"As soon as I finished my carpentry apprenticeship and began working on old buildings, I quickly began to appreciate the skills, techniques and materials used by the original builders.
This respect for the past has had a great impact on both my practical and professional careers, and I'm as passionate about traditional building methods today as I was over 35 years ago. I always aim to stay true to what is best to conserve, restore and adapt historic buildings for the next generation."
Nathan is Director of Nathan Goss Conservation having relaunched his own consultancy in 2018. He has undertaken numerous surveys, listed building consents, heritage impact assessments and condition reports with costings for a variety of buildings; from small Welsh cottages and houses to large castles like St Donats (Atlantic College) in South Wales and churches like St Winifred’s in Aberystwyth. He was also Historic Building Consultant for the restoration of the National Library of Wales, and worked with National Trust (Wales) at Dyffryn Gardens to write and submit planning applications and listed building consents.
He is a Timber Conservation Consultant for the World Monuments Fund (WMF) and has surveyed Aba Jifar Palace and the American Gebbi, both of which are in Ethiopia. He produced condition reports, schedules of repairs and set out conservation training programmes for both sites. Also for the WMF, he remotely supported the production of a condition report and specification for W.E.B. Du Bois House in Accra, Ghana. In addition, he is currently Project Manager for the Prince’s Foundation at Strata Florida where he is co-ordinating building condition surveys and managing repairs to the historic farmhouse buildings.
Nathan is a fully qualified trainer and assessor in traditional building skills and has worked for the Prince’s Foundation and Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT). Subjects he's taught include traditional building methods, preventing damp in old house, traditional carpentry history & skills, and lime and costing works.
During its earlier years, Nathan Goss Conservation contracts included Historic Buildings Adviser and Project Manager for the Strata Florida Trust; arranging emergency works, small structural works and repairs, and giving the then Prince Charles a private tour. He was Historic Buildings Advisor for the restoration of Griff Rhys Jones’ traditional 19th century Pembrokeshire farmhouse complex, Trehilyn where he wrote the specification of works and project managed the first phase of works to the roof which included a traditional oak pegged, riven lathed, diminishing coursed Welsh slate roof with lime mortared hips.
In 2016, Nathan was Conservation Contracts Manager for John Weaver Contractors where he managed and oversaw their Conservation Division. This included the management of approximately 75 staff that consisted of project managers, site agents, estimators, quantity surveyors, and skilled workforce. He wrote multiple pre-qualification questionnaires, quality submissions for tender documents, conservation method statements for Cadw, construction phase plans and programmes of works plus other documents. In addition, he led the team that was successfully appointed to work on the Heritage Lottery funded Hay Castle restoration project. He was tasked with bringing in £5 million of conservation work per annum to the company but achieved just over £9 million in his first year alone.
In 2007, Nathan became a historic building surveyor for the National Trust, Europe’s largest conservation charity. His twenty years’ of ‘hands on’ building experience gave him a varied and firm skill base to allow a smooth transition into the field of historic building surveying. He quickly honed his skills, becoming competent in surveying, specification writing, condition reporting, project management and budget control.
Within the first three years of working for the National Trust in Wales, Nathan was entrusted with a £1 million budget to project manage an environmental compliance programme to include all of the National Trust Wales building stock. He wrote all the planning and building regulation applications for submission to the relevant Local Authorities and Natural Resources Wales. He then project managed all the works to ensure that all the planning and building requirements were adhered to.
Following the above programme, he continued to hone his surveying skills through looking after properties across Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion. He was responsible for projects of all sizes including short and long term cyclical works to buildings like Llanerchaeron Villa near Aberaeron, Tudor Merchant House in Tenby and St David’s Cross in St David’s City to name a few. He was also a key project member when the National Trust acquired Treleddyd Fawr, a 17th century Pembrokeshire cottage near St David’s. He wrote the condition report for the cottage and calculated the five year and ten-year forecast figures which helped secure this nationally significant and unique cottage. In 2014, he moved location to become Project Building Surveyor in the newly established South East Wales region of the National Trust, working at both the 17th century Tredegar House and grade I listed Dyffryn Gardens. Here he managed short and long-term cyclical works and project budgets, whilst also carrying out several condition reports and listed building consents.
In 2013 Nathan acquired a NVQ Level 6 (equivalent of a Bachelor’s Degree) in ABBE Built Environment Development and Control. This was preceded in 2006 by a HNC in ‘The history of architecture, building and conservation’. Nathan is a member of SPAB and of the Heritage Crafts Association, and is also a member of the ICOMOS International Wood Committee.
Nathan has over twenty years’ practical experience in the restoration of historic buildings which started with his three-year carpentry and joinery apprenticeship in 1987. After qualifying he chose to specialise in the restoration of old buildings and embarked upon a ten-year period of travel around the UK working as part of a team of specialist carpenters. He worked on some of Britain’s finest buildings including Windsor Castle, Hereford Cathedral, Hafoty Hall, Whitley Court and Sker House to name a few. Over this period, he perfected his skills in several different areas of carpentry including green oak repairs, all aspects of traditional cut roofing, restoring, conserving and the consolidation of fine joinery.
Following this transient time in his carpentry career, in 2002 he was appointed Restoration Carpenter at St Fagans National Museum of History. Here he was involved with many different conservation projects but most notably he helped restore and rebuild the 16th century church of St Teilos. This church was taken down slate by slate, timber by timber and stone by stone then driven fifty miles and rebuilt onsite at St Fagans near Cardiff. He hand carved twelve new green oak trusses and restored ten original oak trusses, all whilst talking to and entertaining the public on restoration carpentry skills. In addition, he carved over 120m of running moulding for the underside of the roof trusses which are now prominent as you walk into the restored church. Whilst working at St Fagans, he also helped restore Hendreweren uchaf, a 16th century Welsh longhouse and restored some of the main wheels to the Esgair Moel Woollen Mill.
Following Nathan's time at St Fagans, he revived his own restoration carpentry company, NJ Carpentry. During this time he worked for Griff Rhys Jones on Trehilyn, his traditional Welsh farmhouse and buildings near Fishguard. Here he repaired A-frames and helped save a floor carrying beam with a modern technique using TG6 resin and a steel flitch. He also repaired staircases and restored sliding sash windows and original wooden floors. All of this work was documented by the television programme ‘A Pembrokeshire Farmhouse’ where he was one of the main contributors.