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NMM Volunteer Newsletter

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NMM Volunteer Newsletter

NMM Volunteer Newsletter

    January 2010, issue 1

    Welcome to this first issue of your newsletter

    been compiled by the staff in volunteer tour guides so that

    the Volunteers Office (Helen we can build up teams in the

    Webb and John Hogg) but it Queen‟s House and main

    is intended to be your museum comparable to that

    newsletter so we hope you‟ll already running at the Royal

    be contributing the bulk of Observatory.

    the copy in future issues.

    During 2010 we also hope to

     If you can draw a good get involved in a fascinating cartoon or small sketch send project to catalogue 1915 it in. If you are a Crew Lists. Some original We are pleased to offer this Campanologist, Apiarist, Lists are held in the Caird newsletter as a new means Philatelist or Geologist or Library and the remainder of communicating between have any other interests and are stored at The National volunteers. We have over want to write and tell us a bit Archives at Kew. The aim is 100 volunteers here at the about them, please do so. A to transfer the data from the NMM and you‟re all doing maritime or astronomical Lists onto a central fine and much appreciated theme are not compulsory. database which can then be work. However you‟re fairly Perhaps you have an accessed by researchers, scattered and often not interesting life experience or and especially by family aware of one another. This would like to tell us about historians, worldwide. We newsletter is just a starting your role as a volunteer. Put anticipate that volunteers point we hope to create pen to paper, pick up the working on this project will opportunities for you to meet phone or jump on the do so from home which will each other more frequently keyboard. We want to hear mark a whole new departure in 2010. We‟re also aiming from you. for us, and draw in high this newsletter at staff numbers of applicants. It members who act as your We plan to publish more may prove to be the biggest coordinators. We warmly single volunteering project images in future issues so if welcome feedback and you‟ve any that you‟d like to the Museum has undertaken. contributions. share let us know. The

    themes we‟re aiming for are Like all organisations who In fact we‟d like to launch foreign travel and / or welcome volunteers, we‟re this first issue with a volunteering. always on the look out for challenge! Can you come more people to swell our up with a better title? Write The Year Ahead ranks. If you have a relative and let us know. Two of our or friend who might be best so far are “The Star interested in volunteering do We anticipate that 2010 will Ship Times” and “The tell them about our website, bring an increase in the Volunteer”. There's a small or even suggest they come number of roles available for prize for the successful entry, in for an informal chat with volunteers across the so do get thinking. us in the Volunteers Office. Museum. Please visit our

    website to learn more. Our aim is to produce Perhaps you‟d like to learn We‟re currently offering something you enjoy more about the Museum roles in sea charts reading which is a mix of and how it operates. If so, cataloguing and the practical information about do get in touch. Human Membership Department. volunteering and general Resources Dept have We‟re also looking for more articles. This issue has

    broadened their 2-day employed at the University course, a further induction course for new of Warwick where he taught demonstration of this staff to include volunteers, modern British History. He continuing naval / national and the results have been has worked in publishing, relationship.

    very successful. It doesn‟t was previously a junior

    matter if you‟re not a „new research fellow at the JH: Have you a

    starter‟. The 2 days University of Oxford and favourite item or exhibit generally include a trip to completed his doctorate which you would care to one of the Museum‟s 3 while at the Victoria & Albert tell us about?

    outstations plus a Museum. He has now re-

    planetarium show, and there located to the London QC: The model of the are usually spare places. Borough of Hackney. King George V battleship

    situated near the E-Library.

     JH: Could you give me a The ship was commissioned

    brief outline of your in 1940 and in addition to

    average day? assisting at the sinking of

    the Bismarck served in the

    QC: Having only recently Mediterranean and the

    started here at the Museum Pacific theatres during the

    every day is new and war. It is difficult for me to

    different as I am still finding look at it even for a short

    my way round. Currently my time without wanting to find

    main thoughts are centered out more about the vessel

    on our plans for the new and its construction, life

    Royal Naval Gallery which is onboard or the specific

    currently scheduled to open people who manned the

    in 2013. In addition to ship through the war years

    reviewing possible themes and beyond. To me it is a

     for the gallery we are gateway to a time gone by

    looking across the amazing and an indication that we array of objects, images and still have so much to learn

    texts that the museum holds even about our recent past. A life in the day of Quintin relating to Britain's naval

