Heritage Lottery Fund

Cobham Landscape Detectives and a Cottage Dig in Kent

To my great amusement both my wife, Sophie Adams and I have been working in cellars today…I have been digging a Georgian cellar out, while Sophie had been researching in Maidstone Museum’s cellar…do read her dayofarch post!


For the last week the Shorne Woods Archaeology Group and the North Downs YACs have been assisting me in the excavation of an old cottage in Cobham Woods, Kent.

This work is taking place as part of a new 3 year Lottery funded project, Cobham Landscape Detectives. Beginning this Spring, the project will aim to tell the story of the varied and fascinating landscape, centred on Cobham Parish, Kent.

We have already spent many hours walking through Cobham Woods, with LiDAR printout in one hand and GPS receiver in the other! The LiDAR results have guided us to old trackways through the woods and many a mysterious lump and bump…not to mention the most amazing trees!


Medieval trackway running through Cobham Woods

We have participated in the annual Park open day at Shorne Woods to spread awareness of the project…


Our work in Cobham Woods led us to one site that seemed very suitable for the first community excavation of the new project…a demolished cottage that once stood in the SE corner of the old Cobham Hall estate…


Volunteer with window frame from the Cottage

With permissions in place from Natural England and support from the National Trust who own and manage the land, we set aside 2 weeks to examine the layout of the cottage site and recover dating evidence….


First day on site with the amazing North Downs YACs

I am writing this at the end of week one, after seven brilliant days on site, with the hardest working and most dedicated volunteers I have ever met (and in some cases now worked with for over 10 years!)…

We have identified the layout of 2 buildings on the site, the first is a Georgian building dating to the 1780’s:


The second is an additional building added in the later 19th century:


This second building survives much better than the first, with intact internal and external surfaces, full of finds!

The first building has suffered from the full force of the demolition crew that tore apart both buildings in the 1950’s, leaving a gaping hole in the north wall.

Betty B6

Newspaper article showing the cottage pre-war

Amongst the many interesting finds from the site is one rather special mug fragment:

cricket mug 001a

It appears to depict a kangaroo holding a cricket bat! This is an incredible link to the wider Cobham Hall estate, as one of the owners captained the first Ashes winning cricket team in the 1880’s…could this be a piece of memorabilia depicting this event…celebrated on the estate by the estate workers?

We have another week to further puzzle out the mysteries of the cottage. Does the Georgian building’s cellar have an intact floor? What will other finds tell us about the owners of the cottage and the wider estate? What is the function of the enigmatic brick structure in building 2?

In a finale fitting to the day of archaeology, a spot of further research on-site today produced a lovely drawing of the cottage, presumed to show it in the first half of the 20th century….


Image from the Cobham and Ashenbank Management Scheme Report

To keep up to date with the dig and the Cobham Landscape Detectives Project, follow @ArchaeologyKent on Twitter and ArchaeologyinKent on facebook, as well as our dedicated, volunteer-run website!

I always end my day of archaeology posts by thanking the volunteers, both local and further afield, who make every project we put together possible through their dedication and hardwork…thank you 🙂


Volunteers hard at work on the Cottage Dig

Dave Brown: Ringing in a New Era of Recording

My Job

I am a Geomatics Supervisor working in the quite newly formed Geomatics team at Oxford Archaeology East. My job has a great mix of both field and office work and often involves new forms of technology and experimental techniques and recording systems.

Over the past 5 or so years the company has changed from using primarily hand-drawn recording methods to a much more widespread use of digital recording. As a result, the divide between ongoing site work & what was traditionally post-excavation has become blurred. The Geomatics team pretty much operates within this blurred zone between field teams and graphics/post-excavation teams.

A car boot full of survey equipment

The essential tools of my trade! The car radio is permanently tuned to Planet Rock.

I enjoy the diversity of my role. On a daily basis I may travel across the Eastern Region to set out evaluation trenches or visit ongoing excavations. Or I may be inside creating trench designs or digitising site plans.

Today I am in the office catching up on my survey processing and working on some site plans for a large project recently completed in Norfolk.

One site in particular is very interesting. It has evidence of Bronze Age activity, including round structures within enclosures and remarkable post hole alignments.

