Heritage Volunteers

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Heritage volunteers work on local projects to conserve and preserve our heritage; these projects could, for example, involve working in churches, historic houses, archives or libraries. Volunteers need enthusiasm and interest but not specific qualifications as appropriate training can be given. If anyone is interested in joining the team please contact Kay on volunteers@stradfas.org.uk

STRADFAS ladies restore Altar Frontal

Just before Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve 2020, a beautifully conserved early-Victorian altar frontal was placed on the altar of St. Nicholas’ Church in Alcester. It was much admired by the congregation but few people realise the work and skill that was involved in regaining its original splendour.

Many years ago, the frontal was discovered in the bottom drawer of a chest of drawers in a Worcestershire chapel that was about to be auctioned. It was saved by a member of STRADFAS, Caroline Newey, but it was in a very poor state of repair. Two years ago, the decision was made to try to restore it and Kay Anderson, who is the Heritage  Secretary of the Society, and her team agreed to undertake the work. This involved removing and renovating all the old rotted silk that covered the panel, which after being steamed and pressed,  was given to expert Julie Helps (pictured) who then worked on untangling the delicate gold threads which form the embroidery. It was then returned to Caroline who, with the help of a friend Dianne King, was able to finish the project before  placing on the altar on Christmas Eve.

It was a long laborious project that required great skill to repair it. However, the team of Heritage Volunteers are no strangers to such projects, and have undertaken similar work in other churches and on Tudor costumes for Halls Croft. This year, Kay and Julie are hoping to continue working on the pelmet of the altar frontal belonging to St Michael and All Angels Church in Claverdon as soon as the current situation allows.

Restored Altar Frontal In Place

Hall’s Croft

For the past year two STRADFAS volunteers, Kay Anderson and Rosemary Applin, have been working with staff at Hall’s Croft, the home of Shakespeare’s daughter Susanna and her husband Dr. John Hall, to recreate dresses that would have been worn by Susanna and her daughter, Elizabeth, in 1617.  These dresses, complete with the appropriate under garments, are now finished and on display in the entrance hall at Hall’s Croft.

Projects running at the moment include:

Compton Verney

Compton Verney is celebrating the tercentenary of the birth of Capability Brown in 2016.  STRADFAS has a group of volunteers working with the landscape staff to research into the development of the Compton Verney parkland over the centuries and Brown’s work in the park.
To keep up-to-date with the work at Compton Verney click here to go to their website and read the ‘Landscape and Garden Research’ entry.

The Textile Group are now working on conserving and restoring two banners from the early twentieth century  which usually hang in Ladbroke Church. Over the years they have been exposed to the light and parts have been repaired, they are now in desperate need of conservation.

Warwick Museum – Knitting
Warwick Museum at Market Hall in the centre of Warwick has closed for refurbishment. STRADFAS was asked to work with them on a knitting project that would involve the local community and produce a piece of work that would reflect the museums artefacts and be displayed in the window when they reopen. Knitters came to the museum where wool and needles were provided and four workshops were held during the summer  with STRADFAS volunteers there to support people who were not confident about their skills.

Yvonne O’Hara from STRADFAS has designed six hangings to go in each of the six parts of the window and she is skilfully using the squares produced to make the pictures.