Heritage Volunteers

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. 


1. ARUNDEL CASTLE:  Volunteers from Walberton and Arun continue to work at Arundel Castle. The archives at the Castle form one of the largest private collections in the country.  The documents are from the 12th century to the early 20th century.  Those kept at the Castle include all family papers and the southern estate papers from Norfolk, Suffolk, Surrey, Sussex and London.  Valuable conservation and cataloguing work by NADFAS volunteers will continue with the cleaning and packaging of documents, plans and seal, while the winter months are seeing the cleaning of the books in the extensive Castle library.

2. ARUNDEL MUSEUM:  NADFAS volunteers from Walberton and Arun meet and greet visitors to the Museum, answering their questions on exhibits and Arundel’s history.

3.  BATEMANS,  Burwash -  Heritage Volunteers from Ashdown Forest DFAS, Uckfield & Lewes DFAS and Wealden  DFAS continue sourcing, setting up, cataloguing and conserving books in the specialist Kipling bookshop (2nd hand) as well as serving the public. The project has evolved to encompass conservation of the Kipling Library at Bateman’s with  HVs having been trained by Caroline Bendix.  

4. BORDE HILL HOUSE , Haywards Heath – Heritage Volunteers from Mid-Sussex DFAS volunteer as house guides. (Awaiting update)

5. BRIGHTON ROYAL PAVILION –Heritage Volunteers  from Brighton & Hove DFAS have been volunteering here for over 28 years – cleaning the silver gilt collection of tableware on display in the Banqueting Room and the Table Deckers’ Room in the Pavilion and continue working under Hannah, the Pavilion’s Deputy Conservator.  

6. CHARLESTON FARMHOUSE, Firle  Heritage Volunteers from Eastbourne DFAS are acting as  room stewards but it is closed for the winter at the moment.

7. CHICHESTER FESTIVAL THEATRE –   Heritage Volunteers from Lavant Valley DFAS , having had a short break, have now resumed their archiving work of the Theatre’s press cuttings.

8.  THE PRIEST HOUSE , West Hoathly (new project) Heritage Volunteers from Mid-Sussex DFAS volunteer as  stewards. (Awaiting update)

9. ST MARY’S HOUSE, Bramber – Heritage Volunteers from Storrington DFAS and Adur Valley DFAS are room stewards and guides for coach trip group visits. Helping in the coffee shop, souvenir shop or kiosk.  Help is also provided at the recitals, concerts, open air theatre events, etc.

10.  ST MARY’S VICTORIAN GARDEN , Bramber – This project has been cancelled.

11.  STANDEN, East Grinstead – Heritage Volunteers from East Grinstead DFAS, Turners Hill DFAS and Ashdown Forest DFAS  are acting as room stewards and tour guides. The HVR for this property has retired and has not been replaced. I am due to meet the new Volunteering Organiser in late January or early February to discuss the present NADFAS volunteering situation.

12.  WEALD & DOWNLAND OPEN AIR MUSEUM Singleton –16 Heritage Volunteers from West Sussex DFAS, Midhust DFAS, City of Chichester DFAS and South Downs DFAS are stewarding and interpreting the historic clothing project in a new venue – Lower Crawley Hall in the Central Market Square.  More volunteers may be needed this year.

13. WEST DEAN COLLEGE/Edward James Foundation – Heritage Volunteers  from Chichester DFAS, City of Chichester DFAS, Lavant Valley DFAS and Midhurst DFAS do conservation cleaning and house stewarding. A second project by City of Chichester DFAS is making new curtains and relining existing curtains. The 2 NADFAS contracts with West Dean come up for renewal this February. Words from the HVR for this project: “It is an amazing experience to be able to work with such an interesting collection.” 

14. WORTHING MUSEUM –3 Heritage Volunteers from Arun DFAS continue making padded Tyvek and calico infills, repacking and cataloguing the 800 pairs of shoes and boots in the shoe collection. Worthing Museum holds one of the largest museum costume collections in the country.

Of the 24 societies is Sussex, there are now 19 societies with Heritage Volunteers working on 13 projects with 10 Heritage Representatives.  Four new HV Representatives are required at Ashdown Forest, The City of Chichester,  East Grinstead and Midhurst.  So far, the project with The Sussex Gardens Trust has not materialized, but good progress is being made towards achieving a sound basis to hopefully proceeding with cataloguing art works at the  West Sussex 3-Hospital Trust.  There has been a very positive response to covering Southlands and Worthing Hospitals and a similar response is developing for St Richards in Chichester.  I am also pleased to report that Horsham are enthusiastically trying  to set up their own volunteering team for a local project. 

Penny Hill 24.1.2017

NADFAS is very keen for societies to get involved in a Gardens project, especially as this year is the 'CB300' Festival, marking the 300th anniversary of Capability Brown.

Click here to find out more about NADFAS and the Capability Brown Festival 2016