From education to employment

Construction students get underway on historic restoration project

Construction students at Burton and South Derbyshire College (BSDC) are currently working on a project to restore the late 18th-century coach house at Sinai Park House, a Grade II* listed building nestled within a scheduled ancient monument in Burton.

Over the coming months, a combination of Brickwork, Joinery and Electrical students will dedicate one day per week to the project, developing a diverse set of skills, ranging from historical preservation and architectural techniques to hands-on building expertise. This initiative has gained support from local businesses, including St. Modwen Homes, who have generously donated materials in partnership with BSDC. Additionally, Harlow Timber Group have offered a discount on timber, further enabling the success of the project.

The students have been actively involved in several restoration tasks, including the removal of modern brickwork and its replacement with period-appropriate bricks, rebuilding damaged areas and repointing the brickwork. They have also rerouted the electrics, reinforced timber structures to meet building insulation regulations and installed a new floor.

Sinai Park House, dating back to the 1300s with subsequent extensions, holds a distinguished place among England’s historical treasures. The coach house, though not individually listed, holds archaeological significance as part of the listed building’s curtilage. The restoration aims to repurpose the structure into an office for the Sinai Park House Trust (SPHT), dedicated to the rejuvenation of Sinai Park House for public use.

Carpentry students from Burton and South Derbyshire College have previously undertaken work at Sinai Park House when they created an outdoor classroom and new forest signage, and undertook some heritage restoration work on an 18th century moat bridge.

Ian Vanes-Jones, Carpentry and Joinery Lecturer at BSDC said: “The work our students are doing on this project is helping to preserve the coach house’s historical integrity while meeting contemporary standards. Working on the restoration of Sinai Park House’s coach house not only preserves a piece of Burton’s history but also provides an invaluable educational opportunity for the construction students at BSDC. The collaboration between the College, Sinai Park House Trust, St. Modwen Homes and Harlow Timber Group is combining skills and resources to contribute to the restoration of the coach house, while providing hands-on learning experiences.”

Kate Murphy, a trustee of Sinai Park House Trust, which is the charity dedicated to restoring the timber-framed buildings for greater public access, added: “We’re delighted BSDC construction students and St. Modwen Homes have got involved with the project to create an office space for Sinai Park House Trust. This project offers a rich learning ground for students and it’s wonderful to see the community coming together to support such an important endeavour. Sinai is one of the top 7% of historic buildings in England and it’s vital for Burton that we restore its access, usage and enjoyment.”

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