Hi Shirley here, I have been volunteering at Blakesley Hall since the start of the summer season 2014. I volunteer on a Thursday and Friday and also help out with occasional events.
I retired in September 2013 and quickly realised I needed to do something to fill my time. I knew I wanted to do some volunteer work and that I wanted to do something that was completely different to the work I had done. I have always had a love of history and so to look for something in heritage was the obvious thing to do. I researched for a few months before deciding that Birmingham Museums Trust interested me the most, although I had made no decision as to which of their nine sites I would be interested in volunteering at.
Ultimately distance to travel decided me. Sarehole Mill was my closest site with Blakesley Hall second. Sarehole Mill had too many ladders and so did not appeal to me due to some phobias meaning that Blakesley Hall was my choice. I have never ever regretted it and have never looked back!
I do not want to imagine a time when I will be unable to continue my love affair with this gem of a Tudor House. How do I tell you all about my total passion and commitment to Blakesley Hall. Is it my friendship with the other volunteers who work there? Is it how I feel about the staff who have always been welcoming and supportive? Or is it just that however down I feel as soon as I see the eaves of Blakesley peeping over the top of the barn when I turn into Blakesley Road I feel as if I am home?
From day one of doing my first tour I have been totally enthralled by Blakesley Hall. I love the whole ambience of the site, I like how the history of the place wraps itself around me. I like how when I first enter the hall and say good morning all the souls who have ever lived or worked there enfold me in their arms. Yes I know that sounds a little crazy but it is how I feel!
I love how the hall has been a home and a working place. I love the fact that after 400 plus years this small gem of history still stands proud in the middle of a housing estate when it is effectively a wooden jigsaw puzzle. Made of oak beams and wattle and daub infill, held together principally with wooden pegs. How amazing is that!
So what is it that fuels my passion? The answer is all of the things I have mentioned above and I feel so blessed to have been given this amazing chance to volunteer in such a beautiful amazing place.
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.