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VOLUNTEER FOCUS Together we’re making a difference

2019 ISSUE 16

Building at Beeston Exploring the Roundhouse Project

INSIDE: Our heroes | Project Profiles | A day in the life | Your stories | News and more...


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The English Heritage Trust is a charity, no. 1140351, and a company, no. 07447221, registered in England.


WELCOME

Hello and welcome to the new edition of Volunteer Focus. I would like to thank you all again for your enthusiasm and contributions. I’ve had a lot of fun reading all of your ideas. In this edition, you will find the largest PROJECT PROFILE (page 16) that we’ve ever had – a whopping five pages. The feature is all about the Roundhouse Project at Beeston Castle, so it was perfect when lots of people came forward to tell us about their experiences on the project. On page 14 you will find my DAY IN THE LIFE article. I wrote generally about my responsibilities as editor, rather than about one single day in my role. I thought it was about time that you all got a look behind the scenes to better understand the work I do to make the magazine possible.

Kayleigh Telling, Volunteer Editor On the cover: Volunteers working on the Roundhouse at Beeston Castle. 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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7 10 32 16 21

30 34

CONTENTS F E AT U R E S

7 RO U N D

UP

REGULARS

5 NEW S

Free and locally run sites

Find out what’s been happening

1 6 PRO JEC T PROF IL E The Beeston Roundhouse project 21 NEED TO KNOW

10 W E

Talking with one of our Trustees

24 YO U R

S TO RIES

A teacher’s volunteering journey

2 6 PRO JEC T PROF IL E Belsay Hall’s bookshop 32 YO U R S TO RIES Life after university

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26

DID IT!

Beneath Boscobel’s gardens

12 OU R

H E RO E S

Sensory magic at Stonehenge

14 A

DAY I N T H E L I F E

Behind the scenes

of Volunteer Focus

30 W H Y I L OVE . . . King Charles I & Kenwood 3 4 L E T ’ S G O TO. . . Dunstanburgh Castle


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

Volunteer David Snowden at work

Cleaning up the past Community hero Joan Wood

A COMMUNITY HERO

A

garden volunteer at Kenilworth Castle was recognised as a ‘community hero’ at the May 2019 joint Royal Leamington Spa Rotary Club and Kingsley School Community Awards. Joan Wood, who has volunteered for various organisations for over 30 years, was honoured for her services to the community and was featured in the Warwick Courier. We wanted to say our own congratulations to Joan, and to thank her for her continuing support and hard work. Joan, we’re lucky to have you.

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

W

e received this fabulous photo of Collections Conservator Volunteer David Snowden working hard on preparing a collection for the new Richmond museum that opened in July. In the photo he is at Helmsley Archaeological Store, steam-cleaning an architectural fragment for the exhibition. Thank you to David and to all of our conservation volunteers for making these exhibitions possible, and for all of the hard work you do to preserve artefacts for future generations.

INCOMING... WE’RE IN THE TOP 100! Congratulations to the teams at Brodsworth Hall, Down House, and Kenilworth Castle for making it into Garden News Best 100 Gardens 2019. Voted for by readers of Garden News, it is great to have three gardens make it into the top 100 this year as competition is fierce. Well done and thank you to all involved.

Get 10% OFF at English Heritage shops and cafés with your pass or quote code VLEH46 to receive the discount in our online shop. english-heritage.org.uk 5


NEWS

Mount Grace scoops award

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he winners of the Horticulture Week Custodian Awards were announced in June. The ‘Best Garden Restoration’ award went to Mount Grace Priory for the enormous 2017 project to renovate the grounds. The priory was up against some quality competition, and it’s a huge achievement for the team at Mount Grace. We’d like to offer our congratulations to all of the volunteers who put in hours of hard work to help bring the project to life.

Right The award winning gardeners at Mount Grace Priory Below Michael Klemperer, Karen Greenwood, James Taylor & Robert Copeland

RHINE VINES IN LINCOLN

A

David Williams tending to the vines

fter a year of closures and restricted access, the vineyard at the Medieval Bishops’ Palace is once again being tended by our team of volunteers. First planted in 1970, and reestablished in 2012, the vineyard is a great talking point for visitors. The continued enthusiasm for the vineyard, even during the closures, is testament to their commitment and passion for the project. The long hot summer of 2018

provided a bountiful crop that we were unable to harvest. The team are hoping that this year provides a yield to be proud of, as we approach the 50th anniversary of their donation from Lincoln’s twin town of Neustadt an der Weinstrasse. Eventually, we hope to work with a local winery to produce our own white wine. Until then, the harvested bunches of grapes will be on sale in the shop.

Meeting Lord Kenilworth

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n July, Rt Hon Lord Kenilworth (4th Baron of Kenilworth John Siddley, pictured left) visited Kenilworth Castle to celebrate the motor company Armstrong Siddley’s 100-year anniversary. He was met by Visitor Volunteer John Chambers, who used to work for the company and now volunteers at Kenilworth Castle. In the past year, John has enriched volunteers with his in-depth knowledge of the Armstrong Siddley company.

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John, right, meets Lord Kenilworth

SHARE YOUR NEWS 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 teams are? Email us with your stories at volunteer.enquiries@english-heritage.org.uk or call us on 01793 414752

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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 VLEH46 to receive the discount in our online shop. 23.2.15

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ROUND UP

SMALL AND BEAUTIFUL English Heritage keeps the story of England alive at over 400 properties across the country. Around 300 of these are free to enter sites and many are locally managed. We hear many stories from our more famous places like Stonehenge and Wrest Park so we felt it was time to shine a light on our smaller and free to enter sites. In this Round Up volunteers at two smaller sites show us that small is beautiful.

