13 March 2013

Bringing it to life once again...

This time we hear from Paul, who's responsible for volunteer development on our 'patch', about what the new season means for our 'house' volunteers.

The houses re opening is a great time of year for me; I get to meet all our volunteers again, and hear their wonderful stories as they enthral our visitors.  The buzz that they create really brings the places to life, and this year being the 100th anniversary of the marriage of William & Beatrix gives us even more opportunity to do this.

a volunteer in Beatrix's Hill Top bedroom helping explain something to one of our visitors
The scene set for our visitors in previous years was ‘the house is left as if Beatrix has just popped out’, but this year is a bit different. This year the house is firmly in the year 1913 and we'd like you to imagine that Hill Top's famour owner is definitely here in the house, somewhere.

As visitors go round they will be met by clues that Beatrix and William are closeby, living a normal life and making their plans in the run up to their wedding, for example maybe Beatrix is ready to take a couple of quiet hours and do some painting. 

maybe Beatrix is ready to start a new illustration?
On our 'familiarisation' days for our volunteers (when they come in before the season starts to hear what's new for the year ahead) it was great to see the enthusiasm and excitement these changes bring to the stories they will tell….we hope you enjoy them as much as they did.

Not all our houses are open yet of course, Wray Castle is in its final two weeks before opening, and the old adage ‘many hands make like work’ is very true with such a vast site.  With a major building repair project now coming to an end at Wray Castle, this year getting ready should be even more of a challenge than last time around...a glimpse at one of Rose's photos of the current 'state of play' there confirms the probable scale of the challenge!!

yes, this is how the front door of the Castle currently looks!!
We've got the clean-up planned for next week, a great example of teamwork with staff and many of our volunteers from across the property all ‘mucking in’ to ensure everything is ready for our first visitors to the castle on Saturday the 23rd March. This year promises to be even better then previously ... but must dash, as I need to get back to hoovering!!

Paul with hoover
Fancy getting involved as a volunteer at Hill Top, the Beatrix Potter Gallery or Wray Castle?
go to our national volunteering page and follow the 'search for an opportunity' ;
or  send an e-mail to paul to find out more.

Find out more about the Wray Castle repairs project at its own dedicated project blog:
link to Rose's excellent castle repairs blog

post by Paul Kear
photos various NT sources