In an era of unprecedented climate change, the sustainable reuse and preservation of older and traditional buildings is more important than ever. Essential to achieving this is knowledge of the traditional materials, methods and techniques required to effectively conserve, manage and maintain historic structures.


These traditional skills will be the focus as some of the world’s foremost practitioners in traditional trades gather in Stirling today as the Engine Shed hosts the annual International Preservation Trades Workshop (IPTW), this year with the theme of ‘Crafting the Future’, run in partnership with the Preservation Trades Network (PTN).

Taking place outside of the US for the first time, the three-day conference will bring together building conservation specialists to share knowledge, skills and best practice across a range of fields, including stonemasonry, glasswork and woodwork.

Among the speakers and demonstrators taking part in the event is historic preservation specialist Leslie Price, who will be leading a session on conservation and climate change.

As part of the event, the Engine Shed will be opening its doors on Saturday, September 7th for a special discovery day, with family-friendly craft demonstrations and hands-on activities.


See live blacksmithing from the Ratho Byres Forge blacksmiths, while carpenters from the American National Park Service will be showcasing their skills. Meanwhile, at Forth Valley College, stonemasons will be going chisel to chisel in a carving competition, with visitors having the opportunity to vote for their favourite creative carving for the chance to win a day out at Stirling Castle.


David Mitchell, Director of Conservation at Historic Environment Scotland (HES), said: “We’re delighted that The Engine Shed will be the first venue outwith the US to host such a prestigious gathering of conservation professionals. Events such as these are a great opportunity to not only share expertise and knowledge, but also to showcase the importance of traditional skills to a wider audience. Scotland has an abundance of traditional buildings that require upkeep, making the skills to protect and preserve these historic assets more important than ever.

“Our Discovery Day is the perfect opportunity to get hands-on to learn more about the rich history of a wide variety of traditional skills and materials, from stonemasonry and sign writing to thatching and blacksmithing, and perhaps even spark interest in a future conservation career.”

For further information, including the full Crafting the Future programme, visit

The Engine Shed is Scotland’s dedicated building conservation centre, based in Stirling. Part of Historic Environment Scotland, it serves as a central hub for building and conservation professionals and the general public. For more information, visit


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