Fiona Lewin

Conservation Officer

Fiona Lewin - Conservation Officer

If you visit The Workhouse, you're more than likely to come across Fiona, our smiley Conservation Officer. The member of the team with the most positions under her belt, Fiona also has an incredible personal link to The Workhouse's past.

Photo of Fiona Lewin Conservation Officer up in the roof space at The Workhouse

Job description

I take care of the day to day housekeeping at The Workhouse, making sure it’s clean and presentable for all our visitors.
I check for any signs of damage to the house and objects that can be caused by insect pests and even people.
I also work to improve the management of our collection so that more objects can be used to share workhouse history with our visitors.

Best part

I particularly enjoy working with our conservation volunteers who are a great help with all the housekeeping tasks, such as dusting chamber pots!
This year they are helping to review and photograph our collection of almost 4,000 objects.

Worst part

I find insect pests in museums fascinating but discovering them in The Workhouse means there’s a risk to the building and the collection.

Work experience

I began volunteering as a room guide and education volunteer at Penrhyn Castle in Wales when I was a student.
During university holidays I carried on at The Workhouse, first as a room guide then as a conservation volunteer.
I worked on reception at The Workhouse as a seasonal member of staff and progressed to the job of Visitor Services Officer.
I had also worked as Acting Conservation Assistant and was delighted to then get the job as Conservation Officer.

Favourite room

The able-bodied men's dayroom. The oakum is a stark reminder of how arduous the tasks were for the inmates and then there's the grafitti in the men's work yard.
This along with the worn stairways is emotive evidence of the lives lived at The Workhouse.

Least favourite room

The cellars - they always need sweeping due to falling paint.

Interests and activities

I volunteer a lot with Girl Guiding UK and enjoy walking at local National Trust properties.

Amazing fact

I found out that four of my ancestors died in Southwell Workhouse. Also, my great-great-great grandfather was Chairman of the Board of Guardians.

Join in

If you fancy getting some experience under your belt then volunteering is a great way to learn new skills.