Ellie – Conservation Engagement Assistant (Principal Blogger)
What my job title really means… I’m a hybrid of conservation assistant and engagement officer, which means I have the best of both worlds! I work with the house team preparing Nostell for visitors by cleaning all of the collection and the many many rooms, doing practical conservation work, polishing, monitoring environmental conditions, checking for pests, creating condition reports and other such tasks. The engagement side involes assisting the House and Collections Manager with bringing the house to life by creating exhibitions, assisting the documentation and collections management of the collections, performing audits and inventory checks, designing activities, dressing up in costume, sharing our work with the public through ‘Conservation In Action’ demonstrations, and writing this blog!
Life before Nostell Priory & Parkland… Where to start? After the trials and tribulations of primary and secondary school, music lessons, gymnastics competitions and hockey matches, I found myself reading for a degree in English Literature and spent time volunteering at a local museum, and moved up to the Lake District for a year before coming here to Nostell as Conservation Engagement Assistant.
What would you most like to take home with you from Nostell Priory if you had the chance and why? The whole library! However, not having the space for over seven thousand books, I would take the harpsichord from the Saloon, restore it to playing condition, and enjoy playing it and admiring it as a beautiful piece of craftsmanship.
What is your favourite stately home/castle/historic house/abbey/day out (excluding Nostell, of course) and why? Can I have three? Newstead Abbey (atmospheric and surprising, with wonderful gardens), Bronte Parsonage (for the literary history and the wilderness of the moorland surround), and Dove Cottage (inspiring and in the most gorgeous location). It’s not a coincidence that all three have a literary connection!
Interests… Fellwalking, Musical Instruments, Reading, Writing, Visiting Museums and Historic Houses, Travel and Camping. I have more interests, but we’d be here for a long time…
Favourite colour… Emerald green.
Favourite type of cake/pudding/gateaux/biscuit… I adore Mrs Crimble’s coconut macaroons.
Motto… You don’t stop playing when you grow old, you grow old because you stop playing.
Three words to describe yourself… Spirit of Adventure!
Chris – House and Collections Manager
What my job title really means… Lots of long hours, but doing a lovely varied job which includes looking after beautiful things; research; sharing stories about the house; telling visitors (and sometimes unsuspecting passers-by) all about the house and the people who lived here; stopping the roof falling in; and keeping the paperwork in order.
Life before Nostell Priory & Parkland… I started out as an artist, but got a ‘proper’ job at a music library. Then I began work at Sheffield Museums, first invigilating in galleries, then helping with exhibitions. After that I worked cataloguing collections of paintings and museum artefacts, and lastly worked on the refurbishment of the new Weston Park museum.
What would you most like to take home with you from Nostell Priory if you had the chance and why? I live in, so Nostell is home, so I guess I get to keep everything. But if I leave I’ll take the old cook’s giant wooden spoon. I’d use it to make kedgeree.
What is your favourite stately home/castle/historic house/abbey/day out (excluding Nostell, of course) and why? My favourite cultural place is The Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight, where I grew up. I’m also fond of our near neighbour, Brodsworth Hall.
Interests… Hiding in tents at music festivals, long distance road trips in unreliable cars, nice wine and a bit of telly, my husband’s excellent cooking, reading, writing, and drawing.
Favourite colour… Farrow and Ball Number 84: Green Blue.
Favourite type of cake/pudding/gateaux/biscuit… Partial to a Jammy Dodger.
Motto… Cortex emicabit.
Three words to describe yourself… Once a hippy…
Eilidh – Estate Steward
What my job title really means… I deal with contractors to ensure the building and site utilities are well maintained, and do a bit of health and safety, general operational things and work with the house team in conservation. All sorts of bits and pieces!
Life before Nostell Priory & Parkland… Is there such a thing?? Working for the Trust since November 2009. First as a Conservation Assistant at Smallhythe Place, then Knole, then Bateman’s. Then as House Steward at Sissinghurst Castle. Then I moved up north to join Nostell Priory in January 2012. Prior to the Trust, I was at the University of York studying History of Art, graduating in 2009.
What would you most like to take home with you from Nostell Priory if you had the chance and why? Not sure – only been here a few weeks! Love the Brueghel, though.
What is your favourite stately home/castle/historic house/abbey/day out (excluding Nostell, of course) and why? I love Castle Howard because it’s beautiful! But I’d have to say Smallhythe Place though as it’s where I got my first conservation job; it has a fascinating collection and a barn theatre in the garden which still has loads of productions.
