Volunteering in the Mansion
Jenny, Attingham Volunteer
I really enjoy volunteering in the basement; it brings the space to life and every day is different.
As a Basement Costume Guide you'll often find me in the Mansion Kitchen cooking lots of different dishes using period recipes. My creations have ranged from soup, to a fish-shaped jelly to an almond hedgehog! I think one of the best things about the Kitchen is the restored fire; it makes the room warm and inviting, especially when I use it to make toast! Visitors really enjoy seeing the kitchen being used, and finding out more about some of the 'interesting' recipes that were part and parcel of Georgian dining.
You may also find me volunteering in other areas of the basement, usually sewing in either the Housekeeper's room or the Servants' Hall. I’m working on an apron for my costume; sewing by hand is a new skill I’ve developed and it’s a great talking point with visitors; people are really interested and intrigued about what the piece of fabric I'm working on is going to be. There are other costumed roles in the basement that volunteers can carry out. For example, the Butler. If there's a butler in you might find him carrying out tasks like polishing the silver, (although, strictly, this would have been carried out by the footmen of the time).
Last year I got involved in the annual cleaning of the period copper on display in the Kitchen I never thought I would be doing anything like that but I found it really fun! I’ve learnt so much since starting my volunteering, particularly skills I can use for my career, such as improving my verbal communication by answering the visitors questions.
If you'd like to volunteer in a more lavish environment, you can always volunteer ‘upstairs’ where you are surrounded by the beauty of the main state rooms as a Room Guide. The Mansion is open daily from March to November and we have teams of volunteers in each day to help tell the stories of Attingham, and help our visitors get the most out of their day. The Re-discovered Project has transformed the whole house since it first began over ten years ago, and visitors love to hear about what work we've carried out, and what we're planning to do next. The project has carried out a variety of conservation and restoration work on each floor of the Mansion including the Dining Room. The dining table is laid for an ambassadorial dinner in order to show the guests the family’s status. It even has a pineapple in the centre, in Regency times, this was a status symbol as they were difficult to grow and expensive to buy!
If you'd like to find out more about volunteering in the Mansion please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01743 708124.