A plan of archaeological features surveyed at a site

A site plan from a large project recently completed in Norfolk

The archaeological features were planned on site using Leica DGPS. Every feature was accurately planned, including all of the postholes, well over 1000 of them!

The data was sent to me & after processing I imported it into AutoCAD. I’m am currently tidying the plan and adding other data.

Archaeologists in hi-vis recording and surveying on site

The field team in action! Note GPS recording in background.

It is hard to imagine how long the process of recording all of these postholes would have taken with traditional methods.

Special Feature!- photogrammetry doesn’t quite ring true

One of the most exciting recording techniques we have recently started to use is photogrammetry. It involves taking a series of photographs which can be processed and manipulated by sophisticated software to create scaled photorealistic 3D models of objects and georeferenced orthophotos of archaeological sites (amongst other things). It means we can record sites by the use of drones even!

This technique is new to me, so one evening earlier this week, partly as a training exercise, I decided to attempt the recording of some church bells. As part of a restoration project funded by local donations and the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Nassington Bell Project will see the restoration and overhaul of the existing 5 bells and frame and the casting of a new bell.

As part of this project two out of tune bells will be recast and I thought it would be good to preserve a record of their original form. Unfortunately, the bells are 40ft up in the small, dimly lit belfry!

My helpers- Libby 9 & Owen 7, with Hilary the church Warden & Brian the tower captain

My helpers- Libby 9 & Owen 7, with Hilary the church Warden & Brian the tower captain

Having gained access to the belfry I placed markers on the bells to help the software and put up bed sheets to mask out unwanted parts of the bell frame.


Bell 4 cast in 1642 by Thomas Norris of Stamford, weighing approx.. ¼ tonne

I have run the data through the OAE’s Agisoft software overnight and I’m astonished by the results! I had to use a flash for every shot. I thought the smooth regular shape of the bell would also cause problems.


Each blue rectangle represents the position of my camera. I used only a basic digital SLR and its inbuilt flash

More processing and experimenting is required but, for a first attempt, I am quite pleased. I intend to upload the model to Sketchfab eventually to make it more freely available.


Doesn’t quite ring true- there is currently a hole in the top of the model!

The End

Thanks for making it to the end of this blog! I hope it has given you some idea of the diversity of roles and interests in archaeology. Dave

Dave Brown is a Geomatics Supervisor at Oxford Archaeology’s East office in Cambridge. For more information about Oxford Archaeology and our specialist geomatics services, visit our website: http://oxfordarchaeology.com/professional-services/specialist-services/16-oxford-archaeologys-services/fieldwork/21-geomatics

Clemency Cooper: Joining the Community at Oxford Archaeology

Oxford Archaeology is a registered educational charity with a long history of instigating and participating in public archaeology, and I have a new role at the company as their Community Archaeology Manager – today marks the end of my seventh week! I’m based at OA’s East office in Bar Hill, just outside Cambridge. I’ve been liaising with my colleagues, and fellow communications ‘champions’, Ed in our South office and Adam in our North office, to coax and coerce our colleagues to join in with the Day of Archaeology. I think this is a great opportunity to capture the work that we do and share it online to give people a snapshot of what goes on behind-the-scenes at a national commercial archaeological unit like Oxford Archaeology. Charlotte, one of our illustrators at OAE, designed some very fetching posters to advertise the campaign in-house and you can read her Day of Archaeology blog post here. If you’re interested in learning more about archaeological illustration, make sure to check out the live tweets from the graphics department in our Oxford office today on our Twitter account here using the hastags #graphix #dayofarch

Close up of posters, mug and keyboard

Posters advertising the Day of Archaeology at Oxford Archaeology

In between the steady stream of emails today, I’ve been kept busy uploading the text and photos from the blog submissions I’ve received from my colleagues. I first started blogging five years ago and I think it’s a good medium for quick site updates and event promotion, interacting with readers and sharing content across different platforms.

Besides the blogging, I’ve also been making arrangements to loan out survey equipment to community groups in Cambridgeshire as part of the Heritage Lottery Funded project, Jigsaw. The Fen Edge Archaeology Group recently finished their geophysical survey, and the Covington History Group and the Warboys Archaeology Project are also conducting magnetometry and resistivity surveys during the next couple of weeks – harvesting permitting!

