Heritage Volunteers

The Arts Society Heritage Report for the North East for the AGM 2018

Heritage volunteers continue working with projects, often without fanfare, but to great effect giving countless hours of “free” time to various organisations. While one project nears completion another starts so these are exciting times.

Briefly : 

Cavendish - continues with book conservation in the incomparable Chatsworth House

Hambleton - The group has been asked to continue working with the North Yorkshire County Record Office on the ‘care, conservation, listing and transcription’ of unique historic records in their care. 

 Stewarding at Sion Hill Hall, Northallerton which is only open for guided tours and Arts Society stewarding is much valued and has led to an increase in visitor numbers.

Holderness - Conservation (textiles) at Burton Constable – this project is drawing to a close after over 25 years because of a lack of money for skilled trainers for The Arts Society heritage volunteers and the room currently in use is to be requisitioned for other purposes. However some volunteers will continue to steward around the House and Pat Gamble is exploring whether some heritage volunteers may do conservation talks on an ad hoc basis if the new Director of Burton Constable agrees. This is to be decided in spring 2018. 

Hull & E. Riding - Cataloguing of archive material at Hull History Centre continues and has been maintained for many years.

Leeds - Cataloguing at Leeds Library.

Sheffield and Hallamshire - Currently no projects in either but a joint project repairing church kneelers for the  Regimental Chapel at the Cathedral was suggested about three years ago when it failed to get off the ground. Negotiations are ongoing with the Cathedral to see if this can be revived as there are volunteers willing to help.

York (Day) - Book conservation at York Minster library.

York Minster NE Societies joint project

This is due to start in early 2018. Rachael Bowers, Collection Development Officer, is coordinating volunteers and a year’s worth of cataloguing around 87 “less easy to define objects” is envisaged, including the organ! There will be induction sessions in January and cataloguing will be on Thursday mornings on a fortnight rotation and Rachael is happy to be flexible on attendance and if people wish to do more hours to justify travelling a distance that will be fine. It is envisaged the project will last one year.


Sally Craig 

NE Area Heritage Volunteer Representative




Summer  2017 Update on the North East Area Heritage Volunteering Projects

Chatsworth House (Cavendish) – book conservation

I recently met heritage volunteers from the Cavendish Society.  In late June, I will be following this up with an on-site visit to learn more about their invaluable work.

North Yorkshire Records Office (Hambleton) – archive conservation

It is planned that work on the conservation of archival material will recommence in the autumn.

Sion Hill, Northallerton – (Hambleton) – stewarding continues when the Hall is open.

Burton Constable Hall (Holderness) – no new work is being undertaken.

The History Centre, Hull (Hull & East Riding) – conservation and cataloguing of archival material

In May, the History Centre kindly hosted our Area Study Day on silver in recognition of the work our volunteers have done there over many years and continue to undertake.

Leeds Library (Leeds) – the project continues.

York Minster Library (York Day) – book conservation

I visited the Minster Library conservation room in the spring and met some of the very enthusiastic heritage volunteers.  The Minster does not currently employ a professional conservator and will not be doing so for the foreseeable future – something which makes the work of our volunteers all the more important.


Lizzie Darbyshire

NE Area Heritage Volunteering Representative



Heritage Volunteering News


Capability Brown 300th Birthday National Festival 2016



More than 3,500 people are involved in hundreds of projects nationwide. They help conserve our heritage for future generations by stewarding, cataloguing, conserving books, textiles, armour and weaponry in historic houses, libraries and museums.


Heritage Volunteering the North East Area

Heritage Volunteering – Autumn 2016

Ongoing projects continue to progress well -

    Book conservation at Chatsworth House, Derbyshire (Cavendish DFAS)  

    Conservation of archive material from Norton Conyers, Ripon at Northallerton Record Office (Hambleton DFAS) 

    Stewarding at Sion Hill, Northallerton - when the house is open to the public (Hambleton DFAS) 

Conservation projects at Burton Constable Hall, East Riding (Holderness DFAS) 

    Cataloguing and computer inputting at the Historic Centre, Hull (Hull & East Riding DFAS) 

    Book and archive conservation at Leeds Library (Leeds DFAS)  


In addition to this – 

Harrogate DFAG helped clean the Dolls House collection and with the installation of the Giles Brandreth Teddy Bear Collection, both at Newby Hall, Ripon.

NYorks & SDurham DFAS, together with Hambleton DFAS, volunteers have shared training in archive conservation at the Record Office, Northallerton. 

Sheffield DFAS are hoping to start soon repairing kneelers in the Yorkshire and Lancashire Regimental Chapel, Sheffield Cathedral.

Work at York Minster Library (York DFAS) has resumed.


A review of the magnificent work undertaken by Holderness DFAS volunteers at Burton Constable over the past 23 years can be seen on this website.  A similar article is scheduled to appear in the NADFAS Review to be published later this autumn.


Lizzie Darbyshire

NE Area Heritage Volunteers Representative