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VOLUNTEER FOCUS Together we’re making a difference

2019 ISSUE 15

Lessons in History Volunteering in education

INSIDE: Our heroes | We did it! | Shout Out Loud | Your stories | News and more...


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WELCOME

Hello and welcome to edition 15 of Volunteer Focus. Winter is generally a quieter time for our sites, but your contributions show that we all still have plenty to talk about. A recurring topic of conversation has been about why history education is so important. Passing on historical knowledge is a key part of English Heritage’s work, so I decided to make education the theme for this edition’s ROUND UP (page 7). I also received a wonderful article about Wrest Park’s history as an auxiliary hospital, and efforts to research this period for a more complete picture. Find out more in PROJECT PROFILE (page 26), which includes beautiful colourised photographs from the First World War Thank you to everyone who contributed their ideas and time to this edition. I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed putting it together. On the cover: Education volunteers welcome school children to Battle Abbey.

Kayleigh Telling, Volunteer Editor

If you’d like to contribute to the next edition of Volunteer Focus or if you have any feedback on this issue, we’d love to hear from you:  volunteer.enquiries @english-heritage.org.uk  www.english-heritage.org.uk/ volunteering 0370 333 1185 If you’d like this document in a different format, please contact: 0370 333 1181  customers@english-heritage.org.uk Volunteer Editor Kayleigh Telling Editorial Coordinator Emma Valentine Designer Bronwen Reeves The English Heritage Trust is a charity, no. 1140351, and a company, no. 07447221, registered in England.

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21 30

CONTENTS F E AT U R E S

7 RO U N D

32

REGULARS

Volunteering in education

Find out what’s been happening

5 NEWS

21 L E T ’ S

12 NEED TO

10 W E

24 W H Y I L OVE . . . The Ranger’s Room

UP

KNOW

Strategic plan for the future

1 8 PRO JEC T PROF IL E Festive crafts at Kenilworth 2 2 YO U R S TO RIES Eventful Audley

2 6 PRO JEC T PROF IL E Wrest Park auxiliary hospital 3 2 NEED TO KNOW Shout Out Loud update

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DID IT!

Richborough rediscovered

14 OUR

H E RO E S

The wonder of trees

16 A

DAY I N T H E L I F E

We hear from

a Totnes Castle guide

G O TO. . .

Norham Castle

at Ranger’s House

3 0 W H Y

I L OVE . . .

Horses at Audley End


NEWS All the latest news and notices from across English Heritage.

Volunteers working at Tintagel

Volunteers excavate Tintagel

From left, Volunteers Jill Lord and Marcia Gillott

Brodsworth’s bookshop success

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e started the first English Heritage volunteer-run second-hand bookshop at Brodsworth Hall in 2015. By 2018, three years after it opened, the shop had raised over £10,000 to support the site. This is thanks to the dedicated team of five volunteers who help collect, sort, price and sell the books that are donated. Jill Lord said, ‘We are the victims of our own success and keep running out of books to sell. We are always appealing for more books.’ Keep Brodsworth in mind if you have any books you wish to donate.

SHARE YOUR NEWS We’d love to hear from you. Volunteer Focus features content supplied by our volunteers. If you have an idea you’d like to contribute to the magazine, or wish to give us feedback, please contact volunteer.enquiries@english-heritage.org.uk or call us on 01793 414752

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successful dig at Tintagel Castle was completed in September, which uncovered a series of structures, including building walls, enclosure wall, and a possible oven or kiln. Along with this were 300 smaller finds, like sherds of pottery from the East Mediterranean. This project could not have been done without the team of 21 volunteers who worked tirelessly from 8am – 5pm, Monday to Friday on the excavation. Without the volunteers, mainly from Cornwall, a machine would have removed turf prior to laying new paths, which might have damaged any buried archaeology. ‘The short project has inspired confidence in managing volunteers for short archaeological projects and demonstrates a significant opportunity to carry out further work on other sites using volunteers.’ said Win Scutt, Properties Curator for the West.

Get 10% OFF at English Heritage shops and cafés with your pass or quote code VT219 to receive the discount in our online shop. english-heritage.org.uk 5


NEWS

IRON BRIDGE IS COMPLETE

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e’d like to say a huge thank you to this group of volunteers from Project Iron Bridge. We recently came to the end of twelve months of expert conservation on the world’s first Iron Bridge, English Heritage’s largest conservation project to date. A temporary scaffolding walkway was built alongside the bridge giving visitors a unique, up-close view. Thirty three volunteers were recruited to man the walkway and talk to the public about the

history of the bridge and the work taking place. The response from visitors was overwhelmingly positive – we welcomed over 40,000 visitors during the conservation works and raised £12,000 in donations. The passion and enthusiasm of our volunteers throughout the project was inspiring. Now that the restorations to the Iron Bridge have been unveiled, we hope you’re all proud that you played such an important part in preserving this icon of the Industrial Revolution.

A BUDDING TALENT

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e would like to offer huge congratulations to volunteer Tom Gay, who received a horticultural award from Wakefield College after volunteering in Brodsworth Hall gardens. ‘Tom and I started volunteering in the garden together about 18 months ago.’ said Tom’s grandmother, Jean. ‘He had to choose a course for college and, because he knows how engrossed I get in my garden, opted for the course in horticulture. Tom’s grown in confidence and enthusiasm, mostly due to the team of gardeners and volunteers at Brodsworth making both of us part of their team. He has taken this knowledge back to college and was awarded Student of the Year 2018.’ Tom’s award is a source of great pride and a testament to the positive effects of volunteering with the Brodsworth Hall team. Well done.