I’ve also been working on the deployment schedule for our volunteers for next few weeks. It’s really gratifying to be able to offer people the chance to take part in excavations alongside our field staff. We have some very enthusiastic and experienced volunteers who return year after year, as well as a steady of new volunteers interested in fulfilling a life-long ambition to take part in an archaeological dig, or looking to develop the skills and experience for a career in the field. In fact, one of our volunteers has just been accepted onto the Oxford Archaeology graduate trainee scheme and she came into the office for her induction today.

I hope you enjoy exploring the posts from Oxford Archaeology this year, and that they give you a taster of the different work going on across our offices. You can read them all here.

Clemency Cooper is the Community Archaeology Manager for Oxford Archaeology, based at their East office in Cambridge. For more information about Oxford Archaeology and our work with community groups and schools, visit our website: http://oxfordarchaeology.com/community

Not digging, but finds and reporting

As a long-served finds person, my entry was never going to be about actual digging!  Of course, I rely on those who do the hard work on site to find nice things to look after, and occasionally I even write the finds up (especially if the finds are brick and tile).

This entry is about the recent Heritage Lottery Fund backed excavations at Roman Ravenglass, Cumbria, UK. There is a well known Roman fort, but these excavations centred on the civilian vicus just outside the fort.  Managed by Holly of the Lake District National Park, there were two four week seasons between 2013-2014.  The day to day on-site digging was run by York Archaeological Trust staff.

Just last weekend, the project came to end, at least for the local community who had worked so hard to dig up their archaeology. On the Friday when the Yorkshire Team arrived in Ravenglass, Lisa of Minerva Heritage was waiting to take delivery of the finds we’d brought up with us.  She then arranged them in the display case which has been placed in the Pennington Hotel in the village.  The case is therefore viewable for most of the time, and for free, to all who wish to see it.

In the evening, the Team, along with some of the stalwart members of the local community (Debbie, Leo, Brian & Patty), took the opportunity to walk to the Ravenglass bath house and see the new display board. We just happened to have a bottle of fizz with us …!  The board shows some interpretive reconstructions by Graham Sumner, as well as pictures of the finds and text about the vicus.

The next day, it was time for Site Director Kurt to give a lecture on the findings to a packed room in the Pennington Hotel. We had also brought with us a handling collection of the finds, which I looked after. In addition, there was also a print-out of the draft text of the site report for people to consult. When finally finished it will be available as a free download from the Lake District National Park website.

So, without a trowel being wielded, we were still doing archaeology on that Saturday!

Throughout the project, as well as being responsible for on-site finds processing, I also kept a site blog, which can be found here.

Hopefully, for the community, and at least some of the team, it won’t be the last time we’re out doing archaeology in Ravenglass.

Viewing the new display board at Ravenglass in Cumbria, UK

Viewing the new display board at Ravenglass in Cumbria, UK


South Dorset Ridgeway- the importance of a holiday

On this Day of Archaeology I was actually at a wedding, a completely non-archaeology wedding. I feel that this is important to point out because, like most jobs people do that a) they enjoy and b) are poorly funded and highly competitive many people dedicate their whole lives to their work.

I realised a while ago that this is not healthy and even though I am doing a PhD (the ultimate demand in time) researching community archaeology (something that normally happens on weekends) I am doing my hardest to make sure I rest guilt free. I am aware that this will not last and come writing up I will spend every day in front of my computer but for now I am enjoying it whilst it lasts.

So, rather than blogging about a Non-Day of Archaeology I thought I’d write about my nearest working day to the 11th .  It was a beautiful day and one that is perhaps not that typical however here it is…

Learning about landslides


My PhD is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund through the South Dorset Ridgeway Landscape Partnership Scheme. This is a whole series of events focused on understanding, conserving and enjoying the wildlife, landscape and heritage of the region. The South Dorset Ridgeway is a ridge of chalk hills between Dorchester and Weymouth which overlooks the Jurassic Coast. This amazingly complex geology underpins everything that defines that South Dorset Ridgeway.

This includes the archaeology and therefore I felt that it is important to understand it. Luckily I was not the only person who thought this and the Ridgeway management team have put together a series of walks around the landscape for the partners, led by various experts.  This so that we all have a good knowledge of the whole landscape which we can build into our individual projects.