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ROUND UP

DE GREY MAUSOLEUM An unusual but rewarding place to volunteer. By Sue Soley

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he de Grey family Mausoleum is attached to the church in Flitton village, Bedfordshire. When English Heritage made the site more accessible to visitors in 2016, I volunteered to become part of the team. People may find it a bit strange that we choose to spend a sunny summer afternoon in a mausoleum but due to its many windows it is bright and airy, although it can be cold sometimes. We meet many interesting visitors and really enjoy sharing stories about the people who have memorials in the Mausoleum as it makes them more real for the visitors. It is especially rewarding when visitors who have no idea what to expect are astounded by the size, quality and beauty of the monuments. The de Grey Family Mausoleum is one of the largest of its kind in the country. It was built by the 6th Earl of Kent in 1614 and contains 17 memorials in different styles from late Gothic, Jacobean, Baroque and neoclassical to the neo-Gothic. Visitors range from those who travel considerable distances to study the monuments, to locals who have been aware of the Mausoleum but have never visited. We have met relatives of past clergy of the church and often talk to people who share details of local history of which we were unaware. We find that our visitor numbers increase considerably when there are special events in the church such as a visit from a local choir or the provision of cream teas.

We really enjoy sharing stories about the people who have memorials

Top from left Kay Peder, Diane Little & Sue Soley Above Inside the Mausoleum Right Flitton village church with De Gray Mausoleum

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ROUND UP

BUSHMEAD: SMALL BUT VERY BEAUTIFUL Glynis Yates recommends a visit.

H

aving passed the closed gates many times I had always wondered what actually lay at the end of that very long drive. Now I know what lies there is ‘Beautiful Bushmead’.

Why it’s special It has survived since 1195 but all that remains is the refectory building sitting in a lovely, peaceful setting. Although it is only open the first Saturday of the month from May to September, and by appointment, it doesn’t deter our visitors, some of whom return year on year. The building is fascinating architecturally inside and outside as many changes have taken place throughout its long history. Visitors can still see the painted wall decorations dating back to when the Augustinians were in residence before 1565. The land the priory sits in has been in the same family to this day. Our day We arrive early to open the gates and put out the car park signs. While Eva sorts out the organisational things, I whizz around with my broom and duster. We have bats and although they are never seen, they do leave their little tokens for us to remove before our visitors arrive. We don’t do a guided tour but we do set our visitors off with some introductory history and alert them to look for some of the special features. It always amazes us how long visitors stay and how interested they are with the site. At the end of the day we close up for another month and say goodbye to the bats. What a lovely place to spend a day and talk to our visitors about the fascinating history of Bushmead. ■

Many changes have taken place throughout its long history

Above Bushmead Priory in Bedfordshire Left Glynis Yates Below left Site of the Lavatarium Below Right Bushmead Priory

PLAN YOUR VISIT To search for free to enter sites in your area please visit www.english-heritage.org.uk

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WE DID IT

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Newly uncovered pebble border

The volunteer team

The crown restored

Gary uncovering the border


WE DID IT

WHAT LIES BENEATH? No stone was left unturned to expose a 19th-century secret royal message, as Gary Raine explains. to life. It soon became clear that there ’Right, I need some volunteers.’ So said was an extra job to be done if the full Andrew Degg, Gardener at Boscobel picture was to be revealed – literally, as House. He asked, and was rewarded it turned out. Around the parterre beds with eight new recruits in April 2019. was laid a red tile pathway separated by The former 17th-century hunting a border of inlaid pebbles almost totally lodge in Shropshire is famous for its covered by moss. With work, the role in hiding the future Charles II in an original vision of the Evans family oak tree after his defeat at the battle of could be restored. Worcester in 1651. Within its grounds lies ‘a pretty little kitchen garden No stone left unturned with nice hedges’, as described by its Andrew, fellow volunteer Martin Victorian owner Walter Evans in 1812. Steward and myself, armed with Under Walter’s guidance and kneeler and mini-fork, took to the task. using images from the 17th century, And what a task, this was truly a the Evans family set ‘hands on experience’ as almost about returning the If you clear it, every pebble had to be cleared parterre to the view described by Charles they will come of moss to reveal its original glory. Friendly rivalry soon after he had spent an prevailed between Martin and uncomfortable night me as to the best method to employ. in a priest hole. He spent part of the An average of five hours was needed day reading ‘in a pretty arbour in the to clear one pebble border, including Boscobel garden which grew upon a mound’. Eight go gardening This was the volunteer task set by Andrew; to bring that royal vision back

replacing the ‘rolling stones’. The children of the Evans family had an idea to commemorate their famous visitor when setting out the pebble borders. Using white stones, daughter Ellen spelled out (in Latin) ‘in this house Charles II obtained protection...and by means of help safely escaped’. Meant to be read from inside the house, it is still being revealed. The jewel in the ground From research we found that there was an omission from the original pebble plan. Ellen had incorporated a coloured crown into the design, but this had become obscured. Once found, it took five hours’ work to restore the ‘Crowning Glory’, which can now be seen as it was intended to be. We did clear it... so now you must come. ■

PLAN YOUR VISIT Wander and wonder in the gardens of Boscobel House. For more information visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/boscobel

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OUR HEROES

SENSORY MAGIC Exploring the history of Stonehenge without sight. By Robin Coles

I

started working as a volunteer at Stonehenge in April 2019, so I’m very much a ‘new boy’. The support I have received from both fellow volunteers and English Heritage staff has been amazing. Our mantra is to enhance the visitor experience at this unique site, and to enthuse our visitors with the history and wonder of Stonehenge. In short, we want our visitors to leave with a fantastic experience they will always remember and share with family and friends. I am always amazed at the variety of people who come through our doors, hailing from countries across the globe, representing all age ranges.

