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Heritage Volunteering

Apart from volunteering to help run our Society, many of our members also volunteer their time and energy to supporting local heritage activities by acting as guides, stewards or helpers, or by undertaking specific projects of work conserving books or other heritage objects, or recording the content and fabric of our local churches. For example:

titsey-placeWe provide a team of volunteer guides to escort the public around Titsey Place, just to the north of Oxted. They mainly guide tours and help improve visitors’ appreciation of the house, the pictures, contents and the garden, as well as its relationship with the Oxted and Limpsfield area and the role of the Gresham and Leveson Gower families in local history.

We have recently completed a project cleaning and restoring the books in the Titsey Place library.

For more information, or to join in, contact the Chairman or Volunteering Organiser.

Down House

We provide a team of volunteers who act as guides or room stewards at Down House. This is where Charles Darwin wrote his ground breaking work “On the Origin of Species” – one of the greatest intellectual breakthroughs of the 19th century, that became the unifying theory of the life sciences. His study has been conserved and returned to how it looked around 1865. The ground floor represents a fine example of how moderately wealthy middle-class English families used to live. The upper floor is devoted to a description and interpretation of Darwin’s journey around the world on the Beagle. This fascinating house is run by English Heritage and is open to the public. We have been stewarding here for more than 10 years.

We have recently been asked to assist with a new project of conservation cleaning.

For more information or to join in as a volunteer, contact the Chairman or the Volunteering Organiser.

 

st-ceciliaChurch Recorders promote the recognition and preservation of the rich artistic heritage that lies, often forgotten, in local churches. When a project is complete we present an illustrated volume detailing each item and its history; copies are also kept in national archives. We have been working with St Mary’s Oxted and that project is gradually coming to an end, but we are thinking about the next one.

It is a fascinating and rewarding activity combining on-site investigation and recording with careful analysis and presentation of the data back at home. A recording team needs the skills of investigators, recorders, researchers, writers, photographers and those with computer skills to prepare what becomes a significant work of historical reference. If you have any of these skills and would like to get involved please contact the Chairman or the Volunteering Organiser.

The image shows the
St. Cecilia window in
St. Peter’s Church,Limpsfield
by John Hayward

heritage-volunteers

Titsey Place Library

Between 2001 and 2012 we completed cleaning, indexing, recording and repairing around 5,000 books at Titsey Place on a bi-weekly visit in the winter. Caroline Bendix trained teams of 12 volunteers.

Altar screen at St. Peter’s Church, Tandridge

The 1800’s Portland Limestone altar screen had been over-painted in 1920’s and ‘50’s. It was dusty, unstable and discoloured from smoke. Judith Wetherall trained 17 volunteers. We vacuumed the dust and loose matter, cleaned the paintwork with solvents, the stonemasons repaired the broken sections and 8 of us ‘touched up’ and over-painted the damage to match the existing paintwork using reversible paints. For more information, or to join in, contact the Chairman or the Volunteering Organiser.