TFT Woodexperts Blog
Heritage: price versus value
As summer holiday trips out with family begin to beckon, it’s noteworthy to remember that Britain’s first timber-built-iron clad battleship, HMS Warrior, is still with us more than 155 years since its first launching, thanks in some small part to TFT Woodexperts. The difference between price and value comes into sharp focus in advising clients on heritage wood conservation. The price of restoration comes hard up against the value to future generations of the object in question, be it located on ship or shore.
We undertook the assessment of the timbers on HMS Warrior when it was in dock at Hartlepool, to see what could be saved. Apart from the deck timbers, we found the teak interior of HMS Warrior to be in reasonably good condition, considering its use as a floating jetty for many years since ‘retirement’ from naval service. The heritage industry in Britain as a whole has been estimated to be worth £26.4 billion in economic terms. Yet no-one looking at HMS Warrior in its dock at Hartlepool would have considered it for its economic value. Today the ship needs further restoration and has launched a further appeal for funds.
Heritage woodwork – and the timber knowledge and skills that go with it – are currently below society’s day-to-day radar. The outcome of using this knowledge and skill base however has a quantifiable value in to the nation’s wellbeing, according to Historic England. Their 2014 survey pinned down financially a wellbeing value gained by ‘heritage participants’, from visitors to volunteers, of £1,646 per person. If such wellbeing value is quantifiable, then surely it is time to match-fund the expansion of technical and practical wood expertise by investing more in education, training in wood skills?
24 July 2017