    Colville history. Narrowing this JH: Do you have a

    down is quite a challenge! specific preference to any Here's the first in a regular particular period in history? series of interviews. The The periods of naval history

    interviewer is John Hogg. we are concentrating on are QC: I have no particular thththWe plan to interview NMM the 18 19 and 20 favourite as there is such a staff, volunteers and centuries. We are wide spectrum of naval others to showcase particularly interested in history available, and so people who keep this exploring the ways in which much of it has direct Museum up and running the history of the Royal relevance to our lives today day by day. Suggestions Navy and the history of and to British society. for future interviewees Britain itself have been However, my academic would be gratefully closely interwoven. This interests focus on the late received. linkage is most dramatic Victorian period through to

    during wartime, but the navy the 1960s.

    Quintin Colville is the NMM‟s has had so many other roles

    Curator of Naval History and too, as a guardian of trade JH: Is there a particular started work here in October and empire, an innovator of character from naval

    2009. new technologies and as a history that has interested

    rich source of national myths. you above all others?

    Quintin originates from The extraordinary impact of

    Sussex though prior to Nelson on British culture QC: Probably the highs joining the Museum he was across two centuries is, of and lows of Admiral „Jackie‟

    Fisher, an admiral who Fisher criticised over his that is on view and for sale lacked Nelson's glories but campaign in the Dardanelles there is amazing also and not his persistence. He was during WW1. can be bought by the a firm believer in progress, general public as well as technology and meritocracy. JH: Have you any people in the trade. For these reasons, and interests separate from

    many more besides, Fisher Naval History?

    was a bit of a controversial

    character and prone to Classified ads QC: My interests are

    upsetting others. His almost certainly mainly

    irascible memos, filled with gastronomic. If we can If you have an important capital letters, exclamation summon the energy on a family or Museum related marks and triple Saturday morning my wife announcement, or an article underlinings, were the stuff and I head for Billingsgate for sale you would like to of legend. He clashed with Fish Market followed by a advertise in this section, a lot of people during his „full English‟ breakfast in please forward details to the career over both naval and their brilliant Cockney Volunteers Office by political issues, not least greasy spoon café. The Wednesday 31 March 2010Winston Churchill who variety of fish and seafood

British Museum on the Line: Guests from the British Museum Volunteer Programme enjoying a trip to Greenwich last

    year. (Image courtesy of BMVP)

    Can you help? Do you have any you could mail. You‟ll be helping fund

    forward from your personal a guide dog for the blind.

    letters? Just cut or tear them Here in the Volunteers

    Did you know? Office we‟re collecting used from the envelopes and

    forward them by internal postage stamps for charity.

    HMS Bounty was fitted out Q. What other benefits do “We need one of those for her voyage to the South you offer? camping stoves” Ernie said Seas in Deptford. “why don‟t we chip in a few

    quid each and buy one?” A. All volunteers should be

    Fletcher Christian attended registered with us in the

    Cockermouth Grammar Volunteers Office and The three friends agreed on School at the same time as should have received a ?10 each and Archie visited William Wordsworth. swipe ID card. On his local hardware shop on Wordsworth was a younger presentation of your ID you his way home. He found a pupil but they would almost can get discounts of 30% in stove for ?30.

    certainly have been the Galley and Paul‟s café

    acquainted at some point as well as 20% off in the He approached the assistant during their education at the shop (except on sale items). with an offer which was not school. We also offer substantial refused. The assistant

    savings on travel, insurance agreed to pretend that the William Bligh named a hill in and holidays if you join the stove had been shop soiled

    CSMA Club. It‟s all listed in Tasmania Nelson‟s Hill in and reduced to ?25. So ?25 honour of Bounty‟s botanist the Volunteer Handbook went into the till, ?2 went

    ask your coordinator if you David Nelson. Today it is direct to the assistant for his named Mount Nelson and is need an up-to-date version. trouble, and Archie was left the site of Hobart University. with ?3 to distribute amongst

    Q I‟d like to expand my his friends.

