Ebenezer: Ian Constantinides Memorial Debate…

The best bit of building in (mostly) Somerset Debate…
Chaired by George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol

Friday 17 April 2015

This event is in honour of Ian Constantinides, much missed founder of the Ebenezers, who died 2 years ago.

For this inaugural Memorial Debate the Ebenezers are delighted to welcome George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol and ex-President of RIBA, to chair and introduce a panel of experts, each of whom will champion a building – or an aspect of a building – worthy of our notice and wonder. After our experts have made their presentations we will all vote for the most beautiful or strangest or best example on the basis of their persuasive advocacy. The winner of the debate will receive a massive prize – largely consisting of our applause and admiration…

Ian founded St. Blaise, one of this country’s leading firms in the conservation of historic buildings… (see Guardian obituary) The Chairman and all the panel were friends of Ian’s and consulted with and worked with him on various projects. George Ferguson, Clem Cecil and Julian Orbach have all spoken before at the Ebenezer.

The Ebenezers plan to hold an Ian Constantinides Memorial event each year on some aspect of Historic Building Conservation

The evening will begin with a short edited film featuring Ian Constantinides in BBC2’s, Restored to Glory.

Meet the chairman and speakers:

George Ferguson CBE
Architect, Past President RIBA (2003/5) and first elected Mayor of Bristol (Nov 2012 -) From his Bristol based practice Ferguson Mann he founded the UK wide group of architects, Acanthus, in 1986 and was a founder of the Academy of Urbanism.

He saved and developed the ‘Tobacco Factory’ in Bristol, a catalyst for the regeneration of South Bristol and a model for culture led regeneration. He is also a restaurateur, brewer and theatre proprietor.

Twitter @georgefergusonx

Clementine Cecil
Director of SAVE Britain’s Heritage, SAVE Europe’s Heritage and the Chair of the Moscow Architectural Preservation Society. Clem was the Moscow Correspondent for The Times (2001-2004) & co-founder of MAPS (Moscow Architectural Preservation Society) which she has chaired since 2012. She has written reports on the Architectural Heritage of Samara, St. Petersburg and Moscow, & wrote freelance for The Times on Russia, Architecture and Conservation. She is currently working on a City Guide to Moscow and a report on rural Russian churches under threat. She is also a member of the Tbilisi Heritage Group. She led SAVE’s campaign to save Smithfield Market (visit: Save Britain’s Heritage). SAVE has been described as “the most influential conservation group to have been established since William Morris founded the Society for the Protection Ancient Buildings over a century ago”.

Julian Orbach
Has just published his Buildings of South and West Somerset, in Sir Nikolaus Pevsner’s Buildings of Britain series, originally published in 1958. He has criss-crossed the county south of the Mendips, looking at every thing that might loosely be called architecture, gathering together all the strange and wonderful buildings this county has to offer… Julian has compiled lists of historic buildings in England and Wales. He wrote the Blue Guide to Victorian Architecture in Britain. He has been co-author on the three western volumes of the Buildings of Wales, covering Pembrokeshire to Anglesey.

David Odgers
Graduated with a degree in chemistry and then spent several years working on the fringes before becoming (in 1980) an apprentice conservator at Wells Cathedral under Professor Robert Baker. He was a founder of Nimbus Conservation Ltd in1984 and stayed there until 2005 during which time, often in competition with Ian and St. Blaise, theywe shared out (completely legally of course) repair and conservation works on many important historic buildings, monuments and sites.

Since 2005, he has been an independent consultant on all aspects of conservation of stone and plaster. Apart from providing advice and good sense, he continues to teach at West Dean where he is senior tutor on the Building Conservation Masterclass programme; he has also run courses in both the Gulf and Palestine and he is a core instructor on the ICCROM international stone course in Rome. Unlike Ian, he has yet to deliver a lecture while sitting on a window cill with his head outside the window but he has managed to finish on time.

Marianne Suhr MRICS, SPAB Lethaby Scholar
Is a chartered building surveyor specialising in the repair of historic buildings. She met Ian during her SPAB scholarship year in 1995. After working for 7 years in architectural practice, she gave up her desk job to concentrate on practical projects, and has recently repaired (though definitely not restored) her third house. She was a co-presenter during three series of BBC2’s ‘Restoration’.

Marianne lectures extensively on building repair, and runs courses for builders, homeowners and professionals. She set up the Old House Consultancy and runs repair projects in the Oxfordshire area. Marianne was co-author of the ‘Old House Handbook’ and ‘Old House Eco Handbook’. She nearly drowned in 2001 during an ill fated sailing expedition with the aforementioned Mr Constantinides, whilst reluctantly wearing pink hotpants.

Rhys Brookes
Is a specialist conservation architect with a particular interest in material science and construction technology and how these affect the historic design and form of buildings. Considering buildings from this angle often gives a very different understanding as to the special qualities of a construction which is all too often overlooked in favour of aesthetic and historic considerations. He is a senior partner in Harrison Brookes Architects in Frome, Somerset.

Lynne Humphries
Is an Architectural and Sculpture Conservator. She has worked in conservation for over 25 years. She began her conservation career in museum conservation before studying a Postgraduate Diploma in architectural stone conservation.

Lynne completed her masters degree at the Royal College of Art/V&A in Sculpture Conservation and joined St Blaise Ltd for a number of years before establishing Humphries and Jones in 2000 and continues to work as both a practitioner and consultant conservator (with a project recently being awarded the 2014 SPAB Betjeman Award for Conservation).

Please be sure to book early – there will be limited numbers and this is certain to be a popular event. And please do not turn up without receiving our confirmation, or come with fewer or more people than you have booked for without letting us know well in advance. Many thanks.

Ian’s headstone will have been ‘planted’ on the 15 April. For all those who would like to come, there will be a gathering at Ian’s grave in North Curry Churchyard before the Debate at 5pm on Friday 17 April, to lay flowers and douse him in tequila. Sarah and the Ebenezers will be there at 5.00 until 5.30pm. And again on Saturday 18 April at midday for all who cannot come on Friday.

Friday 17 April 2015
Doors open at 7.00 for a 7.30pm start
£12.50 (on the door) includes a glass of wine and supper…

To book or get onto the e-mail list either E-mail or telephone 07879 206543 – you may also use the Contact Form below:


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If you have not booked, please ring 07879 206543 before you leave to join us.
If you have booked, PLEASE let us know as soon as possible if you are unable to attend. Other people might have your seats and catering plans are affected.

Dear Friends & Guests,
To keep the gentlefolk of Aller happy we need all Ebenezees to park carefully. There will be highly qualified parking attendants to help but please note:
There is disabled access around the back of the building, so all those who find the stairs tricky should drive in to the yard and go towards the far end.
There is space for 20 or so cars in the Seed Factory car park. But if you have a very large vehicle it would be helpful if you could park outside.
If you park on the road, please do not park on the same side as the Seed Factory. 
There are spaces down the lane past the pub, particularly down Church Path.
There is also parking behind the Village Hall, just opposite the Seed Factory. We are welcome to use the space as long as there are no events at the Hall at the same time. Any doubts please check with our Parking squad.
Many thanks ~ Ebenezer Presents

Friday 24 April: Saladin ~ John Man
Friday 8 May: Syria ~ Brigid Keenan
Friday 5 June: Strawberry Hill ~ Marion Harney
Friday 26 June: Deeper than Indigo ~ Jenny Balfour-Paul

PLEASE do NOT book before you receive the specific flyer by e-mail newsletter… Thank you!