Historic Building Crafts


For Historic Properties, Museums, Schools and Events – Charlie Slade

Building on History

With over a decade of experience as an architectural conservator and with a passion for old buildings, I have developed several unique Living History demonstrations of traditional building technologies.

Starting with early timber framed buildings to show how the walls are constructed with wattle and daub, I tread mud together with straw using my feet and then construct a building panel which the public and children are welcome to help me complete.

My historic plaster demonstration includes a children’s activity in which they can join me in making their own example of historic plaster detail, either an architectural feature or a plaster gargoyle to take home and keep. This demonstration uses a full size sample of a house wall with lime plaster render and I discuss the use of plaster in domestic houses from medieval through to Victorian times and modern day.

I have devised a stone masonry demonstration, from first designs and drawings through to carved stone, incorporating research from early medieval tracing floors. This shows the use of simple geometry and transferal of designs from inspiration to construction and is suitable for exploring and explaining a range of periods and also settings, from domestic homes to Cathedrals and Castles.

Using authentic tools and equipment to portray and discuss the working life and craft of the original builders I can put large properties into a wider context and give them a human scale. My travelling “building site” can be set up inside or outdoors to provide a very different kind of interpretation for historic properties and sites.

Getting Involved

When ever possible I provide “hands on” activities for children along side my demonstrations. Whether it is muddy hands from daubing or making plaster casts, these are opportunities for children of all ages and abilities to participate. They are suitable for public events and visits to schools.

As a Medieval journeyman or a Tudor artisan I am able to support teachers by presenting the National Curriculum in an excitingly original and ‘constructive’ way.

NEW! Sacred Geometry

See how a string and a rule were used to create stone buildings including churches and cathedrals.  A stone carving display with a difference.

Hands on History – in touch with the past

I hope to create a connection with the original craftsmen, whether that is to feel the setting out lines of a medieval mason, finding the trowel marks of a Tudor plasterer or the pencil jottings of a Victorian carpenter.

I am available for both week day and weekend bookings throughout the UK. Where possible I try to make my demonstrations relevant to the architectural history, styles or themes of each venue, working with the organisers and the setting.

Pictures from top:

  • Wattle and Daub at Caernarfon Castle for CADW 2008 as a part of World Heritage day – ‘Building a Castle’
  • Stone Carving
  • Plaster Gargoyles at Doncaster 2007
  • Willing volunteers at Doncaster help to daub the panel. Note – they were offered gloves!
  • Charlie talking Plasmaywr



Wattle and Daub at Caernarfon Castle Charlie talking at Plasmaywr plaster

Latest Projects

Cleaning Roman Sculptures

A loan from a Museum to a major exhibition of Roman and Greek statues usually kept in storage, meant that Charlie had the opportunity to

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