New challenges bring new rewards Recently I was asked by a member of staff whether I would be willing to support a couple who were partially sighted in experiencing Stonehenge. And what an incredibly rewarding experience it turned out to be. I sat with the couple on a bench and brought out our object handling collection of replica artefacts. I handed them a flint axe and an antler pick and described the tools as they held them. Their own description of what they held taught me a powerful lesson.

Sharing with a person who is visually impaired actually changes how one sees objects because you are required to think about and focus on what you are looking at and how to describe it. It really enhances the experience because, as a sighted person, you’re forced to observe things rather than just passively look at them. Their description of the objects, gleaned from the power of touch, was so all-encompassing it added a new dimension for me. Following our object handling in the gallery, I guided the couple into one of our replica Neolithic houses and sat them on a bed covered in animal skins. They handled the animal skins, pottery and basketry, and their senses went into overload with the evocative smells and textures. Leaving the house, we went to board the shuttle bus that would take them to the monument via our two large examples of a sarsen and bluestone, which they both hugged and stroked. The hour or so that I spent with them was hugely rewarding to me and I hope I managed to enhance their visit. Moments like this underline to me how fortunate I am to work at this remarkable monument and to share my passion with others. ■

Robin Coles

Their own description of what they held taught me a powerful lesson

PLAN YOUR VISIT Discover the magic at Stonehenge. For more information visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/stonehenge

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Right, clockwise from top The monument; the sensory experience; the sensory table; Neolithic Houses


OUR HEROES

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

THE MAKING OF A

MAGAZINE Editor Kayleigh Telling gives a glimpse behind the scenes of creating Volunteer Focus.

I

Call to action A new edition begins with something you may be familiar with. An email is sent to all English Heritage volunteers, asking for ideas. This is where the bulk of the magazine’s content comes from. I usually get too many ideas to fit into a single edition, which is a fantastic response. It’s hard to decide whose articles to publish – although everyone’s articles will eventually appear, I don’t like to ask people to wait. A similar call to action is sent to all site and volunteer managers. This is how I get to hear news of outstanding volunteers and upcoming projects.

idea and tell them whether their piece Planning will be in the current edition, or if I’m At this point, a projected schedule is hanging onto it for later. I ‘officially’ ask created. It’s always subject to change them to write up their articles and because it depends on people’s get them back to me by the deadline. availability, how long each stage takes, I often find that people have already and unforeseen issues. It’s helpful to written their articles, which is always have a loose structure for getting things a nice surprise. done - it keeps me disciplined and When I receive full makes setting deadlines articles, they are sent to my easier. I’m grateful to proofreading team, which My next task is to create the flat plan. have been given consists of eight volunteers, have an initial look at A flat plan is an this opportunity who each article. They correct any overview of that spelling and grammar errors edition’s content. I use to learn and suggest parts that can this to fit articles into expand my skills and be cut from the copy if the the magazine in a way article needs to be shorter. that makes sense and Their assistance is invaluable to me, has variety. I try to only feature sites and really helps me during the editing once in each edition to keep it fresh, but of course this depends on the content process. I receive. The flat plan is very simple, and When I receive the proofread it goes through several iterations before articles, I make a judgement on the the final version. changes suggested, as well as reading the articles myself and making further edits. Commission & design At this point I would like to reiterate Commissioning articles is a formality, as that you don’t have to be a professional I aim to publish all submitted articles. writer to submit an article. You can write I email all volunteers who submitted an it however you like – it’s my job to tidy

Kayleigh Telling Volunteer Editor

Felicity Day Volunteer Proof Reader

became an Assistant Editor of Volunteer Focus in October 2017, and have since become the sole Editor. This edition is my fourth. I found the opportunity after being signed off from work, and having been advised to volunteer in order to keep up a routine, but to also have flexibility. The role is perfect for me as my degree is in English Language and my goal is to work in media or publishing.

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Roz KennyBirch Volunteer Journalist

Linda Driscoll Volunteer Proof Reader

Kirsty McEwan Volunteer Proof Reader

Kelly Young Volunteer Proof Reader


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

it up and make it ‘look good’. When edits have been made and approved by authors, I can move on to the design stage. At this point, work calms down for me as it’s mostly out of my hands. I want to give a big shout out to the in-house design studio, as well as our fabulous designer Bronwen. She’s the reason the magazine looks so professional and lovely. The main responsibility I have at this stage is to approve the designs of all pages, and to make amendments where they’re needed. Generally, each edition goes through three rounds of the design and amendment process. Finally, the finished product is sent to a printing house and published. Appreciation Creating Volunteer Focus takes time and hard work, but it’s also rewarding. I’m happy that I can give volunteers a chance to share their stories. Your voices reach the ears of the whole organisation, even at the very top. I’ve heard nothing but good things about the magazine from English Heritage staff, and there’s always a rush in the office to grab a copy. For all the work I do, this magazine wouldn’t be what it is without the enthusiasm and contribution from volunteers. I couldn’t do it without you all, and I’m grateful to have been given this opportunity to learn and expand my skills. ■

GET IN TOUCH If you have an idea for an article or feedback about the magazine I’d love to hear from you at volunteer.enquiries@english-heritage.org.uk

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PROJECT PROFILE

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PROJECT PROFILE

THE

ROUNDHOUSE AT BEESTON CASTLE

At Beeston Castle, traces of post-holes were discovered. They belonged to ‘House Six’, a Bronze Age roundhouse of wattle-anddaub. A diverse group of volunteers was formed to recreate the structure.

