Investigating Fabric

The term fabric refers to all the physical material of a place, including the surrounding area and contents of the structure.

Considerations for fabric will include:

  • Approximate date of construction
  • Approximate date of changes to the item and what these changes may entail
  • How the item was constructed. e.g. what materials and techniques were used in its construction
  • The present and past relationship between the item, adjacent items and the surroundings
  • How the item was used, managed and or valued in the past
  • The research potential an item may possess
  • Who may have been involved in, or influenced, its creation, change, use or management

How to Investigate the Fabric of an Item, Place, or Structure

You need to acquire the historical knowledge of the heritage item, place, or structure, in order to achieve a useful level of interpretation. Collect, if possible, all tangible information like any old photos, news paper articles, architecture drawings and any written descriptions or reports about the item, structure, or place.

You must consider how the surrounding environment influenced the item, place or structure, current condition and alterations to it.

If the fabric is a structure or place, photographs should be taken from all possible view points from the interior and exterior.