EASA Spring Meeting 2019 -  Great Malvern and Worcester

Friday, 5th April and Saturday, 6th April 2019

The Abbey Hotel, Abbey Road, Great Malvern. Worcestershire. WR14 3ET.

Our new President Bob Thompson’s theme for his year is “Lifting the Spirit” and I enclose the papers for the forthcoming Spring Conference with this mailing. Those members who attended the AGM and Autumn Meeting last November will be aware that we have switched the venues for the Spring and Summer Meetings. This was because it became very obvious, almost immediately after the AGM, that the works at St Alban’s Abbey, which we had planned to look at this March, would not be finished until June 2019. However, you will see that what we have planned for the Spring Conference this year will more than live up to the theme of “Lifting the Spirit”, especially when we come to look at the flooding of Ashleworth and Tirley Churches and their congregations responses to the challenge of flooding and repair on a flood plain. However, you will have to come along to hear these uplifting stories! 

We shall be based at The Abbey Hotel in Great Malvern and I have enclosed a map and description of how to find the hotel with the papers I am sending out with this letter. You will see why when you look at the map as there are two railway stations with “Malvern” in their names (Great Malvern is the one you want) and at least five areas around the hotel with “Malvern” in their place names. The approach to the hotel by car is also more involved than normal, especially with the need to register your car’s number plate with the hotel on arrival. There will be a form to fill in at the EASA Registration Desk on arrival. If you do not do this you will get fined as the hotel operates a number plate recognition system to stop people using the car park who do not have business in the hotel. You have been warned.

The hotel is on many levels, so if you require a room near to a lift please let Mandy Gosling, or me, know by ticking the box on page 2 of the Booking Form and we will liaise with the hotel to see if we can book you a room near the lift.


On Friday morning we shall have an introductory talk on Climate Change in the area by John Wheatley, who has recommended as background reading:

          “The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial is Threatening Our Planet, Destroying our Politics, and          Driving Us Crazy.” By Michael Mann and Tom Toles. Published by Columbia University Press.

John Wheatley’s scene setting talk will be followed by two talks introducing our visit to Worcester Cathedral and the “£500,000 Challenge Project”, which is due to upgrade the 12th Century Undercroft of the College Hall adjacent to the cathedral cloisters, by the cathedral’s archaeologist Christopher Guy and its architect and EASA member Camilla Findlay. We shall then travel by coach to Worcester and take lunch in the Chapter House.


After lunch on Friday afternoon there will be tours in groups of the Undercroft project, the Cathedral itself and by special permission the Cathedral’s Library, where we shall be shown around by the Librarian, Dr David Morrison. We shall then return to the hotel for our Formal Dinner, at which the guest speaker will be the Rt. Rev’d John Inge, the 113th Bishop of Worcester. Bishop John was appointed to the See in March 2008 and was then appointed to be the lead bishop for the Church of England’s cathedrals and church buildings in September 2014. His book “A Christian Theology of Place” an Ashgate Book published by Routledge makes interesting background reading.


On Saturday morning things get somewhat more technical following our visit just after breakfast to Great Malvern Priory, where we will hear about the repairwork being carried out there and have a guided tour around this impressive building. On our return to the hotel we will hold our Open Forum, which will be followed by a talk by a speaker from the newly re-named National Heritage Lottery Fundabout the new “National Heritage Lottery Fund Strategy for 2019 – 2024” and the new grant system.

We shall then conclude our morning of technical talks when Dr Robyn Pender, a Senior Conservator at Historic England, will speak about “Climate Change, Flooding and the Repair of Churches”. Delegates are recommended, as pre-conference background reading, to look at the following Historic England and Historic Environment Scotland Guides on the subject, which are downloadable from their websites:

         Historic England Guides:

         Flooding and Historic Buildings: By David Pickles and others;


         (NB: This has a good photograph of a flooded St Michael and All Angel’s Church, Tirley, which we will be visiting.)

         A Preliminary Study of Flood Remediation in Hebden Bridge and Appleby: Research Report Series no. 11-2017:

         An Analysis of Drying Data from a Medieval Hall after Flooding: Research Report Series no. 14-2017:

         The Health Risks from Contaminated Flood Water in the UK: Research Report Series no. 39-2017:

         The three reports above are by Dr Brain Ridout and others and can be found via:


          Historic Environment Scotland Guide:

Short Guide 11 Climate Change Adaptation for Traditional Buildings: from Historic Environment Scotland, which although looking at Scottish practice, raises many issues that are relevant to traditional buildings across the UK. It is downloadable from: 

https://www.historicenvironment.scot/archives-and-research/publications/publication/?publicationId= a0138f5b-c173-4e09-818f-a7ac00ad04fb

Fortified by lunch at the hotel we will then set off on Saturday afternoon to look at two churches with alternative approaches to flooding. These are St. Andrew and St. Bartholomew’s Church at Ashleworth and St. Michael and All Saints Church at Tirley. Both churches have very uplifting stories to tell, which will be conveyed by members of both congregations and, at Tirley, by Neil Birdsall a retired EASA member, who was the architect responsible for the repair and re-ordering at Tirley after their flood. We also hope that the church architect for Ashleworth and the Church Surveyor for Tirley will also be able to join us during our visits.


Early Bird Information for Thursday, 4th April 2019:

For those coming early on Thursday, 4th April we have secured a visit to Mucknell Abbey, which featured in the EASA awards a few years ago. The architect was Camilla Findlay, who suggested that we called in to see a modern design for a traditional monastery in a country setting. The Abbot, Br. Thomas, has very kindly opened the Abbey’s doors to a small party of up to 20 members and booking for this will be on a first come first served basis, as per the Booking Form. We will hear from Br. Stuart of the community, about their needs and brief for the new buildings, and from Camilla Findlay, their architect, about her response to that brief, while we experience the finished results.

We also extend an invitation to Early Birders and others arriving later in the day to join us for supper that evening.


Final Thoughts:

We are looking forward to the Spring Conference and to welcoming you to Great Malvern and Worcester. Please ensure you complete your booking form carefully and that where you are paying electronically you send the fee to the account shown for bookings with the payment reference as set out on the booking form.

Please ensure that you make your booking by Monday, 11th March 2019.

Please also see the Programme, Location Details & Booking Form for further details




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