Interests… Reading, Art, Cider, Baking, Dancing Badly, Historic Houses, Music.
Favourite colour… Green!
Favourite type of cake/pudding/gateaux/biscuit… Chocolate cake. (Anything sweet is good though).
Motto… Clan motto: “Touch not the cat bot a glove”.
Three words to describe yourself… Pale and interesting.
Angie – Conservation Assistant
What my job title really means… Dust busting, brush vacuuming, mould removing, furniture moving, pest trapping, light monitoring, tour giving, visitor engaging, back breaking, joint aching, frustrating at times, but most of all 100% rewarding.
Life before Nostell Priory & Parkland… It feels like Nostell has always been part of my life! I started visiting at the age of eight, and spent every summer in the grounds and parkland. I began working in the newly refurbished Function Suite and tearooms in May 1982 when I was sixteen – and it’s now on its third refurbishment! In 1996 I moved from the tearooms to work in the house, and am still here today!
What would you most like to take home with you from Nostell Priory if you had the chance and why? The Billiard Room chandelier. I love things that sparkle!
What is your favourite stately home/castle/historic house/abbey/day out (excluding Nostell, of course) and why? My favourite day out is at Filey, having a long walk along Filey brig and the coastal path walking along the beach and a hot chocolate on the sea front.
Interests… Football, Music, Reading, Family Days Out, Coastal Walking.
Favourite colour… RED (being a Manchester United fan there is no other colour!) 🙂
Favourite type of cake/pudding/gateaux/biscuit… Treacle pudding and custard.
Motto… Live for today, worry about tomorrow when it comes.
Three words to describe yourself… Enthusiastic, Knowledgable, Helpful. (Disclaimer: Angie pointed out that she asked some of the volunteers to provide the three words describing herself, as she was too modest to say them herself!)
Julie – Housekeeping Assistant
What my job title really means… I do everything – I’m a superwoman! Job title says housekeeper, but I do anything and everything. You name it, I do it! What would you like me to do? I don’t like checking the pest traps though, as I don’t like spiders…
Life before Nostell Priory & Parkland… Well after growing up in the Dark Ages (as my daughter says) in beautiful Durham city I left about 30 years ago because I married a Yorkshireman. I still miss the stottie cakes and peas pudding! I ran a canteen on a building site and have seen my fair share of builders’ bums!
What would you most like to take home with you from Nostell Priory if you had the chance and why? I think it would be the child’s chair and footstool in the Saloon because they are really cute! Also like the spooky picture (you know, the one with the moon) in the Small Dining Room.
What is your favourite stately home/castle/historic house/abbey/day out (excluding Nostell, of course) and why? It would have to be Durham cathedral and the riverbank. I love going to the top and looking out at the view! I enjoy the history, the bones, the relics, the stained glass windows, the big door knocker on the northern door… although sometimes the choir make me laugh!
Interests… Baking, Family, Home Decorating (well I like to think so!), Reading, and Spending Time With My Grandson
Favourite colour… Red – I have a red and black bathroom, red and cream living room, and a red and black kitchen so it has to be red!
Favourite type of cake/pudding/gateaux/biscuit… Lemon meringue pie
Motto… It’ll be fine!
Three words to describe yourself… Queen of Cakes (Note: the house team can verify that Julie’s cakes are indeed absolutely delicious!)
Jacqui – Housekeeping Assistant
What my job title really means… Being really new to the role, I’ve a lot to learn. The job is varied and I’m so excited to be a part of the house, preparing it for visitors to enjoy their experience and making a difference.
Life before Nostell Priory & Parkland… A full-time mum, wife, carer and school cleaner – all fulfilling in different ways. Now I’m doing something very special, exciting, and rewarding.
What would you most like to take home with you from Nostell Priory if you had the chance and why? The Dolls’ House, so that I can look at it before I go to work (and set my bearings as I’m still finding my way around the house!)
What is your favourite stately home/castle/historic house/abbey/day out (excluding Nostell, of course) and why? Downton Abbey – the period, the house in it’s full splendour, the clothes… I know it’s not real but I love it! Otherwise…the Tower of London, just for the Crown Jewels!
Interests… Walking my Cocker Spaniel called Harvey, Gardening, everything to do with Nature!
Favourite colour… Black
Favourite type of cake/pudding/gateaux/biscuit… Everything sweet but especially Manchester Tart!
Motto… You can do anything you set your mind to.
Three words to describe yourself… Loving, Caring, and Sensitive