2014 IHBC Annual School

The Art of Conservation

Edinburgh, Thursday 5th to Saturday 7th June

Orkney Opportunity

IHBC Annual School 2014

Orkney Visit

‘The Art of Conservation over 5000 Years’

Monday 9th & Tuesday 10th June


As part of the IHBC Annual School 2014, Orkney Islands Council will be hosting a satellite School after the Edinburgh event, giving delegates the opportunity to experience the rich variety of Orkney’s built heritage, and explore the rewards and challenges of conservation practice on small islands. The Annual School’s theme ‘The Art of Conservation’ will be studied through a range of examples from five millennia of Orkney’s history, including:


The ritual landscape of the Neolithic: The sites in and around Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site, including the village of Skara Brae, the tomb of Maeshowe, the Ring of Brodgar stone circle, and the emerging complex at Ness of Brodgar, are astonishing artistic achievements, intimately related to their surrounding landscape. Learn about these sites from those who excavate and manage them, and how this cultural landscape is protected through the planning framework.

Picturesque coastal towns: Stromness is one of the most picturesque towns in the British Isles, with a rich mercantile, naval and artistic heritage. Learn about the pressures of sustaining this community and its cultural significance, and the impact of the recent Townscape Heritage Initiative.

Designed landscapes: The cottage and woodland at Happy Valley, created by the stonemason Edwin Harrold over six decades, is an intensely personal expression of natural beauty. Now in the ownership of the Council, the site is being slowly restored with the support of the local community. Discover this jewel of personal endeavour, and debate the potential implications of different conservation and management approaches.

Wartime murals: During both World Wars Orkney was one of the most heavily militarised areas in the British Isles, and the physical legacy of these defences still dominates the landscape around Scapa Flow. At Ness Battery, a coastal defence battery just outside Stromness, the original wooden huts from WW2 survive complete with the murals painted by homesick English soldiers. Learn about their Heritage Lottery Fund-sponsored conservation, and the ongoing conservation challenges of wartime heritage.

The Arts and Crafts movement: The Arts and Crafts architect W.R. Lethaby was one of the early pioneers of conservation architecture in Britain, remembered through the SPAB Lethaby scholarships, yet built relatively little. One of his significant achievements was the sympathetic expansion of a traditional farmhouse to create a beautifully ornate mansion at Melsetter, on the island of Hoy. We are hoping to offer delegates the opportunity to learn about how Lethaby combined his passion for craft with a deep respect for local building traditions, and how such a remote building is conserved today (not yet confirmed).

Intangible cultural heritage: The crofting village of Rackwick, set in a secluded bay surrounded by dramatic red cliffs, is widely held to be the most beautiful place in Orkney. Learn about the artists, writers and composers who were attracted here during the second half of the twentieth century, and discuss how the cultural significance of their legacy could be incorporated into future conservation approaches.

Examples will include completed projects and those still in development, giving participants the opportunity to debate live issues and contribute directly to the conservation of this fascinating archipelago. There will also be opportunities to visit some of Orkney’s other cultural sites, such as the twelfth-century St Magnus’ Cathedral and Scapa Flow, the main anchorage for the Royal Navy during both World Wars.


The Orkney School will consist of two full days of events on the Monday and Tuesday after the Annual School in Edinburgh (9th and 10th June); the tours and events will be free but delegates will pay for their own costs of travel to Orkney and accommodation. We would be delighted to organise further activities for those wishing to stay longer.


To register an interest, or ask any questions about the event, please contact Tom Hunter on:


01856 873535 (ext 2532)

For information on travel and accommodation, see www.visitorkney.com




Orkney Opportunity schedule

If you cannot see the schedule below download here





























Registered as a Charity No1061593 Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered in England No. 3333780

Registered as a Charity in Scotland: No. SC041945 Registered Office: 3, Stafford Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent. TN2 4QZ