The Partners!

The walk ran from a village at the foot of the hills (Abbotsbury), along a discussed railway line, through to Portesham where I joined the team. Did you know that in Porteshan there used to live a chap called William Weare? When he died his will stated that he wanted to be buried ‘neither in the church nor outside it’. Why he requested this is unknown, if it was an attempt to try to avoid a Christian burial he was thwarted- he was buried in the wall of the church!

The walk then continued up to Portesham Quarry, also known as Rocket Quarry or Portesham Farm Quarry. It was here that Sam Scriven from the Jurassic Coast WHS team started to enlighten us as to the geological history of the area. It’s complex and although I think I understand most of it you don’t want me to repeat it all here. It is sufficient to say that there are several different geological deposits between the ridgeway and the sea. The format that these take range from hard stones, such as Portland or Purbeck Stone, to clays, gravels and chalks. They have been twisted, moulded and eroded over the years to form the landscape that we now see.

The nature of these deposits can significantly affect the archaeology on top. For example the Sarcen stones that are used for building monuments such as the Hell Stone or the Hampton Stone Circle (later stops on our walk) are only used near the Valley of the Stones, elsewhere wood was used a building material.

The Hell Stone Chambered Tomb

The Hell Stone Chambered Tomb (with round barrow in the foreground)

Another example of how a geological understanding is very important for archaeologists was pointed out on the descent to Abbotsbury when we passed through the largest unmapped landslide in the UK, and it did seem very big (but thankfully stable). Not that much is know about it, as mapping would greatly aid this process, but at least it has now been recognised. On the OS it is marked as Strip Lynchets. Although the slumps may have been used for agriculture it is clear when you look at them a bit closer that they are not man made, they are irregular, not actually that flat and really not that suitable for farming.

I know that this walk may sound like the perfect day of work and, yes it is amazing to be able to spend a day learning super interesting and useful things from experts in a beautiful surroundings but there was a purpose to it, and taking a couple of days away from thinking about it meant that when I came back this week I was able to reflect, to process and to engage creatively and intellectually with what I had learnt.

For more about my PhD visit www.perceptionsofprehistory.com

For more about the South Dorset Ridgeway Landscapes Partnership visit http://www.dorsetaonb.org.uk/our-work/south-dorset-ridgeway-partnership

For more about the geology of the Jurassic Coast visit http://jurassiccoast.org/



Funny ha-ha? Excavations at Eastcote House Gardens

On the Day of Archaeology 2014, AOC Archaeology Group is working once again with London Borough of Hillingdon (LBH) and the Friends of Eastcote House Gardens (FEHG) to deliver an exciting programme of public archaeology in this lovely park. I’m Charlotte, AOC’s Public Archaeologist. AOC first worked at Eastcote House Gardens in 2012, when we ran a smaller evaluation excavation as part of the development phase of this project. You can read our Day of Archaeology 2012 post at: http://www.dayofarchaeology.com/community-excavations-at-eastcote-house-gardens-hillingdon/.

The excavations at Eastcote House Gardens form just one part of a larger project, which is being supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund, through their Parks for People programme. This project, led by LBH and FEHG, will see significant changes to the Park including the repair and re-use of the historic buildings, the building of ancillary facilities, with a cafe, toilets and manager’s office, and the improvement and upgrading of the Gardens for educational and community use. The archaeological programme includes public excavations, training workshops, an open day, and a schools programme involving hundreds (literally!) of young people from local schools (primary, secondary and special), uniformed groups (Guides, Cubs and Beavers) and one youth charity. FEHG has a small army of volunteers who are passionate about the park and its past, and they play a key role in the school visits, giving learners a tour of the historic dovecot and stables as well as the smaller trenches current being excavated. Most days onsite are very busy, with lots of volunteers and young people working to explore the past at Eastcote House Gardens.

The Gardens, and its historic buildings, are all that have survived from Eastcote House and its outbuildings, which were demolished in 1964.  Eastcote House was a big white stuccoed house of many different periods, part of which dated from the 16th century. However historic records suggest that there was previously an even earlier building on the site, known as Hopkyttes. During the evaluation excavations in 2012 we opened only small trenches, confirming the location of the remains of Eastcote House, establishing the condition of any archaeological features, and assessing the value of any future work. This year, we have opened a much larger area, so that we can gain a better understanding of the layout and phasing of the house. We are very excited to have found (we believe) the remains of Hopkyttes, overlain by the Tudor structure.

