Co-ordinators: Beth Hall with Hilary Olleson
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. At the moment, Covid-19 has made the situation uncertain and Beth Hall with be in contact with volunteers when new opportunities arise.
Heirtage Volunteers are exploring ways to return to the book conservation at the Bromley House Library.
Covid-19 made it impossible to continue with the majority of our projects for a long period. Volunteers are cautiously starting to return, expecially at Bromley House Archive, but it remains dificult to provide training and we are not yet ready for new volunteers.
Projects will return once it is deemed safe to do so. Further details of the existing (but dormant) projects are outlined below.
However, we would like to mention new projects, two of which may be executed from the security of one’s own home and the other socially distanced and in small groups.
These projects may appeal to some of our existing volunteers or may tempt a few new volunteers to join.
(New – Home working)
This is a project undertaken by The Arts Society Heritage Volunteers for the Parliamentary Archives (PA).
It is a greater London Area project but any Arts Society member in any society in the country may participate.
The project is related to the preparation of the Parliamentary Archives (PA) collection for a move as part of the Archive Relocation Programme (ARP) undertaken by the Parliamentary Archives.
They need approximately 16,000 Book-Trousers to be made.
Background – What is a Book Trouser?
All the unboxed volumes in the Victoria Tower require barcoding to identify them ahead of the move as part of the Archive Relocation Programme. Unfortunately, many are not able to be barcoded directly due to age, fragility, historic bindings etc. A solution has been found in Book Trousers. These are created out of high quality, conservation-grade paper which is cut into a specific shape. The Book Trousers are wrapped around all volumes to enable barcoding and clear referencing and therefore accounting of these volumes during the move and after. See the Book Trouser video on U-Tube.
Requirements – Who can do it?
Volunteers will be able, in the comfort of your own home, to cut out the Book Trousers either by sitting or standing at a table. Some additional requirements are desirable such as: -
Supplies - What do I need?
The supplies needed are provided by PA Collection Care Department and should be returned to them when the project is completed. The PA will also enclose stamps so that you can return your work – more paper will then be sent to you.
Would anyone who is interested in helping with this project please contact Rosalie Gowlland by email at firstname.lastname@example.org giving your postal address (so that the materials can be sent to you).
(Socially Distanced – small groups)
This is a new type of project which has been tried out in London and apparently seems to work very well.
It is a possible project for these times – small groups able to work physically in large and well-ventilated buildings.
Each C of E church has to keep a detailed list of the contents of the church, an Inventory, and it is up to the Incumbent or Church Warden to keep this up to date as it is inspected regularly.
What we would offer is an updating of this list, re-photographing and checking on the written descriptions of all the artefacts in the church, using the method in The Arts Loss Register. This is an internationally recognised way of photographing and giving detailed descriptions of items in a collection, and although we are starting in churches, we hope eventually to extend this to small galleries and museums or any organisation that would like an efficient and recognised way of cataloguing a collection, and in a way that works in the event of damage or loss.
As each church will already have an inventory, the project will be a question of checking and updating any changes, taking new photographs and adding to the written description if appropriate. New, clear photographs are very useful in the event of theft.
The Art Loss Register provides card with a series of measured squares in colour and shades of grey. This is placed beside any item to be photographed and provides an accurate way of determining size and colour for future identification.
On the other side are instructions about how to set about identifying and measuring the items. This will all be done on an iPad or other similar, and once completed will be uploaded into the church’s system.
If anyone feels they would like to volunteer for this project and knows of a church, which might be interested in participating, then please contact Beth Hall for further details.
Nottingham City Council owns Wollaton Hall and the Heritage Volunteers group have previously mended various children’s dressing up garments there, including the Cassandra dresses.
These dresses were originally on display in The Cassandra Room at Wollaton Hall.
A Tudor Exhibition was scheduled at Wollaton Hall this autumn, but this has not taken place for obvious reasons.
We were approached to help make costumes/accessories for this and will do so in the future, when it is rescheduled.
We will post further details on this website when we receive more information.
Meanwhile Nottingham City Council is renovating the large walled kitchen garden (adjacent to Mr Mann’s), with a view to opening this up to the general public at some point in the future.
There is an old Gardener’s Cottage attached to the kitchen garden and we have been approached to make curtains for this.
If anyone wishes to be involved in this project then please contact Beth Hall for further details.
With links to the Civil War St Mary’s and All Saints Church in Willoughby on the Wolds is The Arts Society Nottingham’s first Children’s Trail. The trail has historical artefacts for children to discover including a brass plaque in memory of Colonel Michael Stanhope (1624-1648) who was “slain in Willoughby Field” (one of the last battles of the Civil War).
