8th Aug 2016
I am coming to the end of my studies in Heritage Management at Bath Spa and had the absolute honour of working on the Home of our Delight project as an equivalent to my dissertation.
Whilst helping out on the project I have learnt so much for my future career in the heritage sector (budget planning, exhibition designing, event organising and so much more). But what I want to share with you are the other, more personal, lessons that I have learnt whilst being involved on the project. Here are a few:
- The village and town of Mells and Frome are totally underrated and amazing places to visit.
The quaint cobbled streets, impressive architecture, buzzing art scene, amazing markets, inspiring independent shops, eclectic antique auction houses, fascinating history and general beauty of the landscape are just a few reasons to visit. If you have never visited, I urge you to spend an afternoon exploring Frome and Mells (and whist you are here you may as well take a look at the exhibition and walk the history trail!).
- There are infinite things you don’t know about WWI.
We all know that there are hidden stories and secrets about WWI and that information is withering away with time. I have chosen to study History through all my education including GCSE, A-Level, Degree and Post-Graduate and consequently studied WWI every step of the way. By no means am I an expert but I like to think I have a sound knowledge and understanding of that time. I was so wrong. Since starting the internship with Home of our Delight I have learnt so much.
By exploring and following people’s individual stories, you can get that bit closer to what feels like time-travel, and step in the shoes of soldiers and their families. It’s incredible how reading handwritten letters can make you feel so much closer to the person who composed those words.
I also learnt that being able to read handwritten letters from this time is a skill being lost to the modern world of technology. It is really difficult to decipher those squiggles! You can try for yourself at the exhibition. (Thank you so much students at Frome College for helping to decipher the letters.)
- Six degrees of separation is a real thing.
After meeting the fascinating Raymond Asquith, learning about his family history and visiting his family home at Mells Manor, I just had to tell my mum and dad right away. To which my mum replied “how funny, I met his sister in Bangkok 30 years ago, she came to our wedding and gave us a red toolbox as a wedding gift – it’s still in the garage!” This felt unbelievable.
I then told Jo (project coordinator) about this who told me that on the previous weekend she sat next to someone on the train who was embroidering a Sassoon quote from one of the journals we had been looking at. I’m not joking, I’ve heard these kind of stories about 5 or 6 times in the past 2 months.
- People work really hard for what they believe in.
It has not been uncommon for me to receive emails or notifications at midnight the past 2 months about this project. The makers of this project have had a consistent commitment and dedication to making this project all it deserves. They have truly and entirely engaged with this project in every possible way. They eat, live and breathe Home of our Delight every day. Their passion has inspired me to do the same and give everything I work on my absolute full.
- There’s nothing more rewarding than realising people are engaged with and enjoying your work.
Last month I was able to experience a storytelling workshop by Lisa Kenwright for pupils of Mells First School. The brilliant rendition of the artist Munnings’ life story and his experiences in WWI truly captivated all of us – the pupils too! After the storytelling, we returned to the classroom where we set the pupils off writing their own variation of the story. Two weeks later Jo and I returned to the School to listen to their stories. The pupils’ enthusiasm and talent shone through their written work and I felt delighted to be a part of it. Mells First School, thank you for your participation, I have been greatly impressed by your hard work and creativity, well done!
With less than a month until the launch of the exhibition and heritage trail, it is all go in all directions! I’m so excited to see all the project team’s hard work pulled together at Rook Lane Chapel. It’s an exhibition you really won’t want to miss.