B

eeston Castle stands on a rocky crag, towering 350ft above the Cheshire Plain. It’s an ideal spot for a medieval castle, but also, it would appear, for a Bronze Age settlement. The remains of nine dwellings have been found here. These houses, along with moulds and crucibles used for smelting, indicate that Beeston was once a major centre for metalworking. Inspired by the success of the Neolithic houses at Stonehenge, the Beeston Roundhouse Project was launched in February 2019 to recreate one of Beeston’s Bronze Age roundhouses. The 7ft-tall building will help visitors and schoolchildren to learn about life in Bronze Age Britain. Volunteers have been at the heart of the project. The 70 volunteers included a core team of builders, explainers, demonstrators, researchers, photographers and educators, and Luke Winter, an experimental archaeologist, trained volunteers to use traditional Bronze Age tools. Thanks to our volunteers, the project was completed in October 2019. We’ve received lots of accounts of people’s experiences – you can read some of them here to find out more about the story of Beeston’s new roundhouse. ►

PLAN YOUR VISIT The roundhouse at Beeston.

See the roundhouse for yourself at Beeston Castle. For details visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/beeston

Photograph © Nigel Baines

english-heritage.org.uk 17


PROJECT PROFILE

1

2

4

3

OBSERVATIONS OF A FIRST-TIME VOLUNTEER Dr Gordon Ibbotson gives us his personal experience of recreating a Bronze Age Roundhouse.

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alfway up Beeston hill, the amphitheatre of the disused Victorian quarry, with its sandstone rock faces, bracken-covered banks and surrounding woodland, provides an awe-inspiring setting for the roundhouse. We finally arrived on site on 4th February, clad in our safety boots, high-vis English Heritage tabards and safety goggles. We had survived the rigorous vetting process and the anxiety of maybe not making the core team. We had suffered the frustrations of delayed planning permission, endured the reshuffling of timetables, and completed our Health and Safety training. We were raring to go.

Why volunteer? For me, the opportunity to join the roundhouse builders was too good 18 english-heritage.org.uk

to miss – let loose in the woods with an axe and a pile of logs – bliss! For others it was their interest in Bronze Age history, skills with Bronze Age tools, experience of smaller wooden constructions, the attraction of team working after a solo career, applying engineering expertise to a more primitive build, or simply leaving a physical legacy for grandchildren. Becoming a skilled volunteer So many new skills - use of axes, adzes and other sharps, bark-stripping logs, manhandling heavy timbers and making tools from virgin lumps of wood. On the build itself we had to master mortise and tenon jointing on massive posts and wall beams, square lashing of roof timbers, reed thatching and weaving hazel wattles. We have been

privileged to try out Bronze Age tools in comparison with their steel equivalents.

Let loose in the woods with an axe and a pile of logs – bliss! Leadership Our project archaeologist, Luke Winter, is a knowledgeable and inspirational, but non-directive leader. We listened with incredulity when he gave us a tiny-bladed ‘spud’ and told us to strip the bark off an oak tree, when he proposed to split an oak tree with wooden wedges and mallets, and when he stretched a line high above the quarry floor to indicate the finished height of the roundhouse. But, on all


PROJECT PROFILE

counts, he was right. He has encouraged volunteer initiatives, such as the inclusion of windows, design of a gateway and the addition of a small eaves annexe. Weather problems After sunshine in February we had some days of cold, continuous rain in March and June. Rain hampered the seating of the big central posts, loosened the sisal roof lashings and made thatching a misery. In March strong winds delayed the lifting of the main upright posts.

of post holes and lashings were solved by concerted team efforts. On tasks that required three or four volunteers working together, such as lifting the heavy wall plates, lashing the roof timbers, or thatching, we invariably evolved the most effective and satisfying team-working method over a few hours.

Motivation Our mutual respect and trust acknowledges the wide range of abilities and skills in the team, despite our quite At the end of each different personalities. Team spirit week we stand back, We share complete devotion to our project, What the lost in admiration of an appetite for hard volunteers probably value above all this amazing structure work, determination to finish each task and else is the fantastic a willingness to ask for help and give it. team spirit, camaraderie and friendship, Finally, there is the satisfaction of seeing evidenced by continuous joking and the emergence of this massive building banter. The bonding started as we – which we all built. At the end of each carried out menial, repetitive tasks like week we stand at the edge of the quarry, bark-stripping, and was encouraged reviewing the week’s progress, lost in by the co-ordination required for safe, admiration of this amazing structure. heavy lifting. The two major problems

