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Restoration for future generations

By David Porter

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There was another full house this week as the Rotary Club of Inverurie members settled down in their favourite chair for this week’s meeting, courtesy of Zoom.

Following the usual formalities, President Kay Diack handed over to rotarian Sandy Lamb to introduce the guest speaker - his daughter Fiona Lamb an architect, based in London but also a visiting lecturer in the University of Birmingham.

With 25 years experience, Fiona specialises in care ,maintenance and restoration of listed buildings.

This sometimes includes making alterations in order that the building can have present day use - not just a present day reminder of past glories! Quite obviously such buildings are of significant historical interest to many, attracting countless visitors therefore in some cases, health and safety issues come high on the list of priorities.

To highlight the scope of her work, Fiona used two very different projects in London but first, she asked a question ‘How old must a building be to be listed?’

As rotarian Jim McColl said: "The answer was quite surprising - only 10 years old!

Fiona has worked on many projects in her career including the restoration of the Isokon building.
Fiona has worked on many projects in her career including the restoration of the Isokon building.

"The Isokon Building in London was built in the mid-thirties, at that time, a very modern block, built of iron and concrete.

"It was Fiona's first example chosen, to be compared with the Natural History Museum also in London of course, built in the 17th century!

"The Isokon building has evolved over the years, to suit changing needs and fashions, for example, from apartments to bars and restaurant on the ground floor with penthouse accommodation on the roof requiring a significant re-design inputs.

"The History Museum on the other hand, has to be nurtured because of it’s age and that often means replacing some elements.

The Natural HIstory Museum
The Natural HIstory Museum

"The big challenge being to make the new look like the old with the biggest headache in the restoration of such an ancient building being the need for complicated scaffolding!

"It was a fascinating story, many questions being asked, for example - are there enough craftsmen being trained to be able to cope with these maintenance and restoration challenges and as you might imagine, there are firms who specialise in this very important sector.

"Stuart Watson proposed the vote of thanks, an opportunity to acknowledge the fact that Fiona’s mother and father Dorothy and Sandy are club members as well as congratulating Fiona on her style and fascinating presentation.

"An enthralling well told story indeed but needs must, the work of Rotary must go on.

"Following the talk, President Kay returned to club business with some good news reports for example the new 'President’s Fund' is now

receiving donations.

"It was created by inviting members to donate to it, loosely relating to the money members have saved by not paying for a meal every Tuesday night!

"This initiative was introduced in an effort to compensate for the loss of some of our money-earning events.

"This new fund will enable us to support our charity projects as planned. In that context, the Inverurie Men's Shed had acknowledged our £300 contribution to their fund-raising efforts as they develop their new site.

"Continuing in the same vein Joe McDowall reported that his money-raising ploy in aid of Prostate Cancer has now passed the £1k mark!

"Well done , Sir.

"As is our custom, president Kay closed the meeting with a Toast to Rotary and Peace the World over."

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