Happy New Year to our followers!
In my first blog of 2013 we are delighted to welcome our new Director Simon Buteux to the Trust who joined us on the 2nd January.
Here’s a little bit about Simon…
An archaeologist by training, Simon has worked for many years as Director of the Birmingham University Field Archaeology Unit. He also spent the last three years reparing and renovating a Grade I listed building in Ludlow, The Reader’s House.
Most recently Simon spent three months in the Borneo jungle, project managing the build of a traditional style school.
Why were you interested in working for Birmingham Conservation Trust?
“I was born, studied and have spent most of my working life in Birmingham and I am fascinated by Birmingham’s heritage, especially industrial.
I was involved in the archaeological work in advance of the Bullring development and published a book on this called Beneath the Bull Ring. As part of this work I managed the excavations of St Martin’s churchyard and we uncovered and studied lots of coffin furniture. This taught us much about the historic funerary trade. It is exciting that I have ended up involved in a coffin fitting works site in Fleet Street! I have dug up the finished products but now I’ll be working at a factory where coffin fittings such as these would have been made”.
What do you think are going to be the biggest challenges of your new role?
“The biggest challenge is not the Coffin Fittings Works, as thanks to the work of previous directors and others this project is now well on track. Elizabeth Perkins and interim director Kate Dickson are going to be tough acts to follow! I think the biggest challenge is going to be about creating a sustainable future for the Trust in this economically challenging climate. My brief as the new Director is to help the Trust to diversify its activities, develop new income streams and, as well as that, manage the Trust’s changing relationship with the city council as the Trust moves into its new office (at Newman Brothers) in 2014 and learns to stand on its own two feet.
We hope that the heritage attraction we are developing in the Jewellery Quarter will become an important part of the heritage offer in the area. We want to develop strong links with the other heritage assets such as Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, the JW Evans silver works and The Pen Room Museum, for example. We hope that BCT will play a major role in developing the whole Jewellery Quarter as a heritage destination”.
What are you most looking forward to?
“The Trust already has a very enthusiastic and dedicated group of volunteers and I am looking forward to working with them and hopefully expanding the opportunities for volunteering with us. I am also looking forward to launching a ‘Friends’ group to support us along our journey, and share our passion for preserving and finding new uses for Birmingham’s historic buildings, and especially our industrial heritage”.