5

1. The structure 2. Team leader Luke Winter 3. Team spirit from left to right - John Huntbach, John Proudlove, Celia Wallis, Martin Pickering, Becky Nichols, John Ball 4. Work continues despite the weather. 5. The team Top row - Martin Robinson, Iain McNeil, John Proudlove, David Hardy; Second row - Martin Pickering, Richard Densham, Nigel Baines, Caroline Gregson; Third row - Gordon Ibbotson, Dave Trevor, John Huntbach; Bottom right -Leo Gage; Bottom left Morna Humphrey 6. Gordon Ibbotson

6

BEESTON IN MY LIFE How and why I became an Explainer at Beeston Castle. By Jackie Hare

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was born and lived for the first ten years of my life within a few miles of the castle atop its distinctive sandstone crag rising from the Cheshire Plain. After moving away and spending the next 50-plus years elsewhere, I came to think of Beeston as a place to which I would like to return. Two years ago, this move was achieved and when I saw the request for volunteers to become involved in the Roundhouse Project, I didn’t need to think twice. I was not able to physically undertake building work and at first wondered what I could do. I needn’t have worried as, besides the talented building team, English Heritage also needed ‘Explainers’ - people who could talk to members of the public and help to inspire all ages with the continuing Beeston story. Coupled with this we have acquired various skills ranging from grinding corn through to willow weaving, fire making and cooking. All of these experiences have been gained through English Heritage training days. These skills can be passed on to members of the public and other volunteers. The roundhouse is the centre of our current project, but visitors are also fascinated by the long history of the site - the early Bronze Age, the castle itself in its important strategic position, and the ravages of the Civil War and beyond. My weekends are now built around regular sessions at the roundhouse site and beyond, hoping to inspire people to view Beeston with the same interest and affection that I feel.

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PROJECT PROFILE

A CALL TO ARMS From volunteer to staff member, Rebecca Smith tells of her love of Beeston Castle.

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n October 2018 an article caught my eye, a chance to build a Bronze Age roundhouse at a site I had lived near for five years and never been to. It was not just this which drew me in, it was the way the article sang to me across the internet – ‘you don’t know what you have been missing.’ So I made an enquiry and awaited a response. The reply came back and a get together was set up for all who had shown an interest, so I excitedly anticipated the first meeting. We met in a village hall and bustled for seats, eagerly awaiting the start of the presentation awaiting us. The lady introduced herself and began...

Assembly of a team The presentation left me giddy, wanting to run and get started that very second. Her passion and knowledge was captivating and spread like an epidemic around the room - the presentation was better than a blockbuster movie. Who was this Bard of Beeston who had

Becoming staff Earlier this year a position came up at Beeston for a property steward and I applied. As my partner had said, ‘You are there all the time anyway.’ After an interview process and a nailbiting wait, I got a reply and learned Volunteering that I was successful. The team was brought together and the Since the end of May I have been plan of action was put forward to us. part of the magic of Beeston. I have My first experience of Beeston Castle enjoyed the castle all to myself was breathtaking. as I wander up to unlock the A hidden gem My first experience castle in the mornings, feeling hiding atop a of Beeston Castle like I am in my own little crag that can world. No matter what the only be seen was breathtaking weather, the views change and experienced every day. The smell of the once you climb woodlands is addictive - you draw the magical path that winds up towards deeper breaths to savour the scent of it. Just like a Disney film, the animals history around you. bounced, hopped and scurried I would advise anyone to volunteer, past as we began the ‘Building the you don’t know what you are missing Dream’ project. go for it! I couldn’t get enough - every Would I encourage applying to work opportunity I had was spent being part for English Heritage? I can’t imagine why of the magical world hidden behind the everyone doesn’t already. It’s brilliant. ■ castle walls. written a poem that Churchill himself would be proud of? Everyone jostled to get on the list of volunteers. All that was left now was to wait for planning permission and a start date.

Rebecca Smith

The roundhouse under construction

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The fixings


NEED TO KNOW

A TRUSTEE’S POINT OF VIEW

Sarah Staniforth CBE is one of 12 trustees on the English Heritage board. She has over 15 years of senior executive experience in conservation and heritage management. Here she provides a fascinating insight into the role of a trustee and the importance of volunteering to the success of the charity. Suzanne Wilkinson finds out what drives her english-heritage.org.uk 21


NEED TO KNOW

What made you want to volunteer for English Heritage? I retired from the National Trust whilst I was still young and energetic enough to help other conservation organisations that I’d always admired. The opportunity to give back is what motivates me. Do you foresee a problem when government funding ceases? I see an opportunity which will enable us to enjoy a new freedom, raising funds and spending income, where and when the charity sees fit. This is crucial, because it is only with long term strategic planning that sustainable conservation will work. This independent, more flexible approach is at odds with government funding, which is based on shorter term planning. We’re thinking laterally and enticing new donors in. Luke Purser, Development Director, and his team were very successful, raising over £40,000 in English Heritage’s first ever crowd-funding campaign to conserve the Iron Bridge. English Heritage legacies are tiny in comparison with those of the National Trust, but that’s another area that is

22 english-heritage.org.uk

changing. When an organisation is funded from the public purse, donations from elsewhere are less forthcoming. Any key objectives that you feel passionate about? Sustainable conservation. By that, I mean spending annually, as economically as possible, on conservation projects where the money will bring our properties into a condition, which we can effectively maintain. Simple maintenance is key to sustainability, even something as modest as clearing vegetation and leaves from gutters prevents further deterioration. How is conservation changing? Electronic environmental monitoring has transformed conservation of our collections. It ensures that the temperature and humidity are appropriate for the objects and it allows staff to wirelessly monitor data and adjust conditions. Other innovative advances include acoustic listening devices (for insect activity and wood cracking) and LED lighting, which uses less energy and contains no heat and ultraviolet radiation. One of my favourite ideas, just for its sheer simplicity, is the use of heat mats under the carpets at