    Put it on ICE volunteering. Who do I talk

    to? Next day the weather took a

    turn for the better and an Do you know about the „Put

    A. Always come to the unexpected bright winter it on ICE‟ campaign? It‟s an

    Volunteers Office in the first sun gleamed on the Thames. initiative, supported by

    instance. We‟d love to hear Liz had brought a frying pan ambulance services all over

    from you. (Contact details and cups. Ernie supplied the the UK, to help them identify

    are on the final page.) groceries and the three the next of kin of people

    friends breakfasted on who've been rendered

    Cooking the books by bacon sandwiches and unconscious by an accident.

    John Hogg mugs of hot tea. ICE stands for 'In case of

    Emergency' and the idea is

    that people have ICE as one Once upon a time three “What a life” Ernie said with of the contacts on their a sigh. “So you got a good volunteers, Ernie, Liz and

    mobile phones. Should they Archie were chipping rust deal for that stove then be unlucky enough to be Archie.” from a massive battleship

    taken ill the ambulance anchor. They were

    service can type in ICE and equipped with a hut to store “Yes Archie” Liz said, get straight through to the their tools and take a break. “instead of ?10 each you got right person. It was winter and on the it for us for nine each. Well

    third day they were confined done.”

    Some FAQs (frequently to the hut by the incessant

    asked questions) plus rain. “Yes and I gave the answers from the youngster behind the Volunteers Office “It wouldn‟t be so bad if we counter ?2 as well” Archie

    could knock up a brew” said.

    Q. Can I reclaim my travel Ernie said.

    expenses? Ernie lowered his paper with

    “Well I‟ve a spare kettle at a puzzled expression on his A. Yes you can. We offer home. I‟ll fetch it in face.

    up to ?10 per return journey tomorrow…. But there‟s

    and require proof of travel nowhere to plug it in” Liz “What‟s wrong?” Liz said.

    (e.g. ticket). said.

    “Well we had ?30 Programme. I encourage As well as being a fine ship

    altogether” Ernie said. you to contact me if there‟s 'Endurance' was considered anything you‟d like to a happy ship and one of the discuss, and naturally I‟d be most sought after drafts in “Yes” Archie said.

    happy to travel to an the Navy and I felt lucky to outstation (for e.g.) if you get her. During my time on “You got ?5 off the price”

    couldn‟t come to the main board we did two seven museum. month voyages 'down south “Yes” Archie said.

    For the past 10 years I‟ve to the ice'. We sailed from been the House Manager at home waters to the “You gave the young lad

    a National Trust property Caribbean, up one coast of behind the counter ?2”

    near Guildford called South America, the Falkland Clandon Park. I managed Islands and down the ice to “Yes” Archie said.

    an excellent team of nearly Antarctica then back to the 200 volunteers there and I Falklands, the other coast of “The stove then only cost us

    learned a great deal from South America, the ?9”

    working with them. Prior to Caribbean, Gibraltar (for that that I worked alongside last minute shopping) and “That‟s right” Archie said.

    Nadfas volunteers in the home. We did this twice. Law Society Library in “Well three times nine is

    Chancery Lane. I hope to During this time we had twenty seven plus two which

    bring all this experience into various tasks to perform too you gave to the youngster is

    use here at the Museum and numerous to detail but twenty nine, so what

    am very much enjoying including catching live happened to the other

    working here. reindeer on South Georgia, quid?” Ernie said.

    looking for remains of the

     camp set up by Shackleton‟s Presently they finished their

    crew on Elephant Island, break and seated on

    The Wrong Way Round by visiting the British Antarctic upturned milk crates they

    John Hogg Survey bases and ensuring chipped away while the ring

    that the lone yachtsman of metal striking metal

    Chay Blyth had a happy Everyone who goes to sea echoed across the silver

    Christmas. The latter has a wealth of stories to river.

    memory is the one I've relate, and so do I. In my

    chosen to relate. time I‟ve had the honour and The three volunteers

    privilege to meet a serving deliberated over the missing

    It was Christmas 1970 and RN Captain who held the pound for the remainder of

    my first trip „down the ice. Victoria Cross, and to meet that day but they never

    'Endurance' was and still is one of the three survivors found it. Can you?