However, on to our activities on the Day of Archaeology! As well as our lovely, ever-cheerful project participants – some old hands and some newbies – today we welcomed to site three classes from a local primary school, and a group of young people from The Challenge, a charity aimed at building a more integrated society. The primary schools and The Challenge group concentrated today on excavating the remains of Eastcote House and washing some of the finds, and we also focussed on the site’s funniest feature – the ha-ha.

Les, who is directing excavations onsite, informs me that his Chambers dictionary defines ‘ha-ha’ as a representation of a laugh. The second definition is ‘a ditch or vertical drop…between a garden and surrounding parkland’. We have one of these features in one of our smaller trenches, which is placed to investigate the southern end of a sunken flint wall with a steep sided ditch dropping towards it.

The upper levels of soil that had collected in the ditch contained 20th century finds, as we might expect.  We have a Tizer bottle with 3p due on return, a bottle which contained a chocolate milk drink – the ingredients include shagreen (sharkskin) – a stoneware mineral bottle, and smaller, broken pieces. Some of the finds are the result of accumulation, while others are probably from people seeing a handy ditch to throw rubbish, rather than recycling or taking it to the nearest bin. Fizzy drinks seem to be a theme on this site: last week we found a bottle marked ‘Eiffel Tower Lemonade’. After a bit of online research, we’ve discovered that this was a lemonade powder – tasty!

The ha-ha

The ha-ha


It looks as though our ha-ha ditch was originally 2m wide and 1.5m deep, and was probably a grassy slope. Some of the local historians think that this may be less of a ha-ha and more of a drainage ditch. At the moment, we think it may be both. In our excavation is a flat slab with flint blocks on top of it. This may be a secured entry to a drain inserted into the ditch: it looks later. We do wonder whether the slab may have been placed over the burial of a favoured pet though. We will know tomorrow.

Hard at work in the ha-ha

Hard at work in the ha-ha

This is just a small taster of everything we’ve been discovering at Eastcote House Gardens. Please do head over to the project website to find out more about the excavations: www.aocarchaeology.com/eastcote






Greetings from Randall Manor Year 9!

Hello from a wet, muddy, but happy corner of medieval Kent! We have been on site for 5 days now, as our 9th year on site at Randall Manor gets underway. It all started with scorching sunshine and new walls!


Day one RMS14

As the week progressed everyone has worked so hard in the new trenches for this year. Area 15 focused on walls we had found in 2011 and after a week of hard graft by all, we have uncovered the flint footings to a new building, east of the aisled hall discovered in 2011…


Pauline and Daniel working hard to uncover the join between buildings on site…RMS14…

We are also spending a 9th year examining the complex stratigraphy of the detached kitchen building. The archaeology has been well preserved under a layer of demolition and samples taken from the floor surfaces have already revealed substantial information on the medieval diet of the site’s occupiers, including lots of lovely fish bone.


A section through the kitchen floors…RMS14

After 5 days, what has struck me the most is the overwhelming enthusiasm from both young and old and the love of archaeology shared by all on site.

We have hosted 4 schools this week: Danecourt Special Needs, Valley Park in Maidstone, Manor Community from Swanscombe and Shorne Primary. Special mention must be made to Trevor for all his assistance and supervision of the schools on site and to Richard and Bernice for giving the children an introduction to archaeology and finds handling sessions.

Even today, with drizzle and rain making eventful appearances all day, over 20 volunteers turned up and got stuck in.


Our new trench, day 5, RMS14

We have enjoyed 9 years of Lottery funding for archaeology projects in the Park, but with the current project coming to a close, Kent County Council stepped in this year to fund the dig, so a big thank you to them!

Most importantly though I would like to pay tribute to all the volunteers who have supported the dig over the years, from the dig tasters, day diggers, new enthusiasts, to the band of highly skilled veterans from archaeology groups across Kent, who come back year after year and make the dig the success it is. They make new diggers feel welcome, are always on hand with helpful advice or a trusty spade, give up their time to show the public around the site and make the wider archaeology project in Shorne Woods Country Park such a joy to be a part of.