Apsley House as they don’t intrude on the historic appearance of the rooms. What project makes you most proud to volunteer for English Heritage? The recent attributions of paintings while our conservators were cleaning them. Using similar research to BBC one’s Fake or Fortune?, we discovered, hidden under centuries of varnish, Titian’s signature

The opportunity to give back is what motivates me on a painting known as Titian’s Mistress at Apsley House and the Madonna of the Pomegranate at Rangers House, was confirmed to have been painted by Sandro Botticelli. Which project has excited you most recently? Walking across the high-level footbridge connecting the two halves of Tintagel Castle. It only opened in August and it mirrors the original land bridge that once connected the mainland to the island. It’s a real feat of engineering that provides much better access to the legendary ruins and dramatic sea views.


NEED TO KNOW

What would you like to say to the volunteers? It’s a transition time for us, and we would like to increase the number of volunteers at English Heritage. New opportunities include replanting the 30-acre gardens at Belsay Hall, and re-organizing stored museum items at Corbridge Roman Town. Amber Xavier-Rowe, Head of Collections Conservation, did a wonderful job of involving the public in conservation research with Operation Clothes Moth. I feel that conservation volunteering has more potential and I’d like to see more people involved. When I was in paid employment, I often found that staff I hired had worked as volunteers. It’s a great opportunity for students to enhance their CVs and demonstrate their enthusiasm. How does English Heritage compare with other voluntary positions you hold? The senior team at English Heritage takes conservation seriously, so I feel very positive and involved as English Heritage capitalises on my experience. With some organisations, where I am a

trustee, I don’t feel I can give as much because I am not as involved.

WHO IS SARAH STANIFORTH CBE?

What challenges have you found? Being on the senior management team of several organisations has given me an overview and an appreciation of balancing all aspects of the charity. I had concerns, unfounded as it happens, that there might be a resistance in English Heritage to commercial activities, but there is a well-balanced approach to new ideas. Another concern I had was that volunteers would take paid jobs from members of staff, but actually, the roles are complementary, not competitive.

Sarah holds numerous voluntary positions, recently becoming a Trustee of the Science Museum Group and Professor in Practice at Durham University. She is also a Trustee of the Landmark Trust and the Pilgrim Trust, and a Member of the Westminster Abbey Fabric Commission. She has worked in a number of roles at the National Trust and at the National Gallery. Sarah has a BA Hons in Chemistry and a Diploma in Easel Paintings Conservation from the Courtauld Institute of Art, combining her love of science and art. She has written and lectured extensively on preventive conservation in museums and historic houses.

How much time does volunteering take up? English Heritage takes up to one day a week and coupled with my other commitments, volunteering is a full time job. I love it and I intend to carry on until I drop. The Staniforths are a long-lived family - mum still lives independently at the age of 92. ■

Above Sarah standing on the newly constructed bridge at Tintagel Castle.

BEING A TRUSTEE – WHAT’S INVOLVED? The English Heritage Trust is governed by a board of 12 voluntary Trustees with a wealth of experience and expertise. They’re appointed for a maximum of two fouryear terms and attend four board meetings a year, as well as additional committee work. The Board is responsible for ensuring that the Trust carries out its charitable objectives, remains solvent and complies with legal and governance requirements. Please see our website for more information at www.english-heritage.org.uk/about-us/ our-people/our-trustees

english-heritage.org.uk 23


YO U R S TO R I E S

I was really lucky to be able to join such a committed and positive team 24

english-heritage.org.uk


YO U R S TO R I E S

My Volunteer Journey Graham Mustin tells us about medieval history the modern way.

M

y road to becoming an English Heritage Education volunteer began when I decided to retire from teaching at a tertiary college in Barnsley. I had taught History and did not want my experience and knowledge to go to waste. I was a long standing member of English Heritage and went on the website to look for volunteering opportunities in my area and, as I have an MA in Medieval History, I was keen to find a medieval site if possible.

Education visits I only found one such site advertising for volunteers in commutable distance, which was Conisbrough Castle near Doncaster. What I didn’t know was that the castle had a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, partly to develop educational provision, and therefore had one of the best ranges of educational visits in the country. At Conisbrough we offer visits for Key Stages 1, 2, 3 and 4, either in the education centre (Meet the Medievals) or in the castle itself (Tales from the Keep). At Key Stage 1 the focus is on storytelling, dressing up and being ‘history detectives’, with lots of sensory involvements and an unsurprising emphasis on discussing medieval toilet facilities.

At the higher levels there is more use of replica artefacts to encourage pupils to consider the roles of different medieval workers in the castle. All of them successfully engage young people and have consistently received high satisfaction ratings from teachers. These visits have been developed over time with the input of the staff and I was really lucky to be able to join such a committed and positive team. Most of the schools that come to visit us are primary schools, mainly at the younger end of the age range, and this has provided a very different experience to what I was used to. All of my previous teaching experience had been with students of at least 16 and the contrast with working with 6 year olds was marked. It took me some time to get used to the enthusiastic eagerness of the little ones, very different to the teens I had been used to, as well as the fact that putting their hands up did not mean that they knew the answer to a question.

