Kelmscott Manor work placement supported by the ALW Foundation

Chris Neal, who is halfway through his work placement at Kelmscott Manor, feels like he has learned a lot so far and is looking forward to the next few months.

"Since the start of my work placement in November 2020, I have been assisting with various aspects of the restoration and conservation work. So far this has primarily been carpentry, including assisting with repairs to the North Barn, fitting of wall bars and installing a wicket gate into the pre-existing barn doors. I have been helping with repairs across various buildings on the site, adjusting and swinging doors and fitting door handles, bolts and locks, and making moulds ready for pouring concrete. More recently I have been helping with the ‘second fix’ of the new Learning Centre, including fitting insulation and oak batten ceilings, installing straw-effect ceiling panels, boxing in and fitting access panels for electrics. Over the last few days I have really been putting my art skills to good use, painting screw heads with a straw-effect pattern to blend into the Learning Centre ceiling panels!

Having briefly encountered William Morris’ work during my studies, I find myself reading more of his written work as I help with the restoration at the Manor. Through working on site, I find my practical problem solving is massively improving, as I learn more skills and tricks of the trade through watching and learning from experienced tradesman."