We have volunteers who assist with the care, conservation and recording of collections in order to preserve our local heritage.

NEW IN:  Parliamentary Archives - for detail see Documents


PARLIAMENTARY ARCHIVES December 2018 (Please also keep Penny Rutherford informed of any involvement)

We have a wonderful new project which I think will be very popular to start the Golden Jubilee year of Heritage Volunteering in 2019 Perhaps you all know that the Palace of Westminster will be undergoing a complete modernization and refurbishment in 2025. This means that both Houses and all their archives have to be moved to other premises while the work is being carried out, a full decant. They have a number of collections (twelve floors of materials) which require preservation attention and they have asked the Arts Society in the Greater London Area to help with this. Examples of the project include:-

• Ministry of Works Palace photographs require transferring to new housing

• Public bills: medium rolls of parchment that require surface cleaning and placing into Archival boxes

• Cleaning and wrapping of volumes

The work will take place in the Palace of Westminster and training will be given to all Heritage Volunteers. You will be working in small groups of three or four and there will always be an experienced person working with you. The sessions will initially take place on a Tuesday, with additional weekdays of Wednesday and Thursday added later.

Timings will be from 10.30am to 1.00pm and from 1.30pm to 4.00pm. Scheduling is very flexible and will be done electronically, (you will be shown how to do this) and you can sign up for as many sessions in the morning or the afternoon as you would like. There is a separate room for tea, coffee and biscuits as well as a kitchen space with microwave and refrigerator.

There will be an Open Day for all those interested in working on this project on Tuesday, 8th January.

One session will be in the morning from 10.30am to 1.00pm and another in the afternoon from 1.30pm to 4.00pm.

This is a Greater London Project so would you please let me know either by email ( including your telephone number) or telephone me on 01380 859186 (also leaving your telephone number) that you would like to work on this project and also to which session on the Open Day you would like to come. Spaces on the Open Day are limited so may I suggest if you are interested, you contact me as soon as possible to register for your place on the 8th January. When you contact me, I shall give you the exact address at which the Open Day will be held. 

Please note, understandably, security is paramount. When you come, please think you are going to the airport and don’t bring any knives, needles or pointed objects – it is surprising what can be found at the bottom of a handbag! Thank you,

Please go to Documents (found under Our Society)  to find details of possible Heritage Volunteering activities 

Arts Society Heritage Volunteers are involved in many different projects. There is the opportunity to learn new skills in preservation and conservation, while supporting the arts in the local community. I became involved through my bookbinder husband. We heard somehow, through a mention in a Newsletter I think, that there were volunteers who went in to libraries (for example in learned institutions or stately homes) and helped with their book conservation needs. Because of my husband’s interest he rang to find out more. He and I were greeted with great enthusiasm and somehow we were immediately booked on a day course on Book Conservation run by NADFAS House.

This was a fascinating day led by the highly experienced and knowledgeable Caroline Bendix. There was much demonstration and hands on practice for us participants. There was a lot of detail which is all included in a manual available to all volunteers when they are helping with a project, The sort of thing might be cleaning and dusting, repairing book cover corners, noting loose pages. I’m glad about the manual as the only thing I can remember now with certainty is how to mend bent corners – it’s fun. And brushing covers with a shaving brush.
We are now in the early stages of arranging to help at the Royal Society of Medicine in their Library. One thing was emphasised – we are not there to READ THE BOOKS! But I am sure we will learn much in other ways and I am looking forward to meeting our fellow conservators.