A strong team Luckily I had the support of the existing volunteers and the excellent staff, many of whom are ex-teachers. Over time I became confident with the full range of experiences we offer and definitely feel a valued member of the team. It’s great to be able to use and build on my knowledge and remain involved in education. Being an Education Volunteer is one of the best decisions I have ever made and I would urge anyone thinking about getting involved to take the plunge. If your experience is anything like mine, you won’t regret it. ■

BE A PART OF IT If you’d like to get involved at this or any other site, please get in touch at volunteer.enquiries@english-heritage.org.uk or call us on 01793 414752

Graham Mustin in action

english-heritage.org.uk 25


PROJECT PROFILE

26

english-heritage.org.uk


PROJECT PROFILE

A GREAT WASH DAY READ Visiting the laundry back in the early 1800’s wouldn’t normally involve reading a book, says Julia Hartley.

english-heritage.org.uk 27


PROJECT PROFILE

W

hen Sir Charles Monck moved into Scrubbed up well his newly designed mansion house A small team of volunteers were tasked with at Belsay Hall in 1817, we doubt his transforming the former laundry rooms, creating a laundry maids, working in the stable block laundry unique space for book lovers to enjoy during their rooms, would have had the time to sit down with visit. Calls for book donations were made to fill the a good book. many bookcases; comfortable chairs and tables were Mother and daughter Jane and Dinah Warwick brought in, and finishing touches made to design worked as laundry maids at Belsay a relaxing environment. Word soon after the First World War. It’s hard to spread and, thanks to the generosity Belsay Hall imagine what life must have been like of the public and staff, books flew in wanted to offer and the shop was up and running in working such long hours. In fact, the only thing now in common with the July 2018. their visitors conditions back then is the sweltering The bookshop continues to be a heat of the summer of 2018, when the something a surprise find for visitors, who describe space was converted into a secondit as ‘a hidden gem’, often before bit different hand bookshop. It was an idea brought leaving some time later with new to life by Jo Elcoat, former Operations reading material tucked under their Manager at Belsay Hall. Lots of places 2these days arms. The range of books is growing with large have the odd bookcase with second-hand books selections across different genres and subjects for for sale, but Belsay Hall wanted to offer their the whole family, as well as diversifying into DVDs, visitors something a bit different. CDs and jigsaws. It’s doing very well too - the

PLAN YOUR VISIT Come and have a browse in the Belsay Hall bookshop. For more information visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/belsay

28 english-heritage.org.uk

Previous page The stable block at Belsay Hall, where the old laundry has been transformed into a second-hand bookshop. This page, clockwise from top Inside the bookshop; the copper tub in the old laundry room is now a feature of the bookshop; outside the bookshop; volunteer Julia Hartley busy sorting the bookcases.


PROJECT PROFILE

honesty box system, with an informal pricing structure, has raised around £7,000 in less than a year since opening. Book keeping Today, two volunteers, myself and Allan Robson, help run the bookshop. We are kept busy by the steady flow of donated books which come in each week, and with all the tasks needed to run the shop. All the books need sorting, classifying and putting into stock. Displays and information cards designed to showcase particular authors help create the look and feel of a high street bookshop. There’s even a display feature made of the big old copper tub that sits discreetly, yet full of history, on the back wall - the only visible remaining link to what this room was used for. And then

there’s the tidying up, lots of it, to keep the space presentable for visitors. Bringing in volunteers to help in the bookshop, as well as developing the volunteer program generally at Belsay Hall, has been led by Melanie Hills, Volunteer Development Manager. She says ‘The volunteers have made

Visitors describe it as a hidden gem the bookshop a great addition to the visitor offer at Belsay. It’s only small, but has been a big hit with visitors as there is so much choice and variety of books on offer. Having it run by volunteers is an even bigger bonus.’

Turning the pages for success I am relatively new to volunteering with English Heritage, but I had a previous career in marketing, and I love helping out in the bookshop. I want more people to know about what a great place this is. I have already proposed several marketing ideas which are being worked through the central teams. Driving awareness and widening the reach of the bookshop across the region are top of my list in order to bring in more visitors. The future looks bright for the book lovers who visit the second-hand bookshop at Belsay Hall. It may no longer be the place to do your laundry but it sure provides a great read. ■

english-heritage.org.uk 29


WHY I LOVE ...

CHARLES I and Kenwood

Matilda Kentridge tells us about the history of the artwork at Kenwood, and its links to Charles I.

PLAN YOUR VISIT Why not go to Kenwood to see these artworks on display. For details visit: www.english-heritage.org.uk/kenwood

30

english-heritage.org.uk


WHY I LOVE ...

Main image Kenwood Far left Van Dyck’s painting of King Charles I c.1632 Left Princess Henrietta of Lorraine attended by a Page, 1634 Below The Three Eldest Children of Charles I, c.1635

O

ne of the great pleasures of being a Volunteer Explainer at Kenwood is learning about its architecture, history and extraordinary art collections. This is not merely a perk of the job, it is a fundamental requirement, since interacting with the public and discussing the history of the house and the artwork it contains is a key part of the role. Kenwood’s volunteers share a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm for the house and are veritable amateur art historians.

