Hello - my name is Elinor and I volunteer as a Heritage Interpreter at Sarehole Mill. I have been volunteering there since I was an undergraduate creative writing student at the University of Birmingham; I am now completing an MA at the Shakespeare Institute, and still enjoy spending my time at Sarehole.
Despite being right in the heart of the city, Sarehole Mill is a green idyll which preserves the rural heritage which preceded Birmingham’s better-known industrial past. Walking across the courtyard, through the Mill, or around the mill pool, you experience a little of what the young Ronald Tolkien must have felt in this, his childhood playground.
My main role at the Mill is to welcome visitors to the site, and give them an introduction to the building, the process of milling, and what they can expect to see as they go around. Sometimes, if the site is a little quiet and our visitors are particularly keen, I take them on a guided tour across all three levels of the Mill. During the winter months, I get involved in other tasks: helping our Learning Officer compile her craft activities or contributing towards some of Sarehole’s bigger events. In 2018, I wrote the script for the spooky tour to accompany the Pumpkin Flotilla, putting my creative writing skills to the test to design an interactive experience for families which also told a story about the Mill.
So 2019 looks to be an exciting year for Sarehole Mill: having hit their crowdfunding target after only a few weeks, major restoration work on the Mill machinery, the grain store, and the Bakehouse can go ahead. Alongside this, the site is getting a spring clean in terms of interpretation; new ways of conveying information are being planned, along with regular themed tours around the site. I am looking forward to being involved with these exciting new developments at Sarehole; being a volunteer accompanies my studies perfectly, allowing me to express my interest in history and storytelling.
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.