Our volunteers' favourite things

Plas Newydd, Anglesey, with the Menai Strait and Snowdonia seen from beneath a large sycamore tree

Our volunteers here at Plas Newydd are invaluable, and much more than that, they're part of the team. In the last year alone, our volunteers across the whole of Ynys Môn gave us over 18,600 hours of their time. This is a huge contribution to the vital work that we do here in the house, garden and across the coastline we look after on Anglesey.

Our volunteers have many different interests and backgrounds. They travel to help us from near and far, have a vast range of knowledge, skills and are all ages.  With a huge reservicing project now underway at Plas Newydd, it does mean we are all facing some new and exciting times over the upcoming months, and the support and knowledge our volunteers provide each day is essential to our work. 

We've been asking some of our volunteers what it is they love most here at Plas Newydd House and Garden.  Many of the things or places they have chosen speak for themselves; beautiful pieces of furniture and art, or areas that really do stand out and make a visit something a bit different.  However, some of their choices made us take a look at the house and the garden in a new light. It does just go to show that there is always something different you may not have noticed on previous visits – even for some of the staff who are here every day!

Margaret has been volunteering in the house here at Plas Newydd for almost 14 years.  Many items on display in the collection have changed over those years, but Lord Anglesey’s bed has remained the entire time.  It was originally moved here from Beaudesert, the Paget family’s other home in Staffordshire.  Margaret loves the fabric, and was even inspired to attend silk painting classes by the decorative work of the canopy and frame. 

The whole bed frame and canopy were moved from Beaudesert.
The painted silk canopy above Lord Anglesey's bed
The whole bed frame and canopy were moved from Beaudesert.

Georgina is a retail and research volunteer, helping our team to look into the archives during the winter months.  Her favourite items are the photographs of the 7th Marquess’s sisters on display in the Octagon.  She loves them because they step away from a more formal, posed image and show the girls casually dressed in their dungarees. 

A playful family photo in the Octagon room
A photograph of the 7th Marquess's 4 sisters in the Octagon room
A playful family photo in the Octagon room

Olivia is one of our newer volunteers, having joined us earlier this year.  She is currently studying history and archaeology at university and is really enjoying being very hands on with the House and Collections team.  Her favourite item is the globe in the Octagon room.  Tucked away in the corner of the room, the globe clearly shows the effects of light and many hands touching it over the years.  It is one item that shows how essential  our conservation work is and how light monitoring can help to preserve items like this.

Olivia's personal favourite, the globe
Damage from light and handling on the globe in the Octagon room at Plas Newydd
Olivia's personal favourite, the globe

The Saloon was once a comfortable living room for the Anglesey family to sit and enjoy time together.  It seems fitting that our volunteer Julie's favourite item, the bronze bust of Lady Marjorie Manners, the Marchioness of Anglesey, should be found here. Julie likes the piece because of its artistry and craftsmanship.  The bust of Lady Caroline Paget is also on display in this room. 

Bronze bust of the Marchioness of Anglesey, Lady Marjorie
A bronze bust of Lady Marjorie Manners, Marchioness of Anglesey,  in the Saloon at Plas Newydd
Bronze bust of the Marchioness of Anglesey, Lady Marjorie

Moving upstairs to the bedrooms, Gaynor has chosen the wash jug and basin in Lady Anglesey's bathroom as the piece that stands out most to her.  From around the1840s, it has some delicate peaches painted onto the sides. 

Details on the wash jug in Lady Anglesey's bedroom
A decorated jug. part of the set in Lady Anglesey's bathroom at Plas Newydd
Details on the wash jug in Lady Anglesey's bedroom

Another of our volunteers, Irene, has chosen some of the more modern day items that are still part of our collection; namely the 7th Marquess’s CD collection.  These CDs are continually being played in the Study and bring the room back to life.  Irene loves the sound of the music playing through the room and feels that it keeps the spirit of the room alive. 

The 7th Marquess's CD collection in his study
Collection of CD's in the 7th Marquess's study at Plas Newydd
The 7th Marquess's CD collection in his study

Our garden volunteers have their own favourite places too, and they know the very best spot for a fantastic view first thing in the morning.  Susan loves the colours on display in the Terraced garden, along with the wide open spaces and peaceful nature of the wider garden.  Ruth loves the top area of the terraces whilst Christine prefers the lower terrace, especially on an early spring morning, with dew on the grass. 

The hot border of the Terrace garden in May
The hot border of the Terraced garden filled with tulips during May.
The hot border of the Terrace garden in May

If you’d like to find out more about volunteering here at Plas Newydd or on Ynys Môn, you can contact Sarah, our Volunteering & Participation Manager here sarah.worth@nationaltrust.org.uk