Saturday, 28 March 2015

Guest Blog

The Volunteer Experience

This week we have a guest blog from one of our heritage volunteers. Volunteers are often vital to heritage projects. They are a valuable resource and whilst they are not paid, they are part of an exchange which can involve access to otherwise private collections, specialist training, and skill development.

Below Anne Allcock talks about her first 'hands on' experience down in the cellar:

W. W. Winter's hove into sight and I had no idea what to expect apart from the information which we'd had on the training day, two months previously.  Having been made most welcome by Louisa, Angela and Jane, Angela then said "keep your coat on we're in the back room". Curiouser and curiouser...
All became clear when Jane said we'd be working on the large plates. Jane took  Barbara and myself through the warren into the back room and we started work on the plates. Coats were definitely needed but the cataloguing, cleaning and wrapping soon dispelled most of the cold.

Anne working with project archivist, Jane Middleton-Smith in the cellar

There was a lot of laughter and chat about photography (although we did make a detour to Mount Everest) and so much information was gleaned just from inspecting the plates, with Jane adding from her increasing wealth of knowledge.
Hubert joined us for a while to talk about the 'Victorian equivalent of Photoshop' i.e.hand retouching, and also about the solarisation effect on plates; so much learned in such a short time.
What an interesting and enjoyable afternoon it was.This is an amazing project and deserves all the help it can get—I'm greatly looking forward to my next visit.

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