We’ve been working on the Heritage Lottery Fund project to renovate the Central Lodge for the better part of a year now – some of us even longer! Working on a project like this is incredible and brings so many challenges and rewards. As we enter the final few months of the project we’ve been looking back at all of the things we’ve learned so far. And what better way to share these than to write a blog post all about them!
1. You become an expert on everything
In one month you’ll recruit volunteers, find photos in an archive and create interpretation boards. All while maintaining weekly hard hat tours and updating social media daily. No big deal.
All jokes aside, there are so many different activities that go into a Heritage Lottery Fund project and it’s very much an “all hands on deck” scenario. The skills that we’ve gained – how to take photos of a building site, how to write blog posts, how to search an archive, how to create museum style boards on key rooms of the building – are invaluable and we’re so grateful to this project for giving us these amazing opportunities!
2. You’ll know the history of your project forwards and backwards
Weeks of delivering hard hat tours and heritage talks and creating information booklets means that we pretty much dream about the building! We all know the dates off by heart and can tell a loose box from a stall from a mile off. You think knowing who Middlesbrough’s first MP was is cool? Pfft, we can tell you both his wives’ names, where he was born and where he’s buried.
3. You know all of the other Heritage Lottery Fund projects in your area
Being part of a Heritage Lottery Fund project is a very unique experience, and so it’s only natural that you’ll find other projects that you can share stories with. From tours to marketing material, there’s so much to learn from other projects. We always love catching up with Liz from the Middlesbrough Town Hall Project and stealing some of their amazing ideas! (Don’t tell her that!)
I would really recommend heading to the Heritage Lottery Fund website and taking a look at all of the projects in your area, you might be surprised at some of your finds!
4. You’ll learn just as much from the public as they do from you
We’ve found that we learn just as much from the people who attend our talks and tours as they do from us! We’ve met several ex-gardeners who once worked in the park who have their own memories to share. Retired builders have inspected the materials of the Central Lodge and helped us to reveal some of the mysteries. One of my favourite encounters was with a woman whose father often attended Marton Hall as a young boy for parties and firework displays. So many people have their own experiences and piece of history which fits in with our project and we’re so lucky to be able to hear about it.
5. You’ll find you’re interested in things you never thought you would be
Before I got this job I didn’t even know what tuck pointing was, and I certainly didn’t care about fish scale tiles! But I loved seeing the builders shaping Welsh slate to replace the faulty or missing tiles and I can now definitely tell the difference between a Rufford brick and a Bolckow and Vaughan brick! I think part of it is that there’s so much you just don’t know about, or overlook. Some of the Central Lodge’s best features are subtle – the original cupboards, the precise tuck pointing on the bricks, the tile-like glazed bricks in the loose boxes, the dumbwaiters. Now that I’ve discovered them, I’ve found myself extremely interested in the little features of the Central Lodge.
So that’s everything we’ve learned from our project with the Heritage Lottery Fund! We’re busy working on education packs and interpretation boards but in the meantime you can download our first education pack and our information booklet. To register your interest for history tours, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Related post: Hard Hat Tours at the Central Lodge