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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com