Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship supporter Hamish Ogston visits masonry workshop at Salisbury Cathedral

Hamish Ogston

Hamish Ogston (right) during his visit to Salisbury Cathedral, when he visited the stonemasonry workshops and met Cathedrals' Workshop Fellowship apprentice Joe O'Connell (left). Also in the picture are Clerk of Works Gary Price and CWF Executive Director Frances Cambrook.

Hamish Ogston CBE, the wealthy philanthropist whose charitable foundation supports the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship (CWF), which trains stonemasons in the 11 cathedrals that have their own workshops, met with CWF students in their masonry workshop on 7 July when he visited Salisbury Cathedral.

The CWF enjoys a long-term partnership with the Hamish Ogston Foundation, which is essential for securing the future of English cathedrals and the people who care for them.

Between September 2022 and August 2025, the Foundation will award £2.3million to the CWF to fund the employment and training of craftspeople, mostly stonemasons but also carpenters, joiners and electricians, at the 11 cathedrals that belong to the CWF, which includes Salisbury.

During his visit to Salisbury Cathedral on Friday, 7 July, Hamish stopped by the cathedral’s on-site workshop, where he met some of the CWF students.

Apprentice stonemason Joe O’Connell, currently studying at Level 2 in preparation for completing the CWF Foundation degree in Applied Historic Building Conservation & Repair, and Matt Barton, who completed this qualification in March last year. Both have benefitted from grants from the Hamish Ogston Foundation.

Joe, Matt and Hamish discussed progress on projects such as a baluster that showcases different masonry profiles and demonstrates the many skills developed on the CWF course.

Joe said afterwards: “I really enjoyed meeting Hamish today and expressed my thanks for his generosity.

“By funding my stonemasonry apprenticeship at Salisbury Cathedral, Hamish has enabled me to pursue my passion for medieval architecture in a practical way and develop the skills necessary for me to contribute to the restoration and maintenance of our built heritage, preserving these beautiful buildings for years to come.”

Hamish said: “My interest in heritage skills and stonemasonry stemmed from observing the great stonework in and around Salisbury Cathedral while I was a chorister and pupil at the Cathedral. “Returning to the stone works yard to meet the apprentices we are funding through our programme with the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship is a great privilege. These apprentices are safeguarding the future of the Cathedral so that many more, children and adults alike, can enjoy the majesty of its ancient architecture for generations to come.”

The Executive Director of the CWF is Frances Cambrook. She was at Salisbury to greet Hamish and said: “We are delighted to welcome Mr Hamish Ogston to Salisbury Cathedral, marking the partnership between the Cathedrals' Workshop Fellowship and Hamish Ogston Foundation in developing the heritage sector.

“This collaborative project has ushered in a new era of progress and advancement, particularly within the member cathedral works departments. Mr Ogston has witnessed the remarkable achievements of our trainees.

“As we approach significant milestones in the academic calendar, with students completing their summer works, it is truly a pleasure to witness our esteemed stakeholders engaging with our talented students and observing first-hand the profound impact they are making on the acquisition and preservation of craft skills in the United Kingdom.”

  • The Hamish Ogston Foundation is based in the UK but with a global reach. It is dedicated to three prime areas of philanthropic focus: heritage, music and health. The Foundation’s prime goals are to preserve historic buildings throughout the world by funding heritage skills apprenticeship programmes, to support and build the UK’s choral music tradition, including the role that organs play in that, and to work towards eliminating the disparities in both access to medical treatment and health awareness around the world by funding vital research. To date, the Foundation has committed more than £30million to the protection of historic buildings in the UK and abroad through the training of more than 3,000 people in heritage conservation skills.