2007 Yearbook

INSTITUTE OF HISTORIC BUILDING CONSERVATION YEARBOOK 2007 43 I N R E V I E W LOWRI THOMAS – FROM WALES TO THE WORLD AND BACK AGAIN LOWRI THOMAS has been an affiliate member of the IHBC for almost two years and is currently working as the buildings at risk officer at Bridgend County Borough Council while studying part-time for an MSc in the conservation of historic buildings at the University of Bath. Following a childhood of being ‘trailed around’ stately homes and ancient monuments, always protesting at the mere suggestion of another day out, I got to the point of choosing a degree and realised that I had in fact enjoyed every trip, and that archaeology was the subject for me. As a result I undertook a degree in archaeology at the University of Leicester. Where possible I chose to specialise in the archaeology of buildings, resulting in my dissertation on John Nash’s use of the gothic revival, a style of architecture that greatly interested me. Throughout my time at university I spent many days working with the on-site archaeologist at the National Trust property of Llanerchaeron. This property was designed by Nash and is only a few miles from my home town. It proved an ideal location to acquire building analysis and drawing skills. CAREER Following my graduation in 2001, I took up the position of part-time heritage technician at Leicestershire County Council. My duties included the management of the listed building records and advanced GIS system. Over the next two years with the council I also worked as buildings at risk officer, geophysical survey officer, country parks assistant and planning officer. The combination of all the skills and experience gained from these jobs enabled me to secure a post with Powys County Council (PCC) as the Llandrindod Wells Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) project officer. Here I was in charge of preparing for, and launching, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) building grant scheme. Its aim was to repair and restore the Victorian built heritage within the historic spa town centre. During my ten months with PCC I learned a great deal about grant processes and the assessment of works schedules related to historic building schemes. Although I enjoyed my time in Powys and worked with great colleagues, the draw of the bright lights of South Wales was too hard to resist, and in November 2004 I successfully applied for the post of Maesteg THI officer for Bridgend County Borough Council. By then My hometown of Aberaeron on the West Wales coast is a striking Georgian seaside town comprised of streets of brightly coloured terraced houses. It has earned the reputation of being ‘one of the best examples of a planned township of small scale in Wales’. Coming from such an architecturally significant place, some may say it was little wonder I chose a career within the historic built environment. Lowri Thomas at Angkor Wat, Cambodia Tabor Chapel, a Grade II listed building in Maesteg, (left) derelict and at risk, and (right) after conversion to flats with the help of the Maesteg THI.