Clay build­ings re­vealed

The Galloway News - - DISTRICT NEWS -

A third of the world’s pop­u­la­tion live in build­ings made of earth or clay.

Whilst this may not seem sur­pris­ing, the fact that clay is a tra­di­tional building ma­te­rial all around the Sol­way was one of the rev­e­la­tions made by Alex Gib­bons in a talk to the Ar­chi­tec­tural Her­itage So­ci­ety in Cas­tle Dou­glas.

Three hun­dred such build­ings have been iden­ti­fied in north Cum­bria.

Alex is the prin­ci­pal of Stick in the Mud Con­ser­va­tion and pro­vides ad­vice and craft skills to con­serve clay dab­bin build­ings.

Around the Sol­way such build­ings are usu­ally con­structed from clay pro­duced from a wet mix us­ing ma­te­ri­als dug up close to the building.

The clay is mixed with straw and sculpted to form walls mounted on a stone plinth. Of­ten the clay is used in con­junc­tion with wooden crucks which pro­vide sup­port for the roof.

In Dum­fries and Gal­loway clay build­ings in­clude Pri­orslynn Bothy near Canon­bie, the Cruck Cot­tage at Torthor­wald and, per­haps the most fa­mous building in the re­gion – the Black­smiths Shop at Gretna Green.

Alex ex­plained how clay build­ings can be dif­fi­cult to iden­tify as they are of­ten finished with a lime or con­crete ren­der which ob­scures the clay.

He is about to un­der­take a sur­vey of clay build­ings in Dum­fries and Gal­loway for His­toric En­vi­ron­ment Scot­land.

Alex is also the proud owner of Pri­orslynn Bothy, a grade A listed building, which he is con­serv­ing as two huts us­ing the in­no­va­tive Scot­tish plan­ning leg­is­la­tion.

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