Gemma is a local York resident who has no previous experience or interest in history. She has always assumed it boring and not relevant to her. She is also a member of Fabrication. As part of our engagement remit Dawn asked her to accompany her on an exercise on Coney Street to look at the existing street numbers , and to map them against original ones . As they walked the street, Dawn told her who had lived where, how they lived and what they had made. Through these conversations Gemma could suddenly see a connection. As a maker who lives in the city centre , works from home and sells her goods on Coney Street, she could see how she was following in their traditions, and that history is about real people just like her. After that she was hooked, and eager to find out more
I’ve never liked history before but looking at all the buildings on Coney St and finding out what they were used for in the past made me look at in a different light. I loved seeing how people made a living and how small businesses made up most of the high street back in the day’ Gemma
Andrew Clark is a military metal work specialist specialising in the reproduction of historical accoutrements. Andrew is the tutor for the tin and copper smithing workshops. As we know that tin smithing was practiced on Coney Street and knowing that there is only one practising tin smith in the UK this was an obvious workshop to run , and Andrew’s existing skills and knowledge made him the ideal tutor.
|Tin smithing died out due to industrialisation and the introduction of plastics. It is a skill base that enables you to make your own unique, handmade products. When you use other metals like copper you lose the potential for the decorative elements that can be applied. Tin smithing is much more about functionality. Historical objects have to be man made to be reduced to the required standard and quality’ – Andrew|
Through running the workshops, Andrew has identified a small group of re-enactors who want to continue developing their tin smithing skills so that they can make their own items. Andrew will continue working with them, as well as developing his own skills Although the project enabled the purchase of the required tools , Andrew wants to broaden out the offer , and buy original Victorian tools that will make the production more prolific but still be hand crafted. He is considering applying to the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust to further develop his own skills, and the skills of others .
Many of our makers specialise in traditional and heritage crafts, as such we were interested in the origins
The Craftsmen & Women of Coney Street York We have found a wide variety of skills in the buildings, some