Heritage volunteering at its very best with Holderness DFAS 2016


Photograph of the current Holderness DFAS team from left to right Pat Mars, Pauline Ogram, Denise Thompson, Mary Jones, Pat Gamble

Photograph of  Pat Gamble and her team at work

Heritage volunteering at its very best!

Twenty-three years! – that’s how long members from Holderness DFAS have been working at Burton Constable Hall.  Twenty-five heritage volunteers – that’s how many have had a hand in sorting, recording, cleaning, conserving, repairing, one family’s books, music scores, furnishings and much else besides.

The Constable family have lived at Burton Constable Hall for 700 years.  An imposing Elizabethan mansion, the hall stands in extensive parkland in the south-east corner of Yorkshire, a few miles from the Humber estuary.  Over the centuries, the interiors of the Hall have been ‘modernised’ in line with the latest fashions of the day.  On each occasion, no expense was spared.

In 1992, in order to secure the long term future of the Hall and its historic collections, the Burton Constable Foundation was established as a charitable trust.  Only then, did the house begin to reveal its secrets as it was discovered that nothing had ever been thrown away.  

Enter the Holderness DFAS heritage volunteers…..

Case covers for furniture, lamp shades, swags, braiding, pelmets, Victorian theatrical costumes were sorted and cleaned.  Dozens of tassels, discovered in a very dusty state in the attics, were treated, matched to their rightful chairs and reattached.  Books were dusted, repaired and conserved, with the work carried out on each book being carefully recorded for future reference.  Meantime, the 19th century music scores, including some rare survivals, were conserved and boxed by two specialist volunteers.

Over the years, the team has worked painstakingly to repair and halt the damage that centuries of light, smoke and use has caused to furnishings.  In addition, they have made sun curtains to filter light and new colour-coded case covers. These are used throughout the year to prevent further deterioration of the fragile fabrics.  Although now reduced to a small team of six ladies, the work continues.

The conservation work of Holderness DFAS heritage volunteers can be seen throughout Burton Constable Hall, bearing witness to their dedication to the numerous challenges they have faced.  They deserve our thanks and congratulations!


To find out more about Burton Constable Hall visit www.burtonconstable.com 

Photograph of tassles found in the attic

Photograph of a restored hall chair