LEDBURY HERITAGE CENTRE VOLUNTEERS
Although owned by the Charitable Trust Ledbury Places, the Ledbury Heritage Centre is managed on a day-to-day basis and staffed entirely by volunteers. We are a bunch of dedicated people who keep the building open and welcome our visitors for seven days a week for seven months of the year between April and October. We are all delighted to have the opportunity of ‘showing off’ and talking about our fabulous 550-year-old building.
Volunteers either work on regular shifts – weekly or fortnightly, or provide relief cover for when regular volunteers are away, unwell etc.
Some volunteers take on additional roles e.g. managing our sales stock, banking our donations and sales cash, ordering and keeping a check on our sales items, managing our website and helping with small DIY jobs.
We encourage our young visitors to do our Heritage Trail or our Lamb Quiz. These enable them to engage with our displays and learn about our building in a fun way.
For those volunteers interested in historical research there are opportunities to discover more about our buildings, our town and our residents. We have been engaged in research to find out the shops we have had in the town since the mid-19th century. We have an active oral history group who interview local people who have ‘stories to tell’ about the past. Volunteers have also carried out research into the history of the Ledbury Fire Brigade and one of our large 16th Century buildings.
The panoramic view of Ledbury’s High Street with a history of each building going back to the 1840s under the photographs has always been one of the most popular displays in the Heritage Centre. Now, thanks to the photography and design skills of one the Centre’s Volunteers, Pat Strauss, the display has been re-photographed and updated. It should be appearing in the Heritage Centre shortly.
Pat has been photographing the buildings of The Homend too, and fellow Volunteer Al Braithwaite has been researching the history of the various shops and businesses there, so we can expect another fascinating glimpse into Ledbury’s past before too long!
Engaging Younger Visitors
Following on from their very popular Lamb Quiz with its engaging drawings which has been delighting younger visitors to the Heritage Centre over the past year, Volunteers David and Jan West have devised another quiz sheet for slightly older children. The Discovery Trail features William, a Ledbury wool merchant and has questions and puzzles pitched at just the right level to engage the 7+ age group. The charming drawings have been done by David himself and local artist Gina Lincoln.
Engaging young minds is a goal of every museum, and reports from the Heritage Centre suggest that David and Jan have once again got it right, with children and their parents enjoying finding the answers to the questions posed.
- Thanks to two Ledbury Places Trustees, the Heritage Centre at the Old Grammar School has had a bit of a facelift! Alex Clive and Stuart Houghton have made and installed a new desk and shelving to house the growing range of ‘gifts from Ledbury’ that are on sale to raise money to help support this important and much-loved building. With their design skill and meticulous craftsmanship they have managed to make the new furniture look fresh and contemporary while fitting in with the old beams and ageless character of the building. Ledbury Places hopes that this will be the start of a gradual refurbishment of the Heritage Centre.
If you are looking for a gift with a local theme then do look at the range of locally designed and made gifts on sale in the Heritage Centre. As well a good range of greetings cards and postards there are also:
- Tea-towels printed with an old Ordnance Survey map of the area
- Locally made jams, jellies and chutneys from Dragon Orchard, Putley
- Fine bone chine mugs with photographs of some of the quirkier details of our town.
All the profits go to support the Heritage Centre, and help keep this beautiful and important building open so that it can be enjoyed by the people of Ledbury and visitors alike.