Above The team celebrate the end of the project Right The newly restored bridge

A Wrest Park pantomime

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n December, the Visitor Operations team at Wrest Park performed Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs specifically for their volunteers. ‘Staff really wanted to do something to say thank you to them,’ said Volunteer Coordinator Helen Minocki Brooks. She added, ‘Wrest Park has a tradition of hosting performances of all sorts - from the soldiers putting on plays when it was a military hospital, to the fondly remembered visits from Father Christmas coming down through the roof during the Silsoe Agricultural Research Institute days, so we felt proud to be carrying on that tradition in a very amateurish kind of way.’ Right Cast members of Wrest Park’s pantomime

DON’T FORGET Grandmother and grandson team Jean Broadbent & Thomas Gay

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Is there something exciting happening? Have you just received an award? Have you got a new exhibition or partnership? Or do you just want to show off how great your volunteers are? Email us with your stories at volunteer.enquiries@english-heritage.org.uk or call us on 01793 414752 ncg

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Your volunteer pass allows FREE ENTRY for you plus one adult to all English Heritage managed properties. Present your volunteer pass to get 10% OFF at English Heritage shops and cafés. Quote code VT219 to receive the discount in our online shop.


ROUND UP

LESSONS IN

HISTORY In this edition’s Round Up, we explore the theme of education and its importance in passing on our historical knowledge to future generations.

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ROUND UP

SAXONS DON’T WEAR SHADES Volunteers engage children in re-enactments at Battle Abbey.

DISCOVERING NEOLITHIC LIFE

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Alan Soldat & Robert Scott-Jupp take students on a journey through Stonehenge history.

llison Tanner explains that when she began volunteering at Battle Abbey as a Discovery Visit Leader, she ‘really didn’t know what to expect.’ However, she had experience to lean on. Up until recently, she took part in Tudor re-enactments, and this experience would come in handy.

Introducing Battle At Battle Abbey, volunteers take visiting children back to January 1066, with Edward the Confessor coughing, wheezing, and expressing all kinds of macabre symptoms on his throne. The introductory part of the visit concludes with a dead Saxon King, a dead Viking King, an angry Norman skulking in the background and Harold sitting precariously on his throne. ‘Yes, they are real,’ the volunteers assure visitors as they clank their swords. The children get the opportunity to safely handle the weapons and practice their battle cries. Education Leader Laura Holmwood explains: ‘The handling of replica weapons and sharing the drama (and horror) of battle in the 11th century always holds children’s attention.’ But, for her, the best part of the interpretation is ‘finding ways to make it fun, and relevant to us today.’ She says, ‘I bet you didn’t know that the experience of shopping in Ikea has relevance to the Norman invasion of 1066.’

GET IN TOUCH Please send us your theme ideas for the next edition’s Round Up.

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After safely putting aside the weapons (teachers all breathing sighs of relief ), the re-enactment of the battle begins. More shouts and bloodshed ensue as several Saxons and numerous Normans are lost. Harold’s end comes with an arrow in his eye - or does it? While William the Conqueror inspects his new crown, the volunteers discuss how the Norman invasion shaped England; its culture, its language, and people’s lives today. Same story, different visits Allison admits, ‘The flavour of this last bit really depends on whether the storyteller is a Harold fan, or whether they wave the flag for William.’ Laura says the feedback from the children is worth the occasional hoarse voice that she gets from over-enthusiastic battle cries and the mild eye-strain from squinting in the bright sunlight – ‘No shades when you’re a Saxon’. Feedback has included a Year 5 saying, ‘Today’s the best day of my life.’ Laura notes that the story of 1066 may not change but every visit is different; working with the children to bring history to life takes on a new flavour with every new group of students. ‘The best Discovery Visits are the ones where, in one hour, we change a bored-looking group of children into an enthused, energetic, loud gang of historical re-enactors. Another group of children now fans of history? Job done!’

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nglish Heritage runs three volunteerled education sessions at Stonehenge, all aimed at primary school children. Most of the classes are Year 3, as prehistory forms part of the curriculum at that stage. Schools come from as far as Plymouth and London. There are usually three or four volunteers and 20 to 30 children, along with their teachers who also participate in the activities.

Discovery visits We both regularly volunteer for the Neolithic Life Discovery Visits at Stonehenge. These two-hour sessions start by introducing the children to the concept that many things our ancestors left behind will have long since rotted away. Then there are four indoor activities, using specially developed teaching aids. These explore how Stonehenge was built, what you might find in the bottom of a Bronze age barrow, how we think people dressed in the stone and bronze ages, and how the stones might have been moved and erected. We finish by recreating the summer solstice sunrise and the winter solstice sunset on our marvellous magnetic model of Stonehenge, which the children have built. Outside, they have hands-on experience of building the wall of a Neolithic house, making rope from reeds, and grinding corn to make flour in one of our replica Neolithic houses. By the end, the children are chattering excitedly as they gather to catch their coach home. Then they are gone,


ROUND UP

KIDS TAKE OVER AT KENWOOD Education volunteer Lesley Barnes on teaching and learning from children.

Previous page Allison Tanner welcomes children to Battle Abbey Left panel Discovery visit at Battle Abbey This panel, clockwise from top Stonehenge discovery visit; Robert Scott-Jupp; Alan Soldat; antler pick teaching aid Right panel Under-fives stories at Kenwood

and everything is strangely quiet as we prepare for the next day’s sessions. Rewarding work Working with children is very rewarding. Their excitement and enthusiasm are infectious. You hope to bring an aspect of the past to light in a way that is much more powerful than in the classroom. We enjoy being part of a team with other people, working together to deliver the best experience we can. The teaching aids used in the sessions You hope can become to bring an the catalyst for aspect of the us to learn so much more past to light about Stone Age life, the Beaker people and the coming of metal to Britain. Many of us have other volunteer roles at Stonehenge, and use that knowledge when speaking to visitors of all ages. We volunteers come from a range of backgrounds, and no teaching experience is necessary. As with all the volunteers at Stonehenge, we receive excellent support from English Heritage staff, and we benefit from lectures and workshops run especially for us.

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any of us at Kenwood consider the involvement of children in heritage and history as an imperative – and a challenging one. Working with children of any age is an education in itself, requiring meticulous planning, careful research and nerves of steel. Never underestimate a 30-strong group of seven-year-olds.

by ‘sketching’, opined: ‘Well, it’s sort of scribbling – but nicely.’ How perceptive.

