New ten-metre-high stone obelisk erected in Poundbury

A ten-metre-high stone obelisk crafted by students of The Prince’s Foundation is being installed at the bastion wall at the bottom of Wadebridge Lane, overlooking Middle Farm Way.

This comes as HRH The Prince of Wales’s charity launches Building Arts, a new programme by The Prince’s Foundation to provide students with the technical knowledge, skills and hands-on experience necessary to gain work in the heritage skills industry.

Erection of the monument, which will stand opposite Weymouth College’s stonemasonry school and The Dorset Centre for Creative Arts, commenced on Monday 4 November. The obelisk has been carved by students from Portland stone and comprises 20 parts to be assembled using lime mortar.

Tom Stainer, 26, from Sherborne in Dorset, trained as a stonemasonry student at Weymouth College and forms part of The Prince’s Foundation’s group of students to create the obelisk.

He said: “I feel very privileged to be working on such an iconic project. The obelisk is going to look incredible when it’s complete. It will be able to viewed from the stonemasonry department at Weymouth College so we’ll be able to look out the window with a sense of pride. My carving skills have taken me to heritage projects in the UK and much further afield. I represented England in Egypt recently by carving one of 50 stone hearts for a presidential memorial but I am most excited about contributing to the landscape on my own home turf. I come from just outside Poundbury so it’s a bit of a big deal for me.”

The Prince’s Foundation has underlined its commitment to producing future generations of expert practitioners of traditional craft skills by launching the fully-funded nine-month Building Arts programme in collaboration with Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust.

The charity, whose headquarters are at Dumfries House in Ayrshire, is seeking applications for the first intake of its new Building Arts programme, which will launch in February next year. It will be delivered alongside QEST, the charity supporting the training and education of individual craftspeople since 1990.

The course complements The Prince’s Foundation’s existing suite of built environment-related courses that attract students from all over the world and are designed to pass on a wide range of traditional skills and techniques. Typically, graduates go on to work at heritage sites across the UK, where the skilled workforce is typically nearing retirement age and has traditionally not been backed by a succession of emerging skilled talent.

Michael Goodger, built environment education manager for The Prince’s Foundation at Dumfries House, said: “On our new Building Arts programme, students from a broad range of discipline areas will learn together, exploring both the interdisciplinary nature of architecture, the decorative arts and traditional craft, and the role that these practices can continue to play in shaping the world around us.

“We hope to inspire a future generation of designers, artists, and makers to create a built environment which draws on a vast array of different skills, and celebrates the physical, temporal and even symbolic connections which can be realised through our buildings and places.”

Deborah Pocock, CEO of QEST, said: “With nearly 30 years’ experience of supporting excellence in British craftsmanship, QEST is delighted, once again, to be collaborating with The Prince’s Foundation on this new and exciting programme.

“We will draw on our wide network of master craftspeople to ensure the skills that they have learnt are passed onto the next generation. This course presents a wonderful opportunity for students to learn from each other across a broad range of craft disciplines.”

The new programme will teach technical skills such as glasswork, ceramics, painting, carving, metalwork, sculpture, and textiles. It will complement the charity’s existing curriculum, which includes the Building Craft Programme whose students have created the Poundbury obelisk.

Those interested in applying for the course can access more information and an application form here.