EASA Summer Conference 2018: Lincoln
Friday, 22nd to Sunday, 24th June 2018
The Best Western Bentley Hotel, South Hykeham, Lincoln
There is a clear link between the design and date (early 1960s) of the Church of the Holy Trinity, in the suburb of Twydall, Gillingham that we visited during the Spring Conference last March and our first visit of the Summer Conference, when we shall look at St John the Baptist Church at Ermine, located in one of Lincoln’s post-war northern suburbs. Both churches have soaring roofs and while the former is awaiting refurbishment, the latter is still fulfilling the role it was originally designed for by its architect Sam Scorer, so the contrast will be quite marked. St John’s also has some very good modern glass by Keith New, who went on to work at Coventry Cathedral, which will be the subject of one of the key talks during the conference. Other talks will look at developing projects to sustain churches in the present environment, but there will be a greater emphasis on talks and visits of both a topical and more technical nature during this conference.
During Saturday, we shall look at the “Lincoln Cathedral Connected” project, which is a major programme to conserve the West Front of the cathedral and the Exchequer Gate, while at the same time modernising the landscaping of The Close and Dean’s Yard area and upgrading and developing the Deanery as a Visitors’ Centre. This work is just beginning on site and with six talks by the project team, followed by scaffold visits to the West Front and a site visit to the Deanery, hosted by project team members, this will be a most interesting day concluding with Choral Evensong in the cathedral. During the West Front tours, Nick Rank the cathedral architect, will be on hand to talk about some of the wider aspects of conserving the cathedral, while the conservators will explain their work. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the frieze and sculpture on the West Front at close quarters and is not to be missed. However, access to these areas will mean that personal protective equipment will be needed, as detailed on the Booking Form.
Having looked at the challenges facing the cathedral, Sunday will be spent taking a look at two projects more typical of the work EASA members undertake. Firstly, stone decay and issues of Victorian lime mortar will be discussed prior to the visit to see the rebuilding of the spire and tower at St Margaret’s Thimbleby. While on site only those with appropriate personal protective equipment will be able to climb up the scaffolding ladder access, to look at and discuss the works with the contractor and church architect. Secondly, after lunch, we shall visit St Andrew’s Church, Heckington. Here a grand Fenland church, with magnificent and numerous stone carvings and gargoyles and also some very good stained glass, serves a small village. However, much repairwork and re-ordering is now needed to make the church fit for its purpose today and so during our visit we shall hear about the PCC’s plans to address these challenges and hopefully leave delegates with a great deal to think about as we bid farewell to Lincolnshire.
I am afraid that the Booking Form is a little longer than normal as there are a number of permutations that members will need to consider when making bookings.
In travelling to the Best Western Bentley Hotel, which is readily accessible by car, please read the directions as it is easy to take the wrong exit off the Hykeham roundabout and head onto the by-pass and away from the hotel! For those coming by train, Newark North Gate station, on the East Coast Main Line, is the recommended station to use as you can then get a taxi directly to the hotel. I am hoping that those coming by car may be able to offer rail travellers a lift from Newark North Gate station to the hotel and if you can offer a lift, or would like one, please show this on the Booking Form. By the way, those coming over from the Nottingham or Doncaster directions by train can go direct to Lincoln Station and take a taxi to the hotel.
For those coming early, or staying on, we have negotiated some favourable bed and breakfast rates with the hotel. There is an opportunity to join an informal supper at The Harbour Lights: Bar and Kitchen in a local marina on the Thursday evening. This will be the nearest thing to a boat trip this time, as the restaurant is located over the water! We may also visit a local country pub on the Sunday night, if there is a demand. Otherwise the hotel bar and other local hostelry meals are reasonable.
There are a number of guided tours on the afternoon of Thursday, 21st June for those coming early. I have negotiated a members-only tour around the historic centre of Lincoln with the local guides if we have sufficient numbers, but there will be a small cost for this. The cathedral has also offered to add members to their public tours at no cost that day. Please note that for those who may not wish to join the West Front and Deanery Tours on Saturday, 23rd June, there is a further opportunity to join the cathedral’s public tours, but this will preclude any involvement with the West Front and Deanery Tours.
In response to suggestions made at the Spring Conference, there is a space on the Booking Form to pose questions for the Open Forum. Having these in advance helps to formulate answers to questions and also to gauge the amount of time needed, as I am aware that previous Open Forums have of late been filled to overflowing!
As you will see Roger Molyneux and I have prepared a sumptuous offering of technical and topical issues for the Summer Conference, with a good local flavour and we both look forward to welcoming you to Lincoln in June.
Finally, may I remind you that bookings for the cathedral and city centre tours will be on a “first come, first served” basis and as we have an upper limit of 70 delegates for our visit to the cathedral on the Saturday, the earlier you book the more likely you are to have your choice of tours and a place on this conference. So please book as early as possible and no later than the Booking Deadline of Wednesday, 23rd May 2018.
Andrew S. Wood.
EASA Hon. Meetings Secretary.