Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) - Lethaby scholarship (2001)

  • Forster, Alan Mark (Recipient)

    Prize: Fellowship awarded competitively


    History of the Scholarship The oldest of the British national amenity societies, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings introduced the first post-graduate specialist training in building conservation in the 1930s. The founding members of the Society, who advocated a policy of sensitive, conservative repair (rather than restoration), realised they needed to demonstrate how this could be put into practice, and that it would be necessary to pass this knowledge on. The architect Philip Webb was the leading light of this group and a number of young architects trained under his guidance. They discussed major repair problems with him, worked on his sites alongside the craftsmen and took responsibility for the day to day supervision of the work. In 1930, with financial support from the Royal Institute of British Architects, the SPAB decided to award £60 for a Scholarship to a young architect to study "the methods of repair now become traditional among the architect and builder members of the Society", and it was named the Lethaby Scholarship in memory of Professor W R Lethaby. The Society remains convinced that the best way to learn about construction methods, building materials and their performance, and the range of methods of repair available today, is out on site. Today former Scholars are among the leading conservation experts in the United Kingdom, looking after some of the foremost buildings in Britain. Some are cathedral architects, some look after palaces, National Trust houses or English Heritage scheduled monuments. Some Scholars, conversely, have devoted their careers to relatively minor buildings, such as abandoned medieval churches or vernacular agricultural buildings, producing work of the highest quality. The Scholarships, which have no equivalent in Britain in either the formal or informal education system, are highly respected by employers as a training in building conservation.
    Granting OrganisationsSociety for the Protection of Ancient Buildings