Heritage Volunteers

Co-ordinators: Hilary Olleson and Beth Hall

Projects

Heritage Volunteers at The Arts Society Nottingham

We have a very lively and enthusiastic Heritage Volunteers group , with over 40 volunteers involved with various projects, which help to preserve our arts heritage.

Bromley House Library (looking for interested volunteers)

Bromley House Subscription Library is our longest-standing project; members from this Society have been working there since 1992, and at the moment we have four groups who meet, in turn, once every four weeks to clean and conserve the books.

 

The Library is housed in a fascinating and beautiful building and will be celebrating its bi-centenary in 2016. The new project at Bromley House will involve conserving the archive containing loose papers and ledgers going back to the Library’s foundation nearly 200 years ago. Much of this is in brown envelopes and brown paper parcels.

There is a training day for any prospective new volunteers at Bromley House.

During this year, it is hoped to display some newly unearthed documents, some of which illustrate the social and cultural history of the City. Sadly they are bundled together with string or in yellowing envelopes. The Arts Society Nottingham is working to enable an appropriate display.

Book conservation

We had an excellent training day with our extremely well-qualified and knowledgeable trainer, Caroline Bendix, last month. She introduced our new volunteers to the basics of book conservation at Bromley House and reminded those of us who have been doing it for some time of the finer details that we sometimes overlook. There was nearly full attendance from the regular members and we had 10 potential volunteers. Of these, the five who opted for books are already placed in one of those four working groups and have started, or are about to start, working with us.

Bromley House Archive

The Library has an extensive archive going back to its earliest days but is in need of conservation and cataloguing. This has been proposed as a new venture for Heritage Volunteers for some time now but now at last we are able to start. On the book training day, the afternoon session was devoted to the archive; there is a large common area between the two projects in terms of conservation issues and techniques and many of the volunteers will in fact work in both. There are some new volunteers for this activity and as a result of the training day, we have a very good number of volunteers. This is enough to form two groups, who will meet fortnightly on a Monday. After a preliminary meeting in November, the work will start properly in mid-January.

Two pictures of the volunteers on the training day

Nottinghamshire Archive

There is also a group of volunteers working at the Nottinghamshire Archive, cleaning and re-folding Diocesan records.

St Mary’s in the Lacemarket

There is a further group of 5 volunteers conserving and adapting vestments at St Mary’s in the Lacemarket. Before starting any project, the volunteers have to have appropriate training and in this case provided by Mary Sleigh, a professional textile artist who has an interest in conserving and making church vestments. One of the projects is the restoration of a red chasuble (outer liturgical gown or vestment) made of silk and wool which was very worn in places. The volunteers added an almost invisible conservation net to the upper section and added a bound opening to allow a microphone to be clipped to the front. This will add a few years of working life to the garment.
We have recently finished the Heritage Volunteer project in the church conserving the Chasuble and making a Super Frontal (a cloth which is placed over the top of an altar and hangs down a few inches over the frontal) more useful.

This is the Altar Super Frontal that we adapted by adding ‘Alleluias’ to three of the five panels using pale brocade, outlined in gold thread, and an arabesque outlined in the same god thread on the remaining two. It was used for the first time at the Christmas Eve service
The team hopes to use the expertise gained to take on other projects.

I am hoping to add other projects to these in the near future.

Hilary Olleson,The Arts Society Nottingham and Assistant Area Volunteer Heritage Rep..