Posted on: 15th November 2018

Carpenter Oak was established over thirty years ago, at a time when timber framing skills were lost in history.  Founder Charley Brentnall undertook conservation work to rediscover these forgotten methods.  Charley used evidence of past construction methods to relearn and inform his carpentry technique. These are the techniques and skills that Carpenter Oak’s carpenters adopt today.  

Charley’s passion and his realisation of the importance of preserving historically rich sites have brought him to lead on several notable projects. One of the most memorable is the conservation of the Scott and Shackleton’s huts in Antartica.  

Historical photographs and documents informed the 10-year conservation project.  The team carried out meticulous repairs alongside careful documentation.  Working in the inhospitable environment of Antartica meant only those experts with genuine passion and skills took part in this unique project.  

Charley was the lead conservation carpenter on the multi-national and multi-disciplined team. The heritage carpentry involved repairing and weatherproofing the huts and improving the microclimates for the artefacts. The process involved removing and replacing contemporary material introduced in the 60’s and 80’s. This allowed historical accuracy to be maintained. 

The huts now restored to remarkable accuracy appear frozen in time.  An aroma of fresh wood once again resides amongst the expertly crafted wooden buildings. The extensive effort of all the conservationists involved makes these historical settings appear as if no work has been done at all, opening the door straight into the past.  

Charley Brentnall will be sharing his experience at Shackleton’s hut and other stories on the evening of Tuesday the 4th of December in Frome.  Tickets can be booked here.

Read more about the history of the Scott and Shackleton’s huts and Charley’s involvement with their preservation here.