other end of the spectrum, viable crafts are defined as those for which there are sufficient craftspeople to pass on the craft skills to the next generation, though crafts in the currently viable category face real challenges and require continued monitoring.

For the purposes of this research, a heritage craft is defined as “a practice which employs manual dexterity and skill and an understanding of traditional materials, design and techniques, and which has been practised for two or more successive generations.” The research focuses on craft practices which are taking place in the UK today, including crafts which have originated elsewhere.


About the Endangered Crafts Fund

The Heritage Crafts Association’s Endangered Crafts Fund was set up in 2019 to ensure that the most at-risk heritage crafts within the UK are given the support they need to thrive. The Fund is used to support makers and trainees who wish to develop or share their skills in the crafts that have been identified as being most at risk.

To date, 27 projects have been funded with support from the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Dulverton Trust, the Sussex Heritage Trust, Allchurches Trust, the Radcliffe Trust and the Swire Charitable Trust.
Anyone wishing to donate to the fund may do so securely online here. Alternatively, please send a cheque made payable to ‘Heritage Crafts Association’ with an accompanying note specifying ‘Endangered Crafts Fund’ to: Heritage Crafts Association, 27 South Road, Oundle, Peterborough PE8 4BU.

The HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts at Fortnum & Mason

The HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts at Fortnum & Mason

Where: Fortnum & Mason, 181 Piccadilly, London W1A 1ER
Displays: 4 to 10 October 2021
Demonstrations: 8 October 2021, 12 to 5pm

We are delighted to be partnering with Fortnum & Mason for a focus on endangered crafts and the HCA Red List throughout London Craft Week. Throughout the week, take in displays of information and photographs at the flagship Piccadilly store, and from midday on Friday 8 October watch demonstrations from endangered craft practitioners such as scissor making, bee skep making and basketwork furniture making.

In attendance is Ernest Wright scissor makers, the winners of the inaugural HCA President’s Award for Endangered Crafts, shortlisted by a panel that included Fortnum & Mason Chair Kate Hobhouse and selected by HCA President HRH The Prince of Wales.

Come along and find out more about endangered crafts and what you can do to help safeguard them.