Team talent The talents that come to light as our team grows are extraordinary. Not everyone wants to lead Discovery Visits or tours but their contribution is extremely valuable nonetheless. The education team are friendly and supportive and come from many different backgrounds. This gives us A child’s wisdom broad first-hand experience of the We have a dedicated team of needs and capabilities of young children volunteers, supported by staff, and can often provide knowledge and providing learning and educational ideas to greatly enhance the content of facilities for under-fives through our educational projects. Then there are to teenagers, via storytelling, craft those who expand our resources with sessions, tours and Discovery their talents as musicians, costumers Visits. It’s an exhausting but hugely or actors and often a summer influx rewarding task and our volunteers of students also brings a fresh take on are at the heart of it. The team is things. Working together, expanding as Explainer, we can make the most Learning & Education It’s a hugely of the wide range of volunteer roles continue educational possibilities to engage. Our visitors rewarding provided by Kenwood, and education groups, task and our its estate and its firstwho witness these class art collection, the events happening around volunteers are Iveagh Bequest. the house realise how at the heart of it As for the future, we much pleasure there have a big wish list: is to be had. Often it’s outreach, further tours tailored to the first time many of the children young people and hopefully a leap have visited a house like ours and into technology, a central element of it is very interesting to see their modern educational methods. Perhaps reactions – some are overwhelmed, one of the most important and difficult others immensely curious or tasks is to recognise and keep up with completely unphased. We are also the changing teaching methods and constantly amazed by the pearls psychologies involved in educating young of wisdom which fall from the lips people. Are we ready for the challenges of young children: one six-yearahead? We can’t wait! ■ old, when asked what was meant english-heritage.org.uk 9


WE DID IT

RICHBOROUGH REDISCOVERED Things are happening at Richborough as volunteers help prepare for a new display, writes research volunteer Roland Cobbett

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ichborough Roman Fort, situated in East Kent, has long been one of Britain’s most iconic Roman sites. It was excavated in the 1920s and 30s by Jocelyn Plunket Bushe-Fox, a leading archaeologist of his day. He unearthed a large collection of archaeological finds during the excavations, which illustrate the life of Richborough throughout its many periods of occupation, from Iron Age and Roman settlement to Saxon and medieval times. These objects are now being repacked and recatalogued by a dedicated team of staff and

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volunteers, and the museum will be reopened with a new display. Site history The site is far from the sea today, but in Roman times Richborough guarded the eastern end of the Wantsum, the stretch of water between the Isle of Thanet and the Kentish mainland. The Wantsum formed a passage through which ships could sail, and so avoid sailing round the North Kent coast. The site has had many periods of settlement. We know there was some Iron Age

occupation, as pottery with fingertip decoration was found there. Claudian forces landed at Richborough in AD 43 to begin the Roman conquest of Britain. The settlement became a port town, the main entrance to the province of Britain during the early Roman occupation, and the start of Watling Street to Canterbury and beyond. A huge monumental arch was erected around AD 85 to commemorate the conquest of Britain. In the third century an enormous fortress was constructed as one of the Saxon Shore


WE DID IT

Volunteers Margaret Saunders and Sue

forts to defend the coast against hostile attackers. Soon after AD 410 the Roman occupation of Richborough came to an end, but in the late seventh century a Saxon church was built. This was rebuilt in Norman times, and lasted until it was dismantled in the 17th century. Century of excavation Bushe-Fox and his team of workers carried out excavations at Richborough from 1922 to 1938, and a museum was opened in 1930 to display the

many objects found at the site. Many of the finds are now kept at the English Heritage Archaeology Store at Dover Castle. As part of the present Richborough Project, a small team of staff and volunteers is busy repacking and cataloguing all the finds, ready to be redisplayed in the museum.

Butler

A great deal of work is yet to be done, but all involved have made fantastic progress. Thanks especially to all those volunteers working on the project: Pam Jones, Sue Butler, Margaret Saunders, Georgette Rapley, Jean Marsh and others. â–

PLAN YOUR VISIT Explore thousands of years of history by visiting Richborough Roman Fort. For more information visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/richborough

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NEED TO KNOW

STRATEGIC PLAN FOR THE FUTURE English Heritage has to become self-financing in four years’ time. Volunteer Suzanne Wilkinson met with Chief Executive, Kate Mavor, to discuss the increasingly important role for volunteers when government funding ceases. Kate, did you find the volunteer feedback useful when you shared your plans at the end of last year? Yes, it was a great opportunity to test out our propositions and listen to feedback from the people who have to make it happen. Since it was not possible for everyone to attend the sessions, I appreciate this opportunity to summarise the feedback to a wider audience. How can we maximise our impact? We have to focus on what differentiates our charity and I believe that is ‘Bringing History to Life.’ Conveying England’s story is relevant to everyone and it starts by engaging people in their local area, whether that relates to stone circles nearby, the field where King Harold fell, or the presence of a castle in the middle of their market town. If we fail to tell these stories and make them relevant to children, then the next generation will not see the value in preserving our historic sites. How can we attract more volunteers? By offering greater flexibility and at more locations. Recent short-term opportunities have included the poppy cascade at Carlisle Castle and explaining

the conservation work at the Iron Bridge. If you are a details person, there are half a million objects, spanning 500,000 years of history awaiting careful cataloguing at Helmsley, Wrest Park, Dover and Temple Cloud. There is also lots of scope for volunteer support at our free to enter sites, which make up two thirds of our portfolio, and smaller sites, such as Richborough Fort, which is symbolically important in telling the history of Roman Britain. What’s changing for volunteers? We’d like to involve more people in new roles such as running second hand bookshops, supervising tasting tables and firing guns. This is in addition to the already tried and trusted gardening and house steward roles. From next year all 3000 volunteers will be able to access our learning and communications app. As volunteers are now contributing one-third more hours than in 2015 their input really matters. Some are concerned that volunteers might take jobs from staff. We do hear your concerns on this and I’d like to reassure everyone that the

LOOK OUT FOR The Strategic Plan summary is included in this magazine mailing. An email has been sent separately with a link to the full plan.