The art of the house Kenwood is home to the Iveagh Bequest, which Edward Cecil Guinness, 1st Earl of Iveagh, and head of the family’s brewing business, bequeathed to the nation along with the house in 1927. The Iveagh Bequest boasts a Rembrandt self-portrait, one of only 34 known paintings by Vermeer and an outstanding collection of British paintings including masterpieces by Gainsborough, Reynolds and Turner. Kenwood is also home to the Suffolk Collection, a unique selection of family portraits, royal portraits and old masters that belonged to the Earls of Suffolk

and Berkshire dating back to the Banqueting House in January late 16th century. 1649, this portrait was sold Lord Iveagh actively collected that October for £30, at the art for over 20 years, primarily Commonwealth Sale at from Agnew’s Gallery in Bond Somerset House. Street. The Suffolk Collection Thomas Howard, the son of which was gifted to the nation the first Earl of Suffolk, was a in 1974 - was acquired by the central figure in Charles I’s court family over and that of his son and several centuries. Volunteers future king, Charles Despite their II. Not surprisingly, the share a wealth Suffolk collection boasts very different provenance, several portraits of the of knowledge several paintings Royal Stuarts including and enthusiasm the full-length Portrait from these collections share of Charles I, which is a a fascinating connection to King contemporary copy of an original Charles I, one of Britain’s most by Anthony van Dyck. There is controversial monarchs. a tender portrait of The Three Children of King Charles I by the Charles I studio of Van Dyck. This half-size The Iveagh Bequest boasts two copy of the original which hangs portraits by the Flemish artist in Turin, features two future kings, Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641); Prince Charles, later Charles II, the Principal Painter in Ordinary and Prince James, later James II, to Charles I. Above the fireplace as well as Princess Mary. in the Dining Room hangs van What I love about Kenwood Dyck’s Princess Henrietta of is the extraordinary breadth Lorraine Attended by a Page (1634). of history and artwork that it This portrait was brought to houses and the fascinating stories Whitehall Palace from Brussels that they reveal. The connection by Endymion Porter, a faithful to King Charles I is just one of and long-serving servant to a myriad of stories that can be Charles I. Following the regicide found at Kenwood.■ by beheading of Charles I at the english-heritage.org.uk 31


YO U R S TO R I E S

Life after university Volunteering helped me begin my career in the Arts & Cultural Sector. Sarah Mather explains why she volunteers.

I

’m Sarah, I’m 24, and I’m a volunteer at Eltham Palace in South East London. In 2016 I graduated with a degree in Architecture and was lucky enough to get a job in the industry relatively quickly. But just a little over a year later I was made redundant without any warning. I felt incredibly lost during that time; with my anxiety growing, I needed routine and structure. Discovering English Heritage I thought a lot about what I wanted to do with my future, and I began to realise that I wanted to take a different path from architecture and instead go into the cultural heritage and arts sector. I didn’t have any experience in that field and came to realise that the best idea was to volunteer to gain experience. That’s when I found English Heritage. Still living in London, I looked for English Heritage sites nearby and found Eltham Palace. The more I researched the history and architectural heritage of the palace, the more I fell in love with it. It has a magnificent history. King Henry

VIII spent a lot of his childhood here, Gaining confidence and experience and although it declined after the Civil While volunteering at Eltham Palace War, it was redeveloped into an ultraI was sending job applications out to modern 1930s residence by Stephen arts and cultural organisations across and Virginia Courtauld. London. I really believe that I signed up to be volunteering with English The experience a Visitor Experience Heritage was a positive I was gaining Volunteer and in addition to my CV. With the November 2017 started experience I was gaining, and and my growing my volunteering journey my growing confidence, confidence with English Heritage. I started to get interviews. I was nervous at first but In May 2018, I achieved my helped me to I soon got the hang of goal and started a job in get interviews things. If it was ever quiet the cultural arts sector. in the house I would go Volunteering at Eltham through the multimedia guide so I could Palace has helped me learn more learn everything about the site. about the area’s history and enabled me to give back to the community. Making friends Volunteering gave me so much I also began to make friends with other purpose, routine and confidence, volunteers who were mostly double or and has really helped me feel more triple my age, and it was great talking engaged with the community to new people I wouldn’t have met I live in. ■ otherwise. All the volunteers made me feel so welcome and are so friendly, it’s one of the things I love most about volunteering. Talking to volunteers and the public helped ease my anxiety and grow my confidence.

BE A PART OF IT To find out more about volunteering at any site, please get in touch at volunteer.enquiries@english-heritage.org.uk or call us on 01793 414752

32 english-heritage.org.uk

Eltham Palace


YO U R S TO R I E S

The entrance hall at Eltham Palace

english-heritage.org.uk 33


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34 english-heritage.org.uk

Pateley Bridge

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WHERE WILL YOU STAY THIS WINTER? Stay in the places where history happened www.english-heritage.org.uk/holidaycottages

10% OFF YOUR BOOKING*

ENTER YOUR VOLUNTEER DISCOUNT CODE

EHVOL19

*Valid for stays as of the 1st October 2019 until 31st March 2020. Cannot be combined with any other offer. The English Heritage Trust is a charity, no. 1140351, and a company, no. 07447221, registered in England.


329

VOLUNTEERS HAVE JOINED US THIS YEAR SO FAR

197,705 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.

HOURS VOLUNTEERED FROM JANUARY TO AUGUST THIS YEAR

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THANK YOU

VOLUNTEERS GIVING THEIR TIME THIS YEAR

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The English Heritage Trust is a charity, no. 1140351, and a company, no. 07447221, registered in England.

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Profile for English Heritage Volunteering

Volunteer Focus Magazine Issue 16  

Magazine for English Heritage volunteers

Volunteer Focus Magazine Issue 16  

Magazine for English Heritage volunteers