The Arts Society was delighted that children from Willoughby Primary School, along with their teachers, Arts Society members, a representative of the School’s Governors, the Rector and Church Wardens took part in the launch of the trail on a Friday afternoon at the beginning of July. Many more would have been invited had it not been for Covid restrictions which had also delayed the launch from May 2020.
It was wonderful to hear the children talk about the carved animals on the monuments in the north chapel and ponder over the reason for the money box having three locks. Those with time to spare designed a Hassock or composed a poem. At the end of the afternoon the children and adults enjoyed drinks and ice creams donated by The Arts Society Nottingham and kindly distributed by Friends of Willoughby School.
The trail results from the hard work and determination of Sue Punt supported by other TASN members Sue Porter, Pru Tatham and Patrick Stevens. Valuable help also came from Gill Murphy, the East Midlands Area Trails Coordinator.
If you have friends and families visiting this summer why not explore the trail? There are copies of the questionnaire along with trail answers, explanatory notes and QR code displayed inside the church.
This September we have received a letter of thanks from the Friends of Willoughby School and drawings by two of the pupils.
More information about Trails of Discovery is contained in the pdf at the bottom of our Home page.
Trails of Discovery is working with The National Churches Trust to have the trails linked to their Explorechurches.org website.
To view a pdf click here: https://www.theartssociety-nottingham.org/documents/trails-of-discovery.pdf
Anyone interested in further trails should contact Gill Murphy, East Midlands Area Trails of Discovery by email email@example.com
Bromley House Archive
The library has an extensive archive going back to its earliest days, but it is in need of conservation and cataloguing.
There is a large common area between the book conservation project and this in terms of conservation issues and techniques.
We have two groups of volunteers who meet fortnightly on a Monday.
Again, if you feel you may be interested in this project then please contact Beth Hall. We hope to resume our sessions some time in 2021.
VOLUNTEER FROM HOME PROJECT FOR
THE ROYAL PHILATELIC SOCIETY (RPSL) LONDON
The Royal Philatelic Society has an ongoing project to make archived material that it holds available online for research purposes and would like us to help with this. The RPSL houses a vast archive, included in which are the records of the Perkins Bacon Company which was established in 1828 as a Security printer. They printed a large range of secure paper items such as bank notes and stamps, including the famous Penny Black.
This project deals with the Engraving Books, of which there are 17, each containing, typically, between 150 and 200 pages. These ledgers have been scanned so that images of each page are available. RPSL needs volunteers to read through scanned pages of these Engraving Books, pick out key words and phrases, and make a list of them. Once collated, these lists will enable these documents to be easily searched online for research purposes.
This project is open to all members and Supporter members of The Arts Society, and non-members too.
Vivienne Jarvis (Heritage Rep for The Arts Society Test Valley) will be your contact point and will provide any detailed guidance required.
Please contact Vivienne directly on firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to help with the project from the comfort of your own home.
When you contact her to join this project please include which Society you belong to so that we can be sure that you are a member.
Non-members are welcome to join in, but please write to Vivienne with your details so that she can keep a separate list.
The pages will be sent to volunteers as Word documents with an image of the page on in batches of 10, and the resulting lists of words and phrases are to be sent back electronically. The submitted results will be checked by someone at the RPSL, and in some instances corrected/enhanced.
We are seeking volunteers to look at each page, pick out keywords and type these into a Microsoft Word document. This is not a full transcription of the page, just identifying important phrases that a researcher might put into an online search engine. Thus, we are creating a finding aid for a researcher to identify pages that contain information of relevance to them.
A sample of the end-result of our endeavours can be viewed here:
Our endeavours will be made available on the web for anyone to view and should be of use to many audiences, including family tree researchers, numismatists, as well as philatelists.
A volunteer can undertake as many or as few chunks as they wish.
This project has over 35 volunteers, split into four groups. Each group meets once every four weeks thus providing a weekly book conservation service to The Bromley House Library.
The groups are working their way through the library’s collection, not only dusting but also assessing and repairing when necessary.
Every year (apart from this year!) we have a training day/s in the autumn with our extremely well-qualified and knowledgeable trainer, Caroline Bendix.
Last year(2019) Caroline was awarded The Plowden Medal from the Royal Warrant Holders’ Association. This is an esteemed prize in the conservation and heritage world and was awarded in recognition of her career in conserving libraries.
Every year Caroline introduces our new volunteers to the basics of book conservation at Bromley House and reminds those of us who having been doing it for some time of the finer details that we sometimes overlook.
It is to be hoped that 2021 will be a better year and we look forward to returning to The Bromley House Library when we can.
If you feel you may be interested in this project in the future, then please contact Beth Hall.
This project has been completed but is an example of what the Heritage Volunteers do.
There is a further group of 5 volunteers who have conserved and adapted 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 has been 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.
Beth Hall, The Arts Society Nottingham Heritage Volunteers Rep..