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role of volunteers is about being able to deliver more against our charitable objectives and sometimes allowing paid roles to be allocated elsewhere. What more can we do to bring history to life? We’re developing more imaginative and immersive experiences. Our conservation sites have see-through panels built into the scaffolding, so that visitors can really appreciate what’s involved. Operation Clothes Moth was another novel way of connecting with the public, who provided valuable data about moths in their homes. This has given us an insight into the threat that these insects pose to our historic fabrics. What part will technology play? An immersive way of appreciating a site can involve wearing a virtual reality headset. There is nothing like ‘walking’ through the impressive St Augustine’s monastery to leave you marvelling at its size. Online videos from the Save our Cannons campaign demonstrate the complex work involved in restoring the guns, and firing displays by volunteer soldiers emphasise the significance of England as an island nation. What are you doing for youngsters? We have had such enormous success with our Heritage and Botanic Gardens


NEED TO KNOW

Training Programme that we want to create apprenticeships based on the model. Because the heritage skills we need are unique, it seems that ‘growing our own’ artisans is the best way forward. Another inspiring initiative for 11–16 year olds is our Shout Out Loud project. (see page 32). What about educational visits? We want to be the ‘best in class’ for both primary and secondary school children and to this end we are investing heavily in high quality educational material on our education website. Over 300,000 schoolchildren benefitted from mostly free visits to our sites last year. Online videos of Darwin’s experiments at Down House was another success and expert-led Discovery Visits are proving popular with interactive, hands-on involvement. It sounds as though we need to shout about our success more? Definitely, membership has increased by a third since we became a charity and more importantly so have the ratings from visitors’ experiences. A grand total of £160 million has been invested in conservation, in addition to 24 site enhancements. Look out for more great projects coming up at Walmer Castle, Osborne, Belsay Hall and Boscobel House. ■ english-heritage.org.uk 13


OUR HEROES

THE WONDER OF TREES

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How garden guide Maggie Herod charmed children with her tree tour at Wrest Park.

their home in the tree - sometimes we have been a garden guide at Wrest saw a squirrel jump lightly through the Park for as long as there have been branches. On one occasion, a boy found garden guides and last year I suggested a camouflaged toad in the leaves, and that we consider doing a tour especially there was a child who nestled close for children. That is how I came to to his mother because he wanted the devise my workshop, ‘The Wonder cricket that was walking on her arm of Trees’. to walk on his instead. I needed help and advice and our After the children had found leaves tree experts Brian, Lionel and Chris from the English Oak for leaf rubbing generously gave me all the support they were ready to be given I needed. They recommended a nearby tree to investigate. a varied and interesting group A tree gives They worked in pairs or of trees, not far from the threes and presented the mansion, and I began to plan oxygen to results of their observations my open-air workshop. There the air – we to the group. was to be a child friendly worksheet, art materials and are all part A child’s perspective a ‘Tree Detective’ certificate. of a tree These presentations were There were up to eight a delight. The detail and children on each workshop, freshness of many of their observations aged between 5 and 12. I also took were beyond praise. One example I with me parents, grandparents, babies in remember was from a boy who was pushchairs, lively toddlers fascinated by the colour changes in the and sometimes a dog or two as well. bark of his tree – the American Red I felt like the Pied Piper of Hamlyn Oak – and he and his sister had looked (but I never lost any children). into a deep fissure in the bark and found a red colour that they thought Nature’s joy might explain the brilliance of the leaves Our first tree was a 150-year-old in autumn. A four-year-old who found a English Oak and I began by asking the feather near his tree proudly deduced children to hold hands around its trunk that it was from a bird that had nested so that we could measure its girth. Then in his tree. we talked about the creatures that made

We always ended our sessions with bark rubbing, the certificate presentation, and an opportunity for each child to tell me what they love about trees. ‘A tree is like a lullaby’, said a little girl of four; an older boy said that the canopy of the tree is like the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral; and – because a tree gives oxygen into the air – I was told by another child that we are all part of a tree. I would like to thank the staff at Wrest Park who support and encourage me. Without them my workshops would not have been possible. I’m so happy to say that I will be continuing my workshops in summer 2019, and three of my fellow garden guides have volunteered to help me. ■

PLAN YOUR VISIT Discover the wonder of trees at Wrest Park. For more information visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/wrest

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Left, clockwise from top Avenue of trees at Wrest Park; the house; bark rubbing; exploring the trees.


OUR HEROES

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A D AY I N T H E L I F E

UP IN THE KEEP

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Tour Guide volunteer Mark Williams gives a view of his busy days at Totnes Castle.

or me, each day starts very early in the morning, as I am up at 4.30am working with cows. Once home, I quickly freshen up, don my English Heritage uniform and head to Totnes Castle for a full day of volunteering. I usually arrive at around 11am and start the day by having a friendly conversation with the site staff while enjoying a hot cup of tea or coffee (which is gratefully received after being up and working since the early hours of the morning).

However, if the group I’m leading is engaged and showing deep interest in the site, a tour can last up to an Mark Williams hour despite the site being fairly small. Undoubtedly the best tour I got to lead last year was when we’d had snow and the castle was veiled in a magnificent sparkling blanket. As the visitors assembled for the tour, fresh Touring Totnes snow started to softly cascade down After this, I am ready to run up and from darkening skies. The visitors loved down the stone keep’s 72 steps to the novelty of having a guided tour fulfil my role of Historic Explainer around the site and the tour itself lasted and Tour Guide. Throughout the day just under an hour. come rain or shine, I am either up Once we begin to close the castle in the keep talking to for the day, I help out by visitors, performing bringing in signs and then guided tours, or walking up to the keep to For such a helping out in the gift take down the flag and lock small site there up for the evening. After that, shop. Tasks in the gift shop include helping is always a lot I perform a quick site check price up new items and then it is time to jot going on of stock, restocking down my times for the day shelves and keeping and head off for home. the shop looking For such a small site presentable. Other shop activities there is always a lot going on; during like decorating for Halloween and the summer we had ‘Hands on History’ Christmas are great fun and allow (which I took part in) then in October us to get very creative. No two days we had Halloween themed events are ever the same and it is fantastic and spooky tours. One of the many to meet so many interesting people highlights of 2018 was putting all of from all walks of life. my research to good use by publishing Site tours are the highlight of my a book on Totnes Castle. I’ve been day and it means that I get to put volunteering for just over a year with my year’s worth of research into English Heritage now and I’m looking practice. Tours usually last between forward to more historic shenanigans 30 or 40 minutes. this year. ■

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A D AY I N T H E L I F E

BE A PART OF IT Come and help hold down the fort at Totnes Castle. Please visit: www.english-heritage.org.uk/totnes-castle

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PROJECT PROFILE

WINTER SEASON AT CRAFTY KENILWORTH

Spooky themes lead to a winter season of events with community and crafts at its heart.