    always away from home from 'HMS Hood ' which was

    waters at Christmas as this sunk by the 'Bismarck' in

    is when the Antarctic 1941. I was crew of a ship

    summer is in place. which attempted to salvage Introducing myself, by

    Throughout history a major air disaster (no Helen Webb, Volunteer

    seafarers have related tales survivors) in the Irish Sea, Manager, NMM

    of the perils of the storms I've been aground twice and

    around Cape Horn and I can witnessed a ship sink in the Since my arrival at the

    only confirm from my Indian Ocean (no casualties beginning of November

    experience that there's and not my ship). Everyone 2009 I‟ve met quite a few of

    probably no exaggeration in who goes to sea has a you and look forward to

    claims that they‟re the worst favourite ship or boat which meeting the remainder as I

    seas in the world. Our task they've been part of and learn my way around. My

    was to make contact with mine by far was 'HMS core functions are to look

    the yacht 'British Steel' Endurance'. after your interests, recruit

    which was being sailed more people to volunteering

    around the world the wrong and expand the Volunteer

    way by a lone yachtsman cold, tired, hungry and fed think a bottle of something named Chay Blyth (i.e. up from being battered by was passed; perhaps a westwards rather than the the incessant bad weather Christmas gift from the conventional eastwards of the past four days. We all ship‟s company. He turned, taken by other solo watched as ‘British Steel’ continued westward and circumnavigators). edged closer. We weren't then we started cheering

    witnessing a triumphant lone and applauding. The ship‟s

    yachtsman entering the fog horn was sounded and Chay Blyth had a proven

    safety of a harbour we shouted Christmas track record of the

    surrounded by a cheering wishes as we watched him unconventional having

    flotilla of boats decked out in disappear. previously rowed the Atlantic

    coloured bunting, letting off with Andrew Ridgeway. The

    flares and sounding horns crew of the 'Endurance' had Some hours later

    and whistles. We were a proven track record of Endurance’ was at anchor

    witnessing a tiny boat in a partying at every opportunity in a sheltered forgotten bay,

    big sea and a man battling especially at Christmas but it her crew partying. Chay

    to keep her upright and on looked as though we were to Blyth and „British Steel’ were

    course. Though we were be denied this opportunity still at sea braving the

    there to keep an eye on his this time. storms, heading west into

    safety he was completely the record books.

    alone and as one with the It had been agreed that

    elements. unless there was an We hope to publish your emergency no crew member memoirs in all our future would board „British Steel’ ‘Endurance’ was not a big issues so please get writing.

    ship; due to her size and red nor would Chay Blyth be The copy deadlines are: permitted to board painted hull she was

    referred to throughout the Endurance’. We were Wednesday 31 March 2010 permitted to transfer a small Navy as the „Little Red

    Plum’, but she was an supply of fresh food to him Friday 2 July 2010 plus a line of communication Aircraft Carrier in size

    compared to „British Steel’. so he could contact his Friday 1 October 2010 family by ship to shore Eventually Blyth managed to

    come in close to our lee and telephone. In 1970 the days Max 900 words

    of satellite telephone we could pass a telephone

    cable to him. We all watched systems were for the future.

    silently while he spoke to

    Commander Bowden our A line was passed to the

    Captain over the handset. A yacht after we made contact

    call was arranged for him to by boat. The wind and sea Contact us

    speak to his wife and family were too rough for a gun line

    and we waited on deck while and a heaving line was The Volunteers Office is in

    he did so. impossible. The ship's single the East Wing and our Lynx helicopter could not details are:

    Knowing the weather operate safely in those

    conditions we‟d just endured conditions. Helen Webb (Volunteer

    we marvelled how he‟d Manager) 020 8312 6543,

    coped in a vessel so small. Gradually the whole ship‟s hwebb@nmm.ac.uk

    He could have quit if he had company made their way

    wished; lesser men would onto the upper deck. Morale John Hogg (Volunteer

    have. He finished his call, was low as we gathered in Coordinator) 020 8312 8571,

    we took back the cable and I the biting wind. We were jhogg@nmm.ac.uk

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