Please check by phone/email for availability of places before sending in booking forms.
All the tutors on these courses are highly skilled professionals with a wealth of knowledge and experience in their subjects.
General conditions regarding these courses are listed at the base of the page.
Mark Eaton is a professional sculptor and excellent tutor. He has now started a new course on Stone Carving here at the National Stone Centre. No previous experience or artistic skills are required for this course - enjoy yourself, discover your own creative abilities or take the first steps to a new craft career. Taster days and 2-day courses are available. Please contact the National Stone Centre for further information.
Refreshments can be purchased on site in the Discovery Centre.
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The National Stone Centre continues to hold the very popular introductory course on dry stone walling. Held over a weekend, the course covers the basic skills of dry stone walling with a section on stone sourcing as well as a guided trail along the Millennium Wall. This course also provides the basic skills required for the more advanced Stone Features for Improvers course.
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This course builds on the skills gained on the Dry Stone Walling for Beginners course. The course may include terracing, wall ends, seats and other stone features to do with dry stone walling. Tutors and trainees will decide together which features will be built on each weekend.
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Note: Below are some new courses that the National Stone Centre would like to make available to learners. If you are interested in any of the courses please email us with the course details and we will add you to the list. We will run the courses when there are sufficient learners to make the courses viable.
Lime Use - Professional Workshop (P126)
Making Lime - Practical (H/P125)
Using Lime - Practical (H109)
Limewash - Practical (H/P114)
For millennia, lime has been used as mortar, render and wash in buildings which have stood the test of time. After 70 years of dominance by Portland cement and gypsum based plaster, the special characteristics and advantages of using lime, particularly in traditional construction, are becoming more widely appreciated. These courses aim to raise awareness and practical competence of individuals whose property, business or professional activities would benefit from the added knowledge of lime mortars and its use in pointing, plastering, rendering and in limewash. These courses have proved popular with a variety of attendees including property owners, building contractors and local conservation staff.
The intention of the two day course is to combine practical and theoretical aspects and is especially tailored to those with a professional interest but also wishing to acquire hands on skills as a means of better understanding the practical implications of the work involved.
The one day 'Using Lime' courses respectively concentrate specifically on the practical and professional elements just noted. The one day 'Making Lime' course is intended to do just that, i.e. to set up a small temporary kiln in which lime is produced (with the follow on 'Using Lime' course designed to utilise the product).
The colouring/limewash course is innovatory. It aims to experiment with traditional natural oxide pigments in wash. Although such materials are no longer mined hereabouts commercially, it was once a major industry. It is still planned to use UK raw materials where possible.
Stone Masonry - Basic (Practical) (H110)
Conservation/Repair - Professional Workshop
Professional Stone Conservation
Stone Masonry - Improvers (Practical)
A mason's skills can only be gained over many years - indeed some would say over a lifetime or even over many generations! The basic and improvers courses are simply intended to give students a taste of what stonemasonry involves and to offer them an insight of the qualities they need to train as a stonemason, e.g. patience and concentration. They will cover basic tool skills and the setting out of various stone features.
Whereas they are not designed to provide all the hands on experience required to become a fully fledged mason, more formal, longer term, practical courses are being planned here. The professional workshops are intended for architects, surveyors, specifiers, grant administrators and others who need to gain an appreciation of stone, its properties, sourcing/matching and working characteristics and how those can be applied to restoration projects.
Street Masonry - Professional Workshop (P113)
This is an innovatory event. The initial workshop is geared to those having professional responsibility for street surfaces and furniture involving stone. It is myth to think that stone sets and kerbs can be laid as if they are precast concrete, yet no formal stone courses are now offered in the UK for street works. The careful work of specialist contractors often reliant on foreign skills, is often undermined by poor subsequent works. Little heed is often paid to the existing heritage of street surfaces in our older town centres. How do we develop a skilled workforce? How do we source appropriate materials ethically? It is hoped to develop a response to such questions by establishing longer term training provision and advisory services at the NSC, as a result of the leads given by this first session. We are hoping to implement these courses in the autumn this year. The morning will be based on site, followed after lunch by a tour of local town as a case study.
