New Job!

In my last post I mentioned that I had a very exciting job interview and I can now reveal that I got the job!!! I’m completely over the moon and have had an amazing time so far in my first week.

I am working for Birmingham Museums Trust as a Visitor Service Assistant at two of their heritage sites – Aston Hall and Sarehole Mill! My week is divided up as follows:

Sarehole Mill: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
Aston Hall: Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The observant among you may have noticed that because I am already working for the Moseley Society Local History Group on Mondays, I’m going to be working 7 days a week (eek!). I think I can manage though because it’s only 11.45 til 4.15 and also a seasonal contract – so better to work more while I can, in case I’m completely unemployed on the 2nd November!

I have only been working for a few days but I have already discovered a bizarre connection between Aston Hall and my work at Highgate cemetery! One of the memorials in my case study is that of George Wombwell, the menagerist, which is topped with a statue of his lion Nero.

nero statue

It turns out that when Wombwell’s circus came to Birmingham it was pitched in the park around Aston Hall. Nero the Lion escaped and had to be caught in a football net from the Aston Villa football club next door! There is an automaton in reception at the hall which tells the story:

automaton

I know I am going to be busy learning all the information I need for tours and visitor questions, but I hope to find time to research the Holte family (who built Aston Hall in 1618 and lived there until 1817) in regards to death and burial. James Watt Junior, son of the famous industrialist, also lived at the Hall from 1819 until his death in 1848, so perhaps I can find out some information about his funeral too.

Sarehole Mill is a fascinating place, especially for it’s connection to J. R. R. Tolkien. Tolkien lived near the mill as a child and it inspired him to create The Shire. Although the family had moved to Edgbaston before his mothers death, he still had family living in Moseley and Kings Heath (my own childhood stomping ground), so I may be able to track down some information about their burials too.

I’m definitely going to have an exciting summer! Hopefully all the working and running around (especially between the tea room and dishwasher at Sarehole) will keep me fit, and the beautiful surroundings will inspire me to think and research. One thing for sure though, I will be eating a lot of amazing homemade cake!

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