Heritage Projects

Heritage Volunteers

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.  The problems caused by Covid-19 are easing, existing volunteers are returning to work, and new projects are being started.


National Archive at Kew

Heritage Volunteering

2 NEW Projects

With existing projects below

New Projects -

  • National Archive at Kew - Remote - work from home 

Another country-wide and ‘Remote - work from home ´ digitising project with the National Archive at Kew.  

TAS will be working on the transcribing and noting of all details in copyright materials held in the Archive, covering paintings, drawings, advertising and packaging documents and imagery.  

These are mid nineteenth and early twentieth papers and should be fascinating to work on and as a bonus, a possible trip down memory lane.

Once we have some interested members, the Curator from the Archive will offer us a Town Hall meeting on Zoom or similar, to show exactly how we will do this and show some of the materials we would be working with.



For the moment, if anyone interested in learning more about this please contact.

 hilary.olleson@gmail.com  or  rosalie.gowlland@gmail.com

Mausolea and Monuments Trust

This is a brand-new project, needing two or more volunteers and it takes place outside. Not quite Remote, but still fairly safe to do, and a short project to complete.

The Trust was established in 1997 with the aim of listing all the memorials and mausolea in Britain. They have published a Gazetteer of all the mausolea that they can find in the country, and they would like us to check on the condition and any details of ornamentation and text etc., just to ensure that the Gazetteer remains correct in all detail.

Rosalie Gowlland is to be the ‘gateway’ for this project.

If you are interested then please contact he      rosalie.gowlland@gmail.com

Rosalie will initially send out more details, and then will help with how to find a Mausoleum

    • near enough to go to
    • what to do next
    • also check that there is no duplication of effort 

There will be a work sheet to help with this as well.    

This will be open to all our volunteers, and we think that this will possibly be of interest to anyone used to Church Record, as there is an optional element of further research that can be undertaken.

Book Conservation - Bromley House Library

Open to new Volunteers – Training provided

The number of volunteers for book conservation has reduced over the past 2 years because of the pandemic, so we are now recruiting for new members.

If you are interested, then please contact Beth Hall bethhallewh@hotmail.com

The pandemic has altered our pattern of working to ensure the safety of everyone and the books.

There is a weekly (every Thursday) book conservation group providing the book conservation service to The Bromley House Library.

We currently have 3 team leaders, and The Bromley House Library schedules a rota for all the volunteers, which is very flexible.

The groups are working their way through the library’s collection, not only dusting but also assessing and repairing when necessary.



Book Conservation -  Bromley House LibraryBook Conservation -  Bromley House Library

Every year we have a training day/s in the autumn with our extremely well-qualified and knowledgeable trainer, Caroline Bendix. This was on zoom in 2021 but hoping to be in person in 2022.

In 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 the book conservation and reminds those of us who have been doing it for some time of the finer details that we may overlook.

Textiles Project for Nottingham Museums and Galleries


Previously a group of volunteers have made and mended various children’s dressing up garments, including the Cassandra dresses at Wollaton Hall. Curtains have also been made for The Gardeners Cottage at Wollaton Hall.

The volunteers have also made garments for Christmas exhibitions at Newstead Abbey and other local exhibitions.

Tudor Kitchen costumes are to be made in the near future for guides at the Wollaton Hall kitchens. The Arts Society recently provided a £250 grant to support this project.

New Volunteers welcomed

please contact Beth Hall   bethhallewh@hotmail.com

Royal Philatelic Society of London Project





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 vivienne@jarvisfamily.me.uk  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.



Royal Philatelic Society of London Project

A volunteer can undertake as many or as few chunks as they wish.

Bromley House Archive


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.


Bromley House Archive

At present we are waiting for Bromley House Libary to restart this project which requires input from their staff.

St Mary’s in the Lacemarket

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.

St Mary’s in the LacemarketSt Mary’s in the Lacemarket

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..

0115 9414943

Childrens' Trail of St Mary and All Saints Church, Willoughby on the Wolds

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

Childrens' Trail of St Mary and All Saints Church, Willoughby on the WoldsChildrens' Trail of St Mary and All Saints Church, Willoughby on the WoldsChildrens' Trail of St Mary and All Saints Church, Willoughby on the Wolds

Anyone interested in further trails should contact Gill Murphy, East Midlands Area Trails of Discovery by email glmurphy@btinternet.com

Church Inventory Project

This is a new type of project which has been tried out in London working in small, socially distanced groups, 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.

Book Trouser Project

This is a  home working 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.

Book Trouser Project


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: -

  • Hand skills and manual dexterity
  • Ability to follow instructions and accurately using template
  • Ability to use a ruler and Stanley knife

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 rosalie.gowlland@gmail.com   giving your postal address (so that the materials can be sent to you).