Volunteer profile: Meet Liberty Blackmore

Volunteer, Oxburgh Hall

Liberty Blackmore - Volunteer

Libby is one of our youngest volunteers. Still at High School, she started volunteering at Oxburgh as something a little different to do with her spare time. Now it’s given her lots of ideas for her future.

Volunteer in the kitchen at Oxburgh Hall

Why did you become a volunteer at Oxburgh Hall?

I became a volunteer at Oxburgh Hall because I wanted to do something different outside of school time. Something that you wouldn’t think of when you hear “extra-curricular” activity. I like telling people about what I do, and I find it fascinating to think about how many people have held the same object or lived in the same room and what their lives were like.

What do you love about volunteering at Oxburgh?

I love meeting visitors and telling them stories about the house and sometimes even learning things from them. I also really enjoy working with the other volunteers, as they’re from lots of different age groups and backgrounds and they too have lots of interesting stories to tell. I mainly volunteer in the house, as my passion is in conservation and room guiding, but I also help the food and beverage team from time to time. That's the great thing about Oxburgh, you can get involved in so many different aspects of the property.

Where’s your favourite spot at Oxburgh?

My favourite spot at Oxburgh is the priest hole. It’s hard to imagine what it would have been like for the priests that needed to use spaces like this. Today, I can climb in and show people, especially children. It makes me so happy to see people push their boundaries and come out smiling, proud of the fact that they’ve done it. However, for a priest to hide there, they would never have known how long they would need to remain hidden. 

If you were to ask me what my favourite piece in the collection was, then I’d have to say the little monkey shaped cigar trimmer in the French cabinet, a lot of people ask what it is and I like telling them about that. 

Imagine having to hide in a priest hole
A man dressed as a priest inside the priest hole at Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk
Imagine having to hide in a priest hole

What’s surprised you most about volunteering?

I never expected the team at Oxburgh to be so closely knitted together, we’re like a big family. Everybody knows each other, and you just feel so welcomed and included.

What have you learnt since joining the team?

As a child I quite often associated history with boring dates, wars, religious and political struggles, but by volunteering at Oxburgh I think it’s helped me see history in a new light. It’s interesting and unpredictable and I learn new things every time I go. Volunteering at Oxburgh has inspired me, to the extent that I've decided to go onto study a Level 3 Diploma in Contryside Management at Easton College.

What would you say to someone thinking about volunteering?

If you’re thinking of joining the National Trust as a volunteer for whatever reason, I’d recommend Oxburgh, the people are amazing, the house is a welcome distraction from studying, it’s a great way to make friends and learn about history. 

I feel really proud to volunteer at Oxburgh and although I'm only just starting to think about my future, my time here has given me lots of ideas.