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If you missed episode 11 of BBC2's Heritage Heroes featuring DCRS you can watch it here using QuickTime
An Interview with Rob Buckley
Follow this link to hear Rob talking about sustainable building and the use of lime and hemp (known as hempcrete) on Farm Radio .
When traditional builders, Rob Buckley and Suzy Carr, became concerned about the loss of traditional building skills and rural crafts, they decided to do something about it.
“Skills are no longer passed from generation to generation” explains Rob. “Our solution to preserve these skills and pass them to new people was to establish a local training centre".
Together with Chris Wallis, they applied for a grant from Chalk and Cheese to transform an agricultural barn in the North Dorset hamlet of Farrington, and in 2003 Dorset Centre For Rural Skills, know as DCRS, was born.
Rob and Suzy have been building since the 1970's, and in an era when cement was all the rage, they were using lime renders and earth plasters. Traditional crafts were not unfamiliar to the pair as they had long had close connections with local artists and craftspeople and in the 1980's successfully ran their own forge.
"We were renovating old properties and wanting to use the parts, tools or materials that were originally used" says Rob. We found that traditional craftspeople were few and far between. I'm very practical, and can make most things myself, but what disturbed me was that if there wasn't a skilled craftsperson to tell me what to do, or a process that wasn't explained in a book, how could I learn? I quickly realised that if these skills were not preserved, not passed onto younger generations, they would be lost. These concerns were shared by the craftspeople I spoke to".
"In addition, around the time of the Millenium, global consumerism was making it even harder for craftspeople to trade. How can a hand crafted item that has taken to week to design and make, compete with a similar but mass produced item selling at a fraction of the price?" says Rob. Not only were skills not being passed onto younger generations, but craftspeople were struggling to turn a profit and businesses closing.