Our friends in Conservation – RIBA

On this day 182 years ago…

January 11th 1837: the IBA gets it’s R.

On this day in 1837 the Royal Institute of British Architects was granted its Royal charter.


First established in 1834 as the plain-old Institute of British Architects, the group’s membership convened as they tried to figure out what it meant to be an architect. Three years later, by the Privy Council under King William IVwas delivered the IBA and they were established as the full-fledged professional organisation that still exists today.

Thank you to everyone at the Heritage Alliance for keeping us up to date with key events and exciting projects going on in the industry this year. Shared with us yesterday in their mid-month updates was an intriguing competition announcement from the RIBA, which has provoked our curiosity – the Contemporary reordering of St Michael le Belfrey, York.

The Royal Institute of British Architects announced this exciting competition on 7th January, with deadlines for any questions being 30th January and deadlines for Expressions of Interest being 19th February at 14:00. With hopes to find an experienced architect-led multi-disciplinary team for the reordering of this iconic church building. The revival of this church has been under consideration for much of four decades.

St Michael le Belfrey Church is situated next to York Minster, one of the largest Gothic churches in northern Europe. Image credit: https://www.britainexpress.com/attractions.htm?attraction=2116

Vision Statement

“Our vision for the project is to renew and enhance the historic Church building of St Michael le Belfrey in order to inspire and enable 21st century worship and mission, to meet the needs of the people we serve and assist God’s plan to transform the North of England from the heart of Yorkshire.

The mission for the building of St Michael le Belfrey is to provide a significant and attractive resource facility for engaging and welcoming people into the family of God, realising our strategic emphases of making disciples, nurturing disciples, developing leaders and planting churches.

This requires creating a space which provides an open, welcoming, accessible and warm Church environment, with a flexible interior arrangement while remaining faithful to our heritage. The reordering will seek to embrace the use of current technology to its fullest, while at the same time preserving the most significant historical and architectural aspects of the building. In this way we will blend modern practicality and versatility with beauty, and declare and encourage our values of simplicity, humility, festivity and generosity.”

Works added by century. Image credit: https://www.british-history.ac.uk/rchme/york/vol5/xxxix-lvii

St Michael le Belfrey Church Facts:

Built between: 1525-1537

Constructed from: Limestone ashlar with roofs of lead and stone slate.

Purpose: Anglican church.

Designed and built by: John Forman, the Minster’s master mason was responsible for the Tudor gothic style with renaissance influence. The west front and bellcote date from 1867 and were supervised by the architect George Fowler Jones.

Name taken from: the Minster Belfrey, which stood on the site before the church was built.

Church size: It was, and still is, the largest parish church in the city, originally serving a wealthy community of merchants and craftsmen.

Famous for: being the place where Guy Fawkes was baptised on 16 April 1570. Fawkes later became a Roman Catholic, which led to the failed 1605 Gunpowder Plot.

. . . the most spacious and the most elegant of the York parochial churches.”  The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland, 1868

The services we provide for you at

aura conservation


Roof Tiling, Steeplejacks and Lightning Protection, Roof Drainage, Lead Protection, Roof Features.


Stone, Brick, Cast Stone, Terracotta, Sculpture, Statuary, Bronze Statuary.


Painting & Decorating, Plasterwork, Tiling, Timber Flooring.

Services & Treatment

Protection and Remedial Treatment, Paint Finishes, Mortars & Renders, Pointing, Paint Removal, Masonry Cleaning, Structural Repairs, Epoxy Resin Repairs.

Metal, Wood & Glass

Fine Joinery, Wood Carving, Windows and Doors, Secondary Glazing, Metalwork.

Whats On?

January 2019
11th Best Site Practices for Making, Using and Curing Lime Mortars:
Charlestown Workshops, Fife
15th Mortars, Plasters and Renders 2:
The Engine Shed, Forthside Way, Stirling
16th Empowering Design Parctices Study Tour – Faith, Community and Design:
Mossley Hill Church, Liverpool
18th Timber Buildings in Essex:
Cressing Temple Barns, Essex
18th Conservation Plans:
Birmingham City University
19th Lime Pointing:
Merryhill Training Centre, Fife
25th Lime Based Mortars and Traditional Materials for Repair of Civil Engineering Structures:
Merryhill Training Centre, Fife
25th-26th Project Management and Urban Design:
Birmingham City University
28th-31st Specifying Conservation Works:
West Dean College, West Sussex
29th-30th Rubble Wall Building:
Merryhill Training Centre, Fife

Thanks to Building Conservation for proving us with these Key Dates and Events not to be missed in January.

Extending thank-you’s to Clio, who’s Calendar Blog has been a wonderful source of inspiration, also Historic England and of course the Royal Institute of British Architects for making this competition possible.

Incorporated in 2006, Aura Conservation have existed for over twelve successful years. We have a sound and experienced management team. We can assist you in any of your conservation needs and have a body of long standing and experienced tradesmen we can call on with specialist knowledge of the conservation world. Along with prudent financial management, we have a sound financial foundation that will see us prosper in the coming years.

You can contact us at:

Dunham House, 181 Wellington Road North, Stockport, Cheshire, SK4 2PB. Tel. 0161 442 9850 Fax. 0161 432 8478

Email  enquiries@auraltd.co.uk
Web    www.auraltd.co.uk


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