Banbury craftsman helps to restore UK landmark

Banbury's Kit Jones at the workshop near Hillsborough Castle NNL-190321-102905001
Banbury's Kit Jones at the workshop near Hillsborough Castle NNL-190321-102905001

A Banbury craftsman is playing his part in the £20m restoration of a UK heritage landmark after gaining a place on a prestigious training programme with a royal link.

Kit Jones was selected as part of this year’s intake on The Prince’s Foundation’s traditional building skills programme and was on site at Hillsborough Castle as part of a collaboration with Historic Royal Palaces and the government Historic Environment Division to transform one of Northern Ireland’s biggest tourist hotspots.

Kit said: “Before I applied for a place on The Prince’s Foundation’s traditional building skills programme, I studied environmental science at university.

“While working at The Centre for Alternative Technology, I became interested in crafts and decided I wanted to become a carpenter.

“The Prince’s Foundation course appealed to me as it’s really the only training course of its kind in the UK and is a great opportunity gain a diverse range of experience.”

The programme is delivered by The Prince’s Foundation and The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) and offers successful participants an NVQ Level 3 qualification.

The year-long course consists of short courses and workshops punctuated by live training builds at the three heritage sites across the UK.

Through a focus on practical, project-based education, the programme develops skills and knowledge for the development of the next generation of skilled craftspeople.

Kit, who studied at The Warriner School before moving on to university, added: “I’m very interested in learning about how heritage skills can be used in modern buildings. Understanding how things were done in the past is key to building better buildings.”

Michael Goodger, built environment education manager at The Prince’s Foundation, said: “This programme gives participants an opportunity to learn from each other and gain a clear sense of all the processes involved in a live build. Hillsborough and Dumfries House both offer new-build projects, while Highgrove involves the restoration and conservation of an existing building in much need of repair.”