This was really quite a wonderful event, although not one I would have necessarily picked for purely entertainment purposes. However, I’m very glad I attended one of their sessions; it was informative, interesting and interactive.
Situated in the courtyard entrance of Acheson Hall, the event – a slate roofing demonstration on my morning – began with tea, coffee and an assortment of biscuits. Although a rather drizzly start to the day, the refreshments raised our spirits and kept the attendees happy. I wish every event started with free tea and cake, it was really very lovely.
Steaming mugs in hand, we went through to the courtyard once more to begin the morning’s talk. Hosted by the wonderful Graeme Millar, roofer extraordinaire and President of the National Federation of Roofing Contractors Limited, he began by talking his audience through the different kinds of slates used in Edinburgh and throughout Scotland. This was surprisingly interesting and Millar clearly knows his profession inside out.
He talked about the conservation of Edinburgh’s historic roofing, as well as the pros and cons of the different slates available on the market. He was able to answer every question the audience had – who were not shy with their queries – and the depth of his knowledge was impressive. We were also shown a slating demonstration on a conical turret, provided by two of Millar’s colleagues. Millar talked the audience through this too, explaining the procedure in detail.
This session of the Edinburgh Traditional Building Festival which I attended was well constructed (pun intended) and relaxed, as well as educational and generally interesting. Although I was not quite convinced to get into the trade, I have a new appreciation for the skills which go in to the construction and preservation of Edinburgh’s roofs.