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Jonathan Gets Roped In

During the filming of the fascinating TV series ‘Climbing Great Buildings' Jonathan Foyle took a bird's eye view of some of the nation's most iconic and spectacular structures - including their roofs and gutters!

Jonathan Foyle in actionAfter enjoying that unique vantage point, it's no surprise that he's a passionate and informed advocate of the importance of regular maintenance.

This year Jonathan has been ‘roped in' to lead SPAB's 10th annual National Maintenance Week campaign - and as Chief Executive of the World Monuments Fund Britain he is doubly committed to highlighting the vital importance of maintenance for buildings of all types.

Jonathan Foyle says: "Over the last half century, through dazzling publicity for a culture of throw-away convenience, maintenance has become a dirty word. It shouldn't have! Maintenance perpetuates the crafts through which we are enabled to take our own preventative and remedial action.

Repair encourages owners to make a gentle, hands-on contribution to their buildings with the glow of satisfaction at having added a complementary layer to their history. I repair and repaint my own windows, and enjoy the feeling of having understood better, and properly looked after, the house that shelters my family."

Slipped slateThere are practical benefits too, as Jonathan Foyle explains: "For thousands of people, regular maintenance has proved much cheaper than having to remove and replace mass-produced and unfixable features that were supposed to last forever but merely lowered a property's value after making it ugly for twenty disappointing years.

I'd offer a three-step plan:

  • Take action early
  • Watch out for decay
  • Keep it original

And beyond that, in my experience (providing you're roped up) clambering on the roof can also offer you a bracing wintry work-out.  Everyone's happy!"

Timber decayIn 2011 SPAB will show that good maintenance makes a positive contribution to sustainable living. There's more to sustainability than saving energy. It's about making practical, common sense decisions about our immediate environment - the places where we live, work and meet.

Increasingly we live in a ‘throw-away' world and one of the key questions SPAB will urge people to ask this year when dealing with maintenance is: "what can I repair, not replace?"   A maxim that echoes the words of William Morris on the foundation of the Society back in 1877: "Put protection in place of restoration. Stave off decay by daily care."