Meet the Makers Behind London’s Heritage

Meet the Maker

Join Dr Nicola Stacey and Kit Kemp MBE in conversation with three fine craft experts: gilding, stained glass restoration and model making at The Soho Hotel.

As part of London Craft Week, join Kit Kemp and Heritage of London Trust’s Director Dr Nicola Stacey on Monday 9th May as they host a series of unique ‘in conversation’ talks at The Soho Hotel. The talks will celebrate three talented craftspeople who are helping to restore London’s lost heritage and bringing the fascinating histories of each site to light.

Click here for tickets – to attend all three events please select ticket option ‘11:00-17:00’, or to attend an individual talk, please select the relevant time from the drop down menu.

HOLT (Heritage of London Trust) is an independent heritage charity, set up in 1980 by the Greater London Council to rescue historic buildings and monuments. London’s lost histories inspire and delight and HOLT’s work to identify projects, commission condition surveys, give grants and guide the restoration of each site from beginning to end brings every building back to life.

Working with some of the finest craftspeople in London, they have been spearheading restoration projects for over 40 years, helping to preserve over 700 heritage sites that the public can now enjoy. Thousands of hours of work have amounted to a set of beautifully finished projects with care and artistry given to areas and sites which are lesser known, and often generally under-funded.

Read more about each of the three events that are offering a unique opportunity to meet the skilled and talented makers helping to preserve London’s heritage…

12pm – 1pm: Gilding with Sue Lee
Sue Lee established her decorative arts practice 20 years ago and has worked consistently with HOLT over the years on gilding projects, including at the Charterhouse in Smithfield and the Old Vic. This luxurious ancient craft has existed for millennia and is a labour-intensive process that cannot be mechanised. Gold leaf is so chemically and metallurgically stable that it will not tarnish or deteriorate, provided the substrate it lies on remains stable. This can be seen in the ancient artefacts found in pristine condition today.

Sue will discuss gilding processes that have been used on objects and interiors since the earliest Egyptian times and continue to be used to this day. A large amount of Sue’s gilding work uses traditional oil, water and glass gilding techniques and she specialises in working on stone and timber and fine crafts.

Join Sue for a first hand demonstration as to the different gilding techniques including ancient and modern methods and materials.

11am – 12pm: Stained Glass with Peter Campling
In centuries past, jewel-like stained glass was installed in churches as a way of telling stories from the Bible through images instead of text. This was for the benefit of churchgoers, many of whom would have been illiterate. Even once cracked and damaged, stained glass can be immaculately restored. Peter Campling has been a stained glass specialist for 40 years primarily working in the restoration and conservation of historic glass and glazing arrangements. 

Peter has worked with HOLT on numerous projects including the Royal Hospital for Neurodisability. The original windows of the Victorian Assembly Room (designed in the 1870s) were destroyed in bombing raids in the Second World War. A single surviving black-and-white archive image of the original windows suggested that the original Victorian windows showed stylised versions of the four seasons. Peter used this to research the appropriate colours for the glass as well as some of the surviving windows in the hospital. Scaled designs and colours were drawn up in digital format, before the studio team recreated them using traditional stained glass techniques. During the project, hospital patients enjoyed art sessions using different stained glass designs as inspiration, which were then displayed in an exhibition at the hospital site.

Join us on 9th May to hear more about Peter’s remarkable craft as he demonstrates the 500-year-old technique of restoring glass with invisible copper thread and painting on glass.

4pm – 5pm: Model Making with Isabella Gilding
Fine scale architectural models are a beautiful way of realising projects in three dimensional space. An easy way to see the impacts of design upon ideas for everything from glamorous theatrical sets to imaginative new buildings. Isabella Gilding is a recent graduate of BA (HONS) Modelmaking (2022) from Arts University Bournemouth and specialises in scale props and sets for film, advertisement and miniature animation.

Isabella approached HOLT last year and was commissioned to create one of HOLT’s magnificent projects in miniature. She chose Croydon’s Stanley Halls, a highly detailed and beautiful work of architecture with an unusual history. The building once housed bronze busts in alcoves along its façade. These were stolen one night in the 1960s and the alcoves have remained empty ever since.

Join Isabella as she presents her work on Stanley Halls, showcasing the site’s intricate beauty.