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hen Di Showes, who typically oversees the volunteers at Kenilworth Castle, took the lead on her first event during Halloween week, she couldn’t have imagined the amount of glitter they would go through at the family crafts table. ‘By the third day we didn’t have any left,’ she laughs. Di realised that the table had enormous potential. Because it was interactive and manned with enthusiastic volunteers, it became an ‘extended family affair’ all week long. This included a procession of mums and dads, nans and grandads, uncles and aunts. In fact, she notes, families came at the beginning of the week and then kept coming back for more. ►

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Photograph © Fay Loewy

PROJECT PROFILE

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PROJECT PROFILE

Previous page Fireworks at Kenilworth ©Fay Loewy From top Autumn berries at the castle; Halloween crafts; Kenilworth Castle art by Di Showes.

PLAN YOUR VISIT To keep up with events happening at Kenilworth or plan your day out, visit: www.english-heritage.org.uk/kenilworth

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Beginning a tradition Carrie Warrington, 38, who had recently What started as daily planned crafts, moved to the area from South Africa, such as making vampire bats with continued volunteering in the Christmas pinecones, extended into something season because of how much she had more. Soon enough, the crafts turned to enjoyed her work with the Halloween, fireworks for Bonfire Night, with tissue Bonfire Night and Remembrance Day paper used for making flames. And the craft activities. In particular, she was people kept coming: ‘we had repeat inspired by Di’s creativity. ‘She was like customers through the week,’ says Di. Mary Poppins with all the ideas coming The volunteers remained out of her bag’ Carrie chortles, admiring as enthusiastic as ever. Di for ‘putting her heart Henry Moore, a 21-yearand soul into it…she thinks Kids of all old volunteer who helped big and makes it work’. at the table every day of Throughout the ages loved the week, was tasked with winter kids of all ages participating the daunting responsibility loved participating in the of matching the lids to the crafts, and people without in the crafts pens at the end of each day children were drawn to and could not always find the sparkly surfaces where them all, which resulted in more than a the volunteers bustled about arranging few giggle fits from the volunteer team. markers, cutting cardboard and folding Henry’s role was complicated by the tissue paper. The volunteers found gaggle of eager visitors stood around multiple sources of inspiration to keep the table. ‘On the Sunday, we often them coming back. Carrie says it was ‘fun had 30 kids at a time around the table – to have a sense of camaraderie’, adding we couldn’t get anywhere near it,’ that everyone was ‘really enthusiastic’. explains Henry. Henry explained that it was useful experience for pursuing a career in the Continuing success heritage sector. He found it exciting that The autumn crafts project was so ‘every day was a bit different’ and he successful that the Kenilworth events also decided to continue volunteering team decided to integrate crafts into throughout the Christmas season. their programme for Christmas and As the team looks ahead towards Easter. Crafting Father Christmas Easter, a new cohort of crafters, young became the next significant follow-up and old alike, will join them once again. project, and volunteers returned But this time, visitors, please remember: to help for the holiday season. go easy on the glitter. ■


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YO U R S TO R I E S

An Eventful Place

There’s never a dull moment for events volunteers at Audley End, writes Lee Doughty.

W

hen I was invited to write about my experiences as an events volunteer at Audley End House, I leapt at the chance. Perhaps, I thought, I’ll write about the joys of toasting marshmallows on a crisp winter night, or the atmospheric magic of Enchanted Audley. Or maybe the vicarious thrill of watching a group of determined Second World War Allied Forces re-enactors defy the worst wind and rain squall that an English August bank holiday could throw at them and persevere with their river assault? No, I thought, basking in glorious sunshine, stewarding the Horses Through History event is the place to start. And then it struck me: no single event sums up my experiences at Audley End – it’s the variety of those experiences which makes being a volunteer so interesting and rewarding.

furnishings and artwork and graced with a Capability Brown parkland, a walled kitchen garden opened by HRH Prince Charles, working stables, orchards and extensive lawns, Audley End also has a TV and film pedigree worthy of an Equity card.

Dedicated volunteers As an Events Volunteer I am not as familiar with the house as I would like to be, but I hope to remedy this in 2019. Fortunately, there’s a dedicated cadre of staff and volunteers with passionate and encyclopaedic knowledge of the house and its history to guide and inform the public who visit. I have a different, but equally rewarding, relationship with the house. If the permanent staff and regular volunteers are the close family of the estate, I am perhaps more like the distant cousin - visiting frequently enough to be Audley End estate familiar yet distant enough Every event is Audley End House is to be pleasantly surprised an opportunity by the changes as the site a magnificent and vast 17th-century estate, to catch up with transitions through the widely acknowledged seasons. Each event old friends and I volunteer for is set in the to be one of the finest Jacobean houses in make new ones same yet different landscape: England, set in the colours, smells and sounds Essex countryside near differ, wildlife comes and goes, and the Saffron Walden. The seat of the Barons grounds change in tone and vibrancy. Braybrooke, the estate has enjoyed a And the people change. We all volunteer rich history. During the Second World for different reasons and for me it’s the War it served as a training school for opportunity to work alongside and learn the Polish branch of the clandestine from new and interesting people. Every Special Operations Executive, an honour event is an opportunity to catch up with that forms the central theme of the old friends and make new ones. But, annual Second World War re-enactment perhaps most of all, the best thing about event that takes place each August bank being an events volunteer is that I get to holiday weekend. Stocked full of period come along for the fun stuff. 22 english-heritage.org.uk


YO U R S TO R I E S

No single event sums up my experiences at Audley End

Clockwise from main image Jousting in front of the house; Elizabeth I arriving at Audley End; World War II event: Enchanted event; Punch & Judy; Mrs Crocombe talking to a visitor.