They find my trowel when I lose it, recover my wedding ring when I drop it, ferry equipment to and from site and enthuse people of all ages who come to the dig…

So on this Day of Archaeology I salute all volunteers who make archaeology projects across the country such a success and to those who volunteer behind the scenes at the Day of Archaeology itself!

We are a quarter of the way through this year’s season, on site every day to the 27th of July. On the 26th and 27th of July we have the Woodville Household medieval re-enactors in the Park, all part of the Festival of Archaeology…

For more information do have a look at www.facebook.com/archaeologyinkent or @ArchaeologyKent

We hope to have a new landscape archaeology project up and running for next year’s day of archaeology, looking at the landscape around Cobham village, so do watch this space 🙂


Skills Collections Trainee: A Variety of Learning

Name: Gillian Rodger

What do you do?
I am a Heritage Lottery Funded Skills for the Future Collections Trainees at RCAHMS.

How did you get here?
As a creative youngster I’ve had a fascination with visiting and photographing historic places and objects as long as I can remember. Though I grew up near Chester, my family are all Scottish and having enjoyed many childhood summers exploring the Scottish countryside and going to various Historic sites, I’ve long since wanted to move to Scotland, to promote and get involved with maintaining Scottish Heritage.

Working on John Marshall Material at my Desk

Working on John Marshall Material at my Desk

Unsurprisingly then during my Art History undergrad I turned towards researching Medieval Art and objects and on returning to Edinburgh for my masters I became focused particularly on aspects of Global Material Culture and Collection Histories, whilst also collaborating with the NMS and interned on the Carved Stones Project with RCAHMS. Getting to apply and earning the chance to work as a skills trainee at RCAHMS felt like the perfect opportunity to combine my personal and academic interests whilst enabling me to gain greater experience in the Heritage Sector and in Collections.

What are you working on today?
Today, as is usual for skills trainees, I have been involved with a variety of different activities! I have been on the search room desk this morning, answering enquiries, aiding visitors with their research and hearing some brilliant family stories.

In between enquiries I’ve also started researching the sculptor John Marshall (1888-1952) in order to catalogue a fascinating box of his material for public access.

John Marshall box of material

John Marshall box of material

So far within the box I have discovered his sketchbook of sculpture from 1911, a worldwide picture postcard album and many photographs of himself and colleagues dressed for an ECA Revel Party, including Sir Robert Lorimer. This afternoon I have also been finishing organising and re-housing many excellent Threatened Buildings Survey Drawings completed by RCAHMS survey staff .

Favourite part of your job?
I would say the favourite aspect of my job is in fact the variety of activities we do during the placement. For example, so far outwit our varied ongoing collections work programme; I have been on placement at the National Galleries, attended heritage/medieval conferences, visited the outreach trainees on placement, worked with conservation on re-housing collections and done digital accessioning [see pictures]. In the next month I will also be invigilating at the RCAHMS Commonwealth pavilion for the Sightlines film, working with the NCAP team and beginning work with the other trainees on our big showcase project at Stirling Castle!

As such our job gives us the opportunity to learn lots of different skills, figure out my own strengths and interests, meet a variety of fascinating people and contribute to the work of the commission and Heritage in Scotland in various ways! So yes, getting the chance to have constant variety and new challenges in my work is fantastic.

What did university not teach you?
Despite Art History being a visual degree primarily focused on specific objects or artworks, there is a surprising lack of requirement to actually see and handle the tangible material one is researching, and for much of my art historic research I only utilised photographs, drawings or witnessed objects in their museum setting.

When I began to handle historical objects and material collections and research their collection histories for my work here, I was shocked at how little I had previously appreciated the benefit of having a tangible experience with collections. Not only this, but also just how important that form of first-hand experience can be for producing the best personal and academic research. For example, the scale, exceptional detail or even makers marks on collection material are rarely comprehensible from a photograph alone!

After this realisation I have and will certainly continue to be, an advocate for the promotion of access to original collection material and collections histories where possible, and hope I can continue working and promoting such values within Scottish Heritage beyond this traineeship!

To see a vine of my day, click here

Lister Steps Carnegie Community Hub

Day of Archaeology 2014 finds me working as a Heritage Development Officer for Lister Steps in Tuebrook, Liverpool.

