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default "Last master cooper" in the press

Post by Robin Wood on 7th February 2010, 12:52 pm

Last master Cooper would like to take on an apprentice, the brewery want to continue employing someone after he retires, 1000 people want to do the job but there is no funding to pay for his time teaching an apprentice.

http://traditionalcraftsblog.blogspot.com/2010/02/alastair-simms-cooper-in-press-again.html
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Post by Mike on 7th February 2010, 2:13 pm

I'm old enough to remember (the last time around)

About two generations or so ago a number of crafts were in danger of dying out for lack of training new apprentices even though there was clearly going to be ongoing demand for the craft. I can't remember which one, but I believe it was one of your oil companies (BP? Shell?) paid for the program to find interested students and to compensate the masters for taking the time to train their replacements. I can't recall all the crafts involved the last time around except that I know that "thatchers" were one of the crafts and that at the time there were about 3000 "historical" buildings and just 3 teams of thatchers left.

Well I guess that generation is now dying out in turn.

This sort of thing can be very difficult. In Philadelphia, for the 1876 Centennial (proto "World's Fair") Japan built a replica of a typical rural lord's house the roof of which was of the "bark shingle" type. A very long lasting type of roofing but eventually* ............. and the city had the dickens of a time because so few left knowing how to do one of these and those fully occupied trying to keep up with "museum" structures/temples in Japan.

* Unlike later "World's Fairs" more temporary, the grounds of Philadelphia's 1876 became "Fairmont Park". The structures that were solidly built remain. Some of these were very solidly built. Thus the "Girard Avenue Bridge" remained in use for over 100 years. Perhaps the world's first "geodesic" (well "space frame") structure, designed to have enough strength to carry its entire deck covered solid with trolley cars! Eventually replaced only because far too expensive to maintain with its thousands of small pieces needed to be kept painted and thousands of pins needed to be kept lubricated.

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Post by Adrian on 7th February 2010, 2:22 pm

Isn't it depressing, our respective governments can find billions to bail out banks, but cannot find the time or money to help people to do anything real and practical.

I'm starting to think that heritage crafts need a good old fashioned philanthropist patron to fund decent apprentice schemes.

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Post by Mike on 9th February 2010, 1:43 pm

That's the point I was making. Last time around it was "philantropic" funding. And that may be the best way to go on something like this rather than government. To be successful, a program to "preserve old crafts by funding training a new geenration of apprentices" has two important parts. The most obvious is compensating the masters for their taking time to teach -- and while it is usually by "learn while doing" the master cannot get his or her (lucrative) work done anywhere near as fast while training apprentices.

But that's only part of what the program needs to do. It needs to find suitable candidates for the apprentice program and that means funding a rather large applicant search and screening effort. In terms of the funding required, probably much more required than the other part and if going to work must be focused strictly "what's in the best interest of this craft?". There is limited time left to train without losing the craft so it has to stay "who are the best candidates for these apprentice slots?" (who has the desire, the ability to learn, the greatest likelihood of success and sticking with the craft). A governmental program would likely be distracted by other considerations, perhaps worthy considerations but not to the point.

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default Re: "Last master cooper" in the press

Post by Compostwoman on 9th February 2010, 10:25 pm

A personal rant here...


I have a wood.
I run all sorts of courses, teaching all sorts of "woodland" stuff.

I would LOVE to be able to match people who want to learn stuff, with people who want to teach stuff. And let them use my wood.
BUT unless I can acess some grant/charity/public funding, I can't afford to run the courses at even a break even cost...never mind make a tiny profit so I can pay my insurance and even just overheads....

A few hundred quid from a grant source would make all the difference BUT it is so time consuming ( and my time is money!) to even apply for stuff like that...and not get it...that it becomes totally uneconomic to do so.

Basically I would love to be wealthy enough to be totally philanthropic about it all..and in a byegone era would probably have found a "patron"...but nowadays..not available.
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