Range of events Audley End hosts lots of events and I’ve been lucky to be involved in a range of them. Each has its own challenges, but each also brings the enormous satisfaction of helping the public to have a good time, to see the house and gardens at their best, and hopefully to have learned a thing or two. That is not to say that events are all glamour. I have stood shivering, with rain dripping down the back of my neck, untangled metres of medieval bunting and helped string line after line of safety tape in the biting cold. But that is all part of the fun, due in no small part to the warm professionalism of the events team. Their ability to make something out of nothing and create order from chaos is truly impressive. They are helpful, accommodating and receptive to all questions from volunteers like me. Watching them turn a bare lawn into a multi-display venue, often in less than 48 hours and with the public milling around, is awesome and English Heritage should be very proud. I am proud to be a small part of that effort and, come rain or shine, I will be there again this year. If, like me, you enjoy a challenge, variety, and interacting with the public having a good time - I’ll be seeing you there too. ■

PLAN YOUR VISIT All upcoming events at Audley End are listed on our website. Please visit: www.english-heritage.org.uk/audley

english-heritage.org.uk 23


WHY I LOVE

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WHY I LOVE ...

The Ranger’s Room Learning more about Lord Chesterfield and Ranger’s House with Dara Dhanowa.

I

have lived in Blackheath all my life and, as I am very interested in architectural history, I have been fascinated by Ranger’s House. It is a red-brick villa built around 1700, at the top of Croom’s Hill, facing towards Blackheath. Between 1815 and 1896 it was the official residence of the Rangers of Greenwich Park – an honorary position appointed by the monarch.

ceramics. On the ground floor there is a room that contains fashionable paintings and furniture that once filled the reception rooms at both Bath House, Sir Julius Wernher’s London town house, and Luton Hoo, his country estate.

The room When learning about the house as part of the induction process, I became interested in a small room on the ground floor called the Ranger’s Room A welcome sight which contains information, paintings When driving back from central and furniture of the past residents. London, it is always a welcoming sight There is a picture in one corner of to see the house standing proudly on the room of Lord Chesterfield (1694the heath and knowing that home is 1773) who inherited the house in 1748. nearby. I have visited the house many I was eager to learn more times over the years and about this former resident remember visiting in the It is always I discovered that he had 1970s when the Suffolk a welcoming and an interesting political career. collection was on display. He served as Ambassador I was keen to learn more sight to see to The Hague (1728-1732), about the history of the the house and as Lord Lieutenant of house and its inhabitants, Ireland (1745-6). While at so I was delighted to learn standing Blackheath he devoted himself that English Heritage was proudly on to correspondence with his looking for volunteers. friends, who included the Since 2002 Ranger’s the heath 18th-century French House has been the philosopher, Voltaire. However, home of the Wernher he is best known for his letters to Collection. This collection includes his illegitimate son and to his godson early Renaissance Italian art as well and heir, both of whom were named as decorative arts like jewellery, ivory Philip Stanhope. These letters were carvings, bronze sculptures, enamels and

written to guide these young men as diplomats, courtiers or politicians. They provide a fascinating insight into the relationship between a father and his sons in the 18th century. One set was published by his illegitimate son’s secret widow after Lord Chesterfield’s death and it became an international bestseller. I am looking forward to continuing to welcome visitors to Ranger’s House in 2019 and passing on what I have learned about the history of the house and its interesting inhabitants. ■

Main image Ranger’s House Above Dara Dhanowa Right Lord Chesterfield Below The Ranger’s Room

PLAN YOUR VISIT Visit Ranger’s House and learn more about its historical residents. Please visit: www.english-heritage.org.uk/rangers-house-the-wernher-collection

english-heritage.org.uk 25


PROJECT PROFILE

WREST PARK MILITARY HOSPITAL

AN UNTOLD STORY

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PROJECT PROFILE

Main image Wrest Park House Left Exhibition visitors Right Nurses uniform

An endeavour to connect the dots on Wrest Park’s forgotten past as a wartime hospital is explained by Debbie Radcliffe.

I

n 1905 Auberon Herbert, 9th Baron Lucas - known to all as Bron - inherited Wrest Park. He was a 20th-century Liberal politician with interests in co-operative farming, sport and ornithology. He had little regard for high society. He used the estate for shooting weekends and leased the mansion and gardens to the American ambassador, Whitelaw Reid, until the latter’s death in 1912.

Matron from March 1915, the relentless task of dealing with waves of patients, and the hospital’s abrupt closure following a fire in September 1916. In those two years, Nan estimated that 1600 soldiers were treated. In 2013, a few members of the Wrest Park Volunteer History Research Team took on the task of sorting through the hundreds of photographs which Dr Andrew Hann, Properties Historian, had taken of these scrapbooks.

Military hospital In August 1914, when England declared war on Germany, the mansion at Wrest Park stood empty. Recognition Bron had already offered the mansion to Winston The beginning of the centenary of the war in 2014 Churchill as a convalescent home, meeting all prompted interest in commemorating the hospital. expenses himself, and it became the first in the south It had not been an official Red Cross hospital, Bron to be accepted. Bron’s sister, Nan, was in charge of didn’t survive the war and Nan had sold the estate hiring nurses and general staff, procuring beds and and 2left the 3 area. We increasingly felt that those who equipment and creating a caring environment for had made Wrest a success deserved recognition. wounded servicemen. The Herberts’ only stipulations We gravitated to the mansion on Remembrance were that it should be kept out of the Day 2013, staring at the garden with papers and that the patients should be the scenes from Nan’s photographs It has been a non-commissioned troops. in our heads. These provisos and the subsequent A search of the Imperial War privilege and joy Museum history of Wrest Park have made catalogues revealed an to contribute to autograph book kept by Nurse Edith piecing together the story of the military hospital a challenge. A fire in Many of the entries were the re-telling of Taylor. 1916, two sales of the entire estate, and marked ‘Wrest hospital’ and there this story a break in de Grey family ownership were touching references to what after 800 years meant that the Wrest the soldiers had experienced, as well Park Military Hospital had been forgotten. as their surprise at ending up in such sumptuous Fortunately, Nan Herbert foresaw this in the surroundings. Similarly, names were gleaned from 1930s and created a series of scrapbooks which a few letters from soldiers, stored in the National brought together photographs, letters, diary Archive at Bedford. Gradually the names in Nan’s entries and her memories. They covered the scrapbooks became people with stories. In 2014, establishment of the convalescent hospital in 1914, English Heritage put together an exhibition which its transformation into an auxiliary hospital of 180 told the story of the hospital and it proved to beds with operating theatre and X-ray equipment be popular. ► in November 1914, Nan’s own appointment as english-heritage.org.uk 27


