It is over 30 years since the National Trust, with the support of Hambledon Parish Council, decided to open Oakhurst Cottage to the public. A dedicated team of volunteer guides, largely recruited from within the village, give visitors a unique insight into the life- styles of Oakhurst’s inhabitants during the last four centuries; but the cottage itself, its fabric and its contents are an equally important part of the story. The contents in particular, many of which date from 19th century, need a lot of TLC – and that includes cleaning and conservation repairs.
Whether it’s a candle snuffer, a rag rug, a stool, a quilt, a piece of pottery, an item of clothing or anything in between, objects get dusty and dirty if they aren’t regular cleaned and, at the end of each season, checked to see if any damage limitation is required. This is where volunteer conservation assistants have a vital role to play.
The National Trust is recruiting Volunteer Conservation Assistants to help care for Oakhurst. From 15 August important repairs to the fabric of the cottage are being carried out, so the initial requirement is for someone to go in for half an hour on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings (at any time that suits up to 12.30) to sweep and tidy and generally remove the dust that will inevitably result from the repair works. But there’s more to it than that. If you volunteer for this task you will be given full NT training that will not only show you what to do for the half-hour cleaning sessions but will also teach you about conservation repair work and give you a set of skills and experience that will make a unique contribution to your CV.
You will be able to put these skills to good use not only at Oakhurst (where you will always be welcome whenever you find yourself in Hambledon) but also at National Trust properties throughout the country, depending on where your studies or interests may take you in the future.
Ready to get involved? If so, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Should you require further information please get in touch with Jane Woolley, Chair of the Oakhurst Cottage Advisory Committee: email@example.com or telephone 01428 684213.