Preserving heritage for future generations is one of the greatest gifts to posterity
From the conservation of books to projects in historic parks and gardens, our Heritage Volunteers are busy all over the UK helping to conserve and protect the nation’s heritage. They work in many different roles including book conservators, stewards and archivists in heritage sites.
If heritage is your passion and you want to make a difference, this might be the role for you. Working closely with the curators and volunteering committee you will get to spend time on these wonderful projects as part of the team.
Stitchers - a new project
Our Stitchers - Stonyhurst College Chapel
Running over a number of years is a project of canvas work kneelers for a Stonyhurst College Chapel.
The Stonyhurst Association provide funding for this extensive project. Volunteers from four different societies are working separately on canvas designs; sewing groups gather in a member’s home to create these masterpieces – works of art which will decorate kneelers in the Sodality Chapel in Stonyhurst College.
On Thursday 13 October 2016, 45 people gathered in the Sodality Chapel for a blessing, by Father John Twist, of newly embroidered kneelers.
It had all begun eight years ago in 2009 when the Stonyhurst Association agreed to commission new kneelers. You may remember that they had funded the restoration of the chapel a few years earlier and this could be seen as a final embellishment.
The National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts, Birmingham volunteer sewers, led by Mary Price, found a designer from the Royal School of Needlework
Helen McCook and Mary Price visited the College where Jan Graffius introduced them to the Sodality Chapel, a collection of vestments and books of hours, which formed the basis for Helen’s designs. (Helen also worked on the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress!) She painted the designs for the twelve long kneelers to fit the choir style pews. She taught the Birmingham sewers five types of stitch to be used and in 2010 three more Lancashire groups joined; Ribble and Craven, South Lakes and Fylde.
The designs are painted on to canvas that is stretched on a long cradle. This enables sewers to work on both sides of the canvas at the same time and the sewing has been under way for seven years! All the volunteers give of their time freely and eight kneelers are complete as can be seen from the photo of them loaded into a van for delivery. The new bases and upholstery were carried out in Birmingham. There still remain four, each 10ft. long to complete which we expect within the next couple of years.
Many votes of thanks were given to the sewers, including from the Headmaster who joined us, for this wonderful gift. In his homily Fr. John Twist told us of Jacob’s dream and the stone on which he rested his head. He said these kneelers are like the stone, they both remind us that this is the Lord’s House.
Our Diarists - Diaries of James Hargreaves
The Heritage Volunteer Project on the diaries from 1894 – 1918 of Backburn business man and philanthropist James Hargreaves has now come to an end. Thanks to the hard work of a team of 14 volunteers who painstakingly transcribed the 23 hand written diaries, subsequently a CD-ROM of the whole collection was produced. The project was funded partially by our Arts Society and by a memeber of the Hargreaves family. Congratulations to all involved.
The possibility of producing a printed copy of the diaries is also under consideration providing there is sufficient interest to help with the funding of such a venture.
James Hargreaves, a merchant who lived in Blackburn, took to writing diaries of important and personal events around the turn of the 19th Century. They reveal, with compelling immediacy, his reactions to the Titanic and the Great War!
Our Cataloguers - Edmondson Buck Collection
“Our work on the Edmundson Buck slide collection is now nearing completion.
The first working party on this project met on 24th January 2014 and consisted of Edwin Gretton, Michael Brasier- Creagh, Donald Harrison and myself.
The object of the work was the identification, annotation and cataloguing of the collection of slides of Clitheroe and the surrounding area of the Ribble Valley taken by Mr Buck during the the first 30 Years of the 20th century.
This information was then digitised and put onto the Red Rose Collection website to enable anyone interested to access this material.
Later, two other volunteers, Mike Ellacott and Iain Hulland took over the work and together they have steered the project towards an impressive conclusion with a huge number of the original slides now available online as well as producing an excellent user guide and index.
This Heritage work on behalf of our Arts Society richly deserves our praise.” Alan Jackson, Heritage Volunteers co-ordinator.
Edmundson Buck was a self-taught photographer, naturalist and student of local history, whose photographs documented life in the Clitheroe area and Ribble and Hodder valleys in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
He photographed beauty spots, places of local historical interest and all the old Halls in the area, many of which have now been demolished or put to other uses. Most slides are in monochrome but some later images are in colour.
He left a collection of over 750 glass slide photographs, lost for decades, very nearly damaged beyond recovery and now preserved by the Lancashire Library Service. The photographs have been saved as digital images but without accurate details of their location and importance.
Members of the Arts Society of Ribble and Craven Heritage Team have been working to make the collection an accessible and usable resource for the casual enquirer, family history researcher and professional social historian.
Our brief is to verify the locations Buck identified on his photographic plates (which involves much cycling and walking!) and to write a short, accurate summary of the image’s location, importance and any key details of historical or socio-economic note.
The images, while valuable in their own right, are now being accompanied by a fuller context to enrich readers’ understanding.
We are also producing a detailed Index to allow users to find what they want quickly and easily, and a second index allows us to follow, for example, the entire course of the Hodder from its source to its union with the Ribble and Calder.
There is still much to do, but the Collection is being used already by ex-patriots tracking their family roots, and historians and a land-use specialist analysing farming practices during this period.
It is a truly unique and irreplaceable resources which we are proud to help to “bring to light”.
Become a member of the society
Membership gives you access to The Arts Society Ribble & Craven lectures, day of special interest, trips and volunteering activities. You will also gain access to The Arts Society national and regional events and lectures. Plus, the excellent Review Magazine will be sent to your address.
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