PROJECT PROFILE

Shaping the story Some of the team have been tracking the uses of the rooms at Wrest and identifying where photos were taken, locating the operating room, the below-stairs nurses’ dining room, the ambulance park, the billiard room and Nan’s rooms. Others have concentrated on the fire that ravaged the east wing in September 1916, prompting the decision to close the hospital and relocate the staff. From Red Cross record cards we found names of women in sewing groups who made pyjamas, hospital blues and slippers; from local newspapers we found lists of gifts the Red Cross supplemented staff. We knew how donated, collections and drivers volunteering their long they were at Wrest, addresses, ages, and where cars for transport. they came from and went afterwards. Unfortunately, Finding out about the individuals in Nan’s we had names with no photographs, and despite our scrapbooks has shaped the story. J.M. Barrie, creator best efforts it was impossible to name more than a of Peter Pan, was a friend and benefactor and he few in group photos. mentioned visits to Wrest in several letters. Wider In September 2018 these photos were coloured research into the lives of Bron and Nan themselves by Marina Amaral and historian Dan Jones. helped us to understand their contributions. The process brought the nurses to life and they Dr Sydney Beauchamp who ‘fathered Wrest’, became individuals, rather than uniforms. as Nan put it, was an eminent doctor The public’s imagination was caught and to the aristocracy and his interest in Colourisation people responded with a number of patients’ mental well-being explained brought the inquiries and offers of help. None have the efforts made to treat them as yet turned out to be relatives of a nurse individuals, not just numbers. Nan’s nurses at Wrest, but family historians have been friend, Nathalie Ridley, had trained to life and extremely helpful and we are compiling as a probationer at the London biographies of more nurses. Hopefully, Metropolitan Hospital and helped 2 they became the archive at St Bartholomew’s Nan to get training. She spent individuals, Hospital will also reap results. some time nursing at Wrest and is With the 2018 Armistice mentioned affectionately in more rather than Ceremonies over, it might be time to than one soldier’s letter. uniforms finish the project but it is still exciting The difficulty has always been when another clue is uncovered. in identifying the less famous and At the moment we are researching the entertainers less documented patients and staff. Regular trawls who visited, and finding out more about visits online have brought to light a second autograph made by patients to the Luton Palace Theatre. The book; soldiers are mentioned on War Memorials volunteer history team have given talks, mounted worldwide; letters home from troops appeared in pop-up exhibitions, contributed to the ‘Wrest at newspapers throughout the Commonwealth. As the War’ event and to the Silsoe Remembrance Day British Newspaper Archive has widened its resource Commemorations. It has been a privilege and joy of publications, patients’ names have been added to to contribute to the retelling our list. Genealogy sites are constantly expanding of this story, meet the families and the initial frustration of finding that many service for whom it means so much, papers had been destroyed in the Second World and help to achieve some War is fading as families and organisations add proper recognition for those information. The Red Cross digitising their personnel who worked hard to make cards was a huge step forwards. We now had the Wrest Park Hospital names of several women who served at Wrest a success. ■ when the increased numbers of patients meant that PLAN YOUR VISIT Wrest Park boasts centuries of history and important historic gardens. For more details, visit: www.english-heritage.org.uk/wrest

28 english-heritage.org.uk

Above Volunteers oversee the exhibition Below An original image prior to recolouring Right hand page 1. The hospital’s operating theatre. 2. Nurse Cockburn with hospital patient dressed as a nurse. 3. Nurses on the terrace in 1915. © London Metropolitan Archives/Royal Sun Alliance 4. Sister Warner taking medicines from the dispensary. Shelving is still there. 5. Volunteer nurses. Nurse Wilcox identified on right. 6. Soldiers and nurses on the terrace, 1915. 7. Nurses sitting on the terrace. 8. Soldiers and nurses on the terrace, 1915. All above images © Private collection


PROJECT PROFILE

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WHY I LOVE ...

THE STABLES at Audley End

Rider and horse fan Nina Martin takes us on a tour of the stables.

PLAN YOUR VISIT Visit the horses and experience stable life at Audley End. For more information please visit: www.english-heritage.org.uk/audley

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WHY I LOVE

Main image Children are able to get up close with the horses at Audley End Clockwise from far left The Stable Block; Milo dressed as a unicorn; Nina, right, with some of the Victorian Discovery Day team.

I

saw that Audley End was looking for educators to work with groups of schoolchildren on Victorian Discovery Days. ‘I can do that,’ I thought. I like dressing up and have taught children to ride before. I got in touch with the site and, having shown my CV to the Education Manager, I found myself on the stables team as a volunteer. Working with horses is not a 9 to 5 term-time job. It is yearround, sometimes out-of-hours work… and I love it.

