From bakehouses to bastions - being a volunteer with Wiltshire Building Record

on Tuesday, 07 October 2014. Posted in Architecture

I have been a volunteer with the Wiltshire Buildings Record for around twelve years.  Volunteering for me is a privilege and a pleasure.  I can choose to do it when it suits and it fits around my family.  The benefits have been many.  Life-long learning is very important to me.  Here, I am immersed in buildings archaeology, which is my passion.  My more experienced colleagues are generous with their time and knowledge.  They have given me the confidence to explore my interests more deeply.

There is no such thing as a typical week.  My work is varied.  Recently I have been busy letting people know about our annual Study Day “Dating Clues in Period Houses” which is on 8th November.   Yesterday morning I helped with the filing.  Afterwards we met with a paint conservator who is doing a PhD in 16-17th C painting schemes.  She came all the way from Suffolk to research what the WBR has found in Wiltshire, and to share her research findings with us.  It was fascinating and we will put our latest understanding into practice when recording buildings.  In the afternoon I went to Malmesbury where we made a record of the historic fabric in a small 19th C house.  This included what may be the remains of a lost bastion from the medieval town wall!

Volunteering has been a social thing.  It gets me out of the house mixing with people and gives structure to my day.  I have made new friends.  It may sound silly, but one of the best things is it offers the gift of giving.  It is satisfying to put my knowledge and experience to good use, to benefit the future of the WBR. 

WBR’s work attracts many people, some who come as volunteers for just a short time and others who get involved over the long term. So there is a steady stream of new folk to meet and get to know.  As a Wiltshire Buildings Record volunteer, I feel privileged to be part of an organisation that I believe in, and am secure in the knowledge that what we do really matters – now – and for posterity.

Alyson Curtis
Wiltshire Buildings Record Volunteer

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