by Helen Moon
Please allow us to introduce you to Carolyn Ayers. Carolyn has been working in heritage since 2012, and after graduating from the University of Greenwich with a first-class honours’ degree in History, Carolyn came to work with the museum and archives at Greenwich Heritage Centre. Carolyn’s first role as a Project Officer at the Heritage Centre was curating an exhibition, ‘Freedom of Spirit’ which explored the role of women’s suffrage in Greenwich.
To this day she still has a passion for women’s suffrage and has worked on many projects over the years, including Greenwich 100, and performed talks on the subject. Carolyn's work as Facilities Manager with the Trust includes working on building projects, the planning and overseeing of maintenance works, procuring and managing contractors and subcontractor relationships, liaising with tenants and hirers and carrying out conservation surveys.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Like so many of my colleagues a typical day for me will vary considerably and will depend upon a variety of things. Most days will start with a cup of tea and going through my emails, then it could be an inspection of a room in the House, meeting a Contractor onsite to discuss works or a catch up with a House user. As part of the Leadership team I will often have reports to read or write. My day will also change depending on what site I am at and what needs doing, for instance I could be at our new museum and archive store one day and then next carrying out a check on the Summer House on the Charlton House estate.
What is your favourite part of the job?
The buildings; the tiny details in the brickwork, the carved wood work, and the fireplaces, the hidden gems that not everyone gets to see such as the exposed lath and plaster work in the attic room.
What is the strangest thing you have had to do, or found?
A pest trap in the bee keepers’ room which was originally placed in the Newton Room. I have no idea how it got there, but somehow this little pest trap made its way up into the attic and into a room nobody uses but for the bee keepers. I often wonder if it was one of the House’s many ghosts!
What is your favourite object at Charlton House, or in the Museum Collections and Archive?
This is a difficult question – it's too hard to pick one thing. I have so many favourite objects, from the tiles in the fireplace to a suffragette ticket we have in our museum collection.
Can you share an interesting fact about yourself, a hobby or interest?
I have a passion for anything and everything to do with the suffragettes. A few years ago, I curated an exhibition on a local suffragette and wrote a little booklet. The exhibition was also featured in Time Out.
What is your advice for anyone looking to work within the Heritage sector?
Volunteering is a great way to get a feel for working in the heritage sector. There are a whole host of roles within the sector, so volunteering is a great way to find out what you like and where your passions and interests lie. Also don’t ever be put off, there are many ways into the heritage sector and being open and adaptable will really help.
What are your hopes and visions for the Trust?
The Trust has some very exciting plans for the House and Grounds as well as for the museum and archive collection. My hope is that we continue to explore and enjoy the history of these amazing assets for generations to come.
I'd also really like a new roof at Charlton House and not have to run around with buckets when it’s a heavy downpour!