by Helen Moon
Please allow us to introduce you to Edward Schofield, a familiar and welcoming face at Charlton House, he is our longest serving member of staff after joining the Charlton House team in 2004. Currently Visitor and Operations Manager, Edward leads on the development at Charlton House, and plays a key role in the Leadership Team of the Trust.
What does a typical day look like for you?
There are a myriad reasons to visit Charlton House so the idea of a typical day can sometimes seem alien to the front of house team! Reasons to visit might include attending a meeting, training course, wedding, paranormal investigation, afternoon tea, classical music concert, baby rhyme time, or just to look around, experience the beautiful interiors and soak up over 400 years of history. The house is also home to a book library, toy library, Greenwich Music School, Greenwich Dance, Language School and performance company, Nutkhut. The role of my team is to ensure the house is in tip top condition and, most importantly, that our visitors are taken care of. Whatever the reason for your visit, we always endeavour to provide a warm welcome.
What is your favourite part of the job?
For me, it is the people that make Charlton House – both the folk who work here and our, often regular, visitors. I love seeing groups of familiar faces coming together over coffee and cake, a happy mix of adults, children, dogs, joggers, musicians, dancers, visitors all sharing and creating a welcoming space.
What is the strangest thing you have had to do, or found?
I once had to remove a decapitated squirrel from the entrance during a art exhibition private view!
What is your favourite object at Charlton House, or in the Museum Collections and Archive?
I love the ‘forgotten vault’ in our cellar. For years we never knew what was behind the door as there was no key, so in 2016 we engaged the services of a locksmith who spent two days trying to gain entry. We were all beside ourselves with excitement as the heavy iron door eventually swung open to reveal a treasure trove of items. A box of newspapers in a packing box led us to believe that the room was last used in 1965. The most surprising thing? The 50 year old light bulb still worked!
Can you share an interesting fact about yourself, a hobby or interest?
I have appeared in Hello magazine, I was holding an umbrella for Prince Charles at the time, although more excitedly I have been for tea with the Queen at Buckingham Palace!
What is your advice for anyone looking to work within the Heritage sector?
There are many rewarding jobs across the heritage sector. Working in a small team means that you will inevitably become involved more generally with the work of the organisation, larger organisations are better if you would like to stick within your specialised subject of work.
What are your hopes and visions for the Trust?
I would like to see Charlton House & Gardens recognised as a go-to attraction across London and beyond.