Lister Steps have secured initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to regenerate the Grade II listed West Derby Library on Lister Drive, Tuebrook.
West Derby Library was established with funding from an Andrew Carnegie (Philanthropist and Industrialist) grant, and opened in 1905. The library is a one-storey brick built structure with stone dressings, a slate roof and an octagonal turret and was designed by Thomas Shelmerdine. The library originally contained a lending library and a number of reading rooms. Sadly, following health and safety concerns, the library closed in 2006 and has remained vacant since. This period of un-occupation has resulted in the library being subject to theft, vandalism and neglect. Items stolen from the library include lead flashings, the glazing to roof lights and feature ridge tiles. There has been substantial rainwater ingress which has severely damaged the timber structure and internal decorative plasterwork and joinery and dry rot is common throughout the building.
The ‘Lister Steps Carnegie Community Hub’ project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, is currently in its development stage, however once completed Lister Steps aim to relocate their existing childcare services into the building. The regenerated building will also serve as a centre for community engagement, a ‘hub’ offering refreshments, activities and training opportunities for the local community and visitors.
The project will shortly begin a period of consultation with stakeholders and members of the community. The project aims to host a number of heritage activities in the near future such as tours of the library and grounds, an oral history project and training opportunities.

I am so excited about this fantastic project.  The end result will have saved a historic building from further deterioration and provided a much needed community led center for engagement, in addition to the skills gained and experiences of the project itself.Lister Steps Carnegie Community Hub-A work in progress!Lister Steps Carnegie Community Hub-the West Derby Carnegie Library

I welcome all comments, suggestions and funding for the project!

Kerry Massheder-Rigby

Heritage Development Officer

Kerry Massheder-Rigby@listersteps.co.uk

Please follow our social media https://www.facebook.com/listerstepscarnegiecommunityhub @ListerStepsHub and invite your friends to do the same 🙂

My Day as a Collections Care Assistant

Name: Alison Clark

What do you do?

Collections Care Assistant is my job title. It’s a catch all phrase including aspects of collections management and preservation (i.e. making sure items are stored correctly, liaising with conservation colleagues about items which may need some extra care, returning items to the archive after members of the public have had a look at them and a bit of location control to make sure nothing gets lost amongst the millions of items we hold). That’s what I’ve been up to so far and I only started in June so it’s been a busy few weeks!

How did you get here?

With a lot of luck I was in the previous round of the Skills for the Future Trainees (2013-14). When my training contract finished I had already applied for an internal position with Historic Scotland in the Publications and Interpretation department. In addition to this I was offered a job with the National Collection of Aerial Photography via a temping agency so when the Collections Care Assistant post was advertised internally I was eligible to apply. For me this has worked out perfectly. I enjoy a very varied working week and I also get to experience a number of different areas within the wider heritage sector. Although I am not an archaeologist I do work with archaeological material very frequently, be it site drawings, excavation reports or as research material for publications.

Favourite part of your job?

After seeing the questions for these posts I have been pondering my answer for a while. Favourite part of the job…hmm…there a lot of different aspects I really enjoy within the work itself. Firstly every day is challenging and I appreciate the chance to give my brain a good work out with such interesting and diverse material. I’m constantly learning a lot about different periods in history, correct conservation methods and the different roles within the organisation. However, I’d have to say my favourite part of my job is all of the possibilities contained in the archive and the staff who work here. I love the fact that we are all working together to preserve other people’s life work so that the current and future generations can enjoy them, be inspired by them and also go on to do great things themselves.

What are you working on today?

Today I am catching up on a lot of filing. I was off with the flu so there’s quite a lot to catch up on…

What did university not teach you?

Somewhat unusually, I am not a graduate. I’d say it is unusual as most of the people I have encountered in the heritage world have a great deal of impressive qualifications. I have highers and some University study to my name but that’s it. I think work experience is incredibly valuable and an important thing to do before you decide what to study. For me leaving University when I did was the best decision I could have possibly made. I don’t think I’d be working for the Commission now if I had completed my degree. I wouldn’t be so passionate about my work and I wouldn’t be able to manage my time and responsibilities as adeptly as I do. University is great for some, but for others time away from education to decide what you enjoy and also discover what you are good at is the best option.