The work We have five working horses at Audley End that need looking after. These include a Welsh pony, Milo, and a couple of Cobs - a mixture of breeds, normally a draft horse mixed with a sports horse to create the best of both worlds: a horse that can drive and ride. These horses do a variety of work including carriage driving, aside and astride riding, falconry and weaponry displays and have-a-go grooming - where the horses are surrounded by eager children with brushes. I work closely with the stable staff, doing jobs which include ‘poo picking’, carrying tin buckets of water, soaking hay in baths, and mucking out the three stables, which were built at the same time

as the house c.1605. I also groom and a side-saddle riding witch. and exercise the horses. You had to see it to believe it. This can mean a lovely hack out The horses bring in lots of visitors around the grounds for an hour. who leave having learnt things that We have a sand arena where they would never have expected we train the horses. This can be from visiting this beautiful general riding work, learning to Jacobean house. carry a harness and pull a cart, side saddle work, or falconry Being a volunteer training which is done with The stable staff works well with flapping umbrellas, a lure and volunteers. We all bring different sleigh bells. We ensure their work experience and knowledge of is varied but gentle so that the the horse world. There are ten horses don’t volunteers and most days get bored or there is at least one of us Feeling like anxious. The on duty. part of the approach here We do it out of love, and to new training of course the lovely smelly site is so keeps the horse contact, and it’s the enriching and best thing I have given my horses mentally interested, active worthwhile time to for a long time. and happy. Feeling like part of the fabric of the site, learning My volunteering about how horses were used in The stables team gives a display bygone days, is so enriching and at 1pm every day, and everyone worthwhile. I can get involved gets to ask questions and stroke in other events and areas of the the horses at the end. Visitors estate, and have made some seem to love them, and they’re special long-term friends. I have fascinated by how complex and learnt so many new skills that involved the work at the stables I would never have guessed I can be. would (as I am over 55, and On Halloween 2018, a bit doddery compared to we joined in the fancy dress my younger riding years). I will competition with the children and embrace picking up even more had a unicorn, a black-and-white information and experiences cow with glitter horns, a pumpkin in the future. ■ english-heritage.org.uk 31


NEED TO KNOW

SHOUT OUT LOUD

IS HERE

An update on our new and exciting youth project.

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hout Out Loud is underway. Created with young people through consultations and workshops, this youth project, supported by funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, will deliver opportunities for young people to engage with heritage. Shout Out Loud aims to give young people aged 11-21 a voice by putting them at the very heart of the project. With young people involved from the very start, the Shout Out Loud team will create opportunities and platforms for young people to have fun, creative and meaningful experiences with history.

Get involved: 11–16 year olds Young people aged 11-16 will be able to take part in a range of activities to discover and share the hidden stories of their local communities and English Heritage sites. These activities will be delivered by our team and other English Heritage staff and volunteers along with our partners: National Youth Theatre, Young Archaeologists’ Club (through the Council for British Archaeology), BBC Children’s and Sound Connections, resulting in new interpretation. This might take the

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form of performance, film, sound or an exhibition display, and will be shared with local communities and English Heritage visitors. We will be partnering with local youth projects to build on young people’s needs and interests, ensuring a greater number and diversity of young people benefit from high quality engagement with heritage outside of schools. Get involved: 16–21 year olds Young people aged 16–21 can also become part of our Young Producers group who will ensure youth voice sits at the heart of decision making throughout the project. They’ll then join up with staff from English Heritage and our Consortium partners to be part of our Ideas Factory which will shape the next year’s activity. Get involved: over 21s And if you’re over 21? There’s still a place for you in our young people’s project. From supporting delivery on our sites, to engagement with young people when they visit, or supporting delivery on larger elements of the project, there are plenty of ways you can get involved. ►


NEED TO KNOW

We’re ensuring that young people benefit from high quality engagement with heritage

Left Youth volunteers at Dover Castle Above A young reenactor at Dover Castle Right Offa’s Dyke reenactor talking to young visitors

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NEED TO KNOW

Meet the Shout Out Loud team

Angela Hobson Project Manager

Some of our volunteers may recognise Angela as she delivered the community engagement and volunteering elements of the Heritage Lottery funded Cell Block project at Richmond castle. She has a wide range of project management experience within the charity sector, working in engagement projects across the North for a number of charities as well as acting as a trustee for a regional community project. Angela said, ‘I’m so pleased to have secured this role to lead this innovative project and I’m looking forward to getting out on sites to meet more of our dedicated volunteers so we can engage them in what we’re doing.’

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Bekki Redshaw Development Manager

Bekki has spent over 30 years as a youth and community worker, in both paid and voluntary roles for charities and local authorities. Much of her career has been spent developing new projects focused on giving young people a voice in the things that affect their lives, particularly young people who face challenges and disadvantage. Bekki said, ‘I‘ve previously used my arts background to provide a wide range of ways for young people to explore and express their views on subjects that are relevant to them, including drama, animation and film. I’m excited to work with young volunteers in shaping the project and supporting English Heritage in engaging young people in all areas of its work.’

Jemima Wilson Youth Participation Officer - South

Jemima grew up surrounded by heritage on a Victorian model farm in Gloucestershire. However, she was always more interested in the history and inspiring spaces that made up this landscape than getting up to do the milking. Fresh from her MA in Arts & Society at Utrecht University, Jemima has worked (and volunteered) as a freelance producer and facilitator on creative outreach projects for arts organisations and charities in London. She will be working with young people at Stonehenge and Eltham Palace. ‘I’m looking forward to working with young people at these amazing sites. I want to share the feeling of ownership that I had growing up on a heritage site and having access to historic sites, museums and archives throughout my studies. Hopefully we’ll empower young people to become the next generation of English Heritage visitors, staff and volunteers.’ ■

GET INVOLVED If you, or someone you know aged 11–21 thinks it’s time to Shout Out Loud about history and heritage, then we’d love to hear from you. If you’d like to get involved but don’t fit the age bracket then we’re also looking for volunteers to work with young people and support the project. Whether you fancy taking a lead role as one of our young producers, or getting stuck into one of our local and on-site youth activities, please get in touch. For information on how to get involved and a full list of opportunities, visit: www.english-heritage.org. uk/support-us/volunteer/ shout-out-loud or email: youthvolunteering@ english-heritage.org.uk


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HOURS OF EDUCATION VOLUNTEERING IN DECEMBER 2018

Your vital support as volunteers helps us to inspire and conserve the incredible collection in our care and we couldn’t do it without you.

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VOLUNTEERS GAVE THEIR TIME OVER THE PAST YEAR

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