1st Ian Constantinides Memorial Debate: The best bit of building in (mostly) Somerset Debate

Chaired by George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol, this debate is in honour of Ian Constantinides, much missed founder of the Ebenezers


For this Inaugural Memorial Debate the Ebenezers are delighted to welcome George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol and ex-President of RIBA, to chair & 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 Ian’s Guardian obit) The Chairman and all the panel were friends of Ian, 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.


Chairman & 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.

Clementine Cecil

Clem is 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

Julian 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

David 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, they we 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 sill with his head outside the window but he has managed to finish on time.

Marianne Suhr MRICS, SPAB Lethaby Scholar

Marianne 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 3 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

Rhys 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

Lynne 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).




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2016Martin Keeley