Hi I’m Khadiza and I am a Heritage Interpreter at Aston Hall. I have been volunteering at the Hall since the start of the season and I have enjoyed every second of it. I am fascinated by history and love visiting sites of historical interest and being a Heritage Interpreter provides me an opportunity to connect with history in a different way. Being a university student can be very stressful (deadlines and exams!) and I relieve my stress by volunteering in this lovely environment.
Aston Hall is a Grade 1 listed Jacobean House and is located near the city centre right by Aston Villa football stadium. The house was originally owned by Sir Thomas Holte and has passed through the family over the years. Later on, in the 19th century the house was rented to James Watt Jr for couple of years. Hence, the house is furnished in a Jacobean and Victorian manner.
Aston Hall can sometimes be overlooked and when people come to visit the house they always describe it as a hidden gem. Aston Hall is not only for people who enjoy history; it is also entertaining for people who love gruesome stories and unbelievable facts! For example, did you know when people moved out they would also take the doors with them as it counts as furniture? I also enjoy telling the antics of Sir Thomas Holte as he left a legacy of not being a very nice man – he locked up his daughter in the attic just because she fell in love with a farmer’s son! The wow factor of Aston Hall is the Long Gallery - about 136ft long it was once the longest gallery in England and I love pointing out the hidden doors to the children.
The events held at Aston Hall are a joy. The last event was for Shakespeare’s birthday and we had minstrels and actors performing around the house and food to taste. It was so fun just to take a break and watch the actors perform and the minstrel teaching people how to dance.
The team at Aston Hall, the group of fellow volunteers and the visitors, make volunteering enjoyable. I learn something new every day and you can learn so much from the experienced volunteers as well. As it’s only been couple of months I hope to enjoy the experience even more and learn as much as I can. I am very excited about Birmingham Heritage week that’s going to be held in September and I am hoping to contribute by researching children in the 17th century.
If you are interested in volunteering for Birmingham Museums then take a look at the current volunteering opportunities we have available across all our sites.