Geoconservation - Introductory Workshop (P127)
This session should appeal to those becoming engaged in Geoconservation whether in a professional or voluntary capacity, including people from other conservation fields. For its size, Britain exhibits an almost unrivalled geodiversity. This short introductory course will explore information sources, interpretive techniques, sourcing support and practical techniques of geoconservation. It will also touch upon geological audits, local geodiversity action plans (LGAPs) and official/semi-official designations for sites..
Indoor Paving and Cladding - Professional Workshop (P128)
Indoor Paving and Cladding (H129)
The use of stone in flooring, wall cladding and elsewhere in the home is much in vogue, often borrowing ideas and styles from around the globe. But it is often the greatest area of complaint and dispute. Although the details of these courses are yet to be refined, it is intended that they will cover materials, basic fixing techniques, specifications and ethical sourcing. It may prove possible to visit producing works.
Letter Cutting - Practical (H112)
This course complements the stone carving and sculpting courses. Its intention is to introduce students both to the practical aspects of creating lettering in stone as well as to give a very brief resumé of suitable styles and stone types, together with something of the history of the art.
At the end of the two days, participants can expect to have produced a reasonable, if short group of letters and or numbers in a block of stone.
Roofing Introduction - Professional Workshop (P106)
Roofing - Professional Workshop (1/2 Day) (H111)
Apart from modern composite materials, most roofs, especially those in older properties are of fired clay tiles or (metamorphic) slates from Wales or Cumbria. Older traditions showed that a very large proportion of roofs in upland areas were clad in fissile stone (i.e. sandstone/limestone), also at the time termed 'slate'. A survey in the 1990’s identified about 100 sources in the southern Pennines alone. We will therefore be talking about local roofing traditions and materials used throughout the region, from 'stone slates' to plain tiles. We will look at the methods, styles and tools used and will put this information to use with a hands-on session. There will be a chance to discuss roofing issues related to modern roofing materials and old building designs.
Mineral Planning - Professional Workshop (P121)
This session is mainly tailored to local authority staff, but may also be of interest to surveyors and planners in private practice wishing to gain an insight into minerals related aspects. It is largely intended for those already having a general working knowledge of land-use planning or new entrants to planning. It is designed to be introductory in nature and will concentrate mainly on development control matters. The possibility of other training, either extending this brief introduction and or covering development planning, appeal inquiries etc in respect of mineral development, is also under consideration. Further details will be available shortly.
Stone Delphing - Professional Workshop (P120)
Dephing or small scale quarrying provided much of the stone used in the past. Many Midlands counties for example each have 2-3 thousand small former quarries, often long disused.
This session looks at both the practical and the legal aspects of small scale operations. Further details available later.
Walls for the Future
This scheme is an intensive course, aimed at people wanting to take up dry stone walling professionally or professional wallers who want to improve their skills. Some experience of walling is therefore necessary. The Walls for the Future programme offers dry stone walling training at three levels of ability. Each level aims to develop the skills necessary for professional competence in a variety of locations and with different types of stone. Training will be carried out at a range of venues on limestone and gritstone sites throughout the Peak District and at the National Stone Centre.
This scheme is accredited by Lantra Awards and is a nationally recognised walling qualification. Instruction is provided by Master Craftsmen and experienced instructors who are members of the Dry Stone Walling Association.
Please note the Walls for the Future courses are available through the Derbyshire Eco Centre. Contact the Derbyshire Eco Centre web site for more information and how to book on the Walls for the Future course.
General Conditions: All participants are accepted on the understanding that they are fit and capable of enjoying the course. A number of the courses involve frequent lifting of stone. All courses are offered in good faith but small changes may have to be made after the initial advertisement.
No refund of fees will be given after the course has begun but in the event of a course having to be cancelled, a full refund will be given or alternative dates will be offered. For all courses, tools and materials will be provided.
Mobility: There is ready access to the Discovery Centre and activity area at the National Stone Centre via separate parking. If you have any special requirements please telephone the National Stone Centre office for further information.
Suitable clothing: A number of these courses are held outdoors in all but the very worst weather, and it is recommended that suitable strong shoes/boots are worn and waterproof clothing brought to the course if the weather is unsettled.
Café area: A small range of food and drink can be purchased from the Discovery Centre while on these courses.