After over 3 months in post, I thought it was about time that I put pen to paper and give you all an insight of my first few months in my role as a Historic Environment Intern. I follow in the footsteps of my two predecessors Chris Han and Daniel Longman – who have now both secured roles working in the conservation sector (as the HLF rep would say #winningatheritage) – and during my 12 month fixed term role will be studying for the MSc Building Conservation and Adaptation at the UCLan (University of Central Lancashire).
I joined the team in July 2016, having completed the MPlan Town and Regional Planning, a 4 year undergraduate degree, at the University of Liverpool – not as exotic as my predecessor’s first degree in English – but my academic background in town planning has proved very helpful. Having an understanding of the planning system, has given me a much appreciated head start going into the post. As clichéd as it sounds, I first found out about the role during a guest lecture from Owen himself and after being showed the success of the THI, alongside a presentation on planning enforcement in the heritage sector, I was hooked. I’d always been interested in heritage and have fond memories of my father taking me to Ironbridge Gorge (or rather me begging him to take me) amongst other heritage buildings including mines, salt works and water mills when I was younger (can you tell he’s particularly fond of industrial heritage?), but never really thought that I would be able to combine my degree in town planning and my interest in heritage. This post really was the perfect job at the perfect time.
These first few months have flown by and I honestly cannot believe that I’m nearly a quarter of the way through my post. Work in the conservation team is far from the normal office job and has encompassed training days, numerous trips to the library and frequent site visits amongst a number of other excursions. Particularly memorable trips out of the office have included climbing over barbed wire fences and wading through a sea of nettles to view the grave of Blackie the horse, exploring the cellars of a Grade II listed building by torchlight and a somewhat haunted trip to another listed building in the borough – I will aim to keep you updated on any further memorable excursions throughout the duration of my post.
Any claims as to what this discovery found in the cellar of a Grade II listed building was used for – my hunch suggests an abnormally large fusebox?
I have learnt a lot in my time here so far, but there is still so much to learn! One of the most difficult tasks was simply getting to know Knowsley, despite living in Liverpool for four years; I had never ventured out into Knowsley (apart from obligatory trips to the Safari Park) and was pleasantly surprised by the number of interesting buildings and quaint settlements just a stone’s throw away. If you’re reading this post and have never visited the area, I strongly recommend venturing out and exploring the former agricultural settlements with narrow country roads and wide open fields – you’d be amazed. I started lectures for my MSc at UCLan last Tuesday and am excited to be continuing in education. With three deadlines already set for the end of November and initial talks of the big dissertation, I’m sure with work and university I will be kept nice and busy!
One of my first tasks at work was to push forward with the Town End, Cronton Conservation Area Appraisal (CAA) and Conservation Management Plan (CAMP). The drafts for consultation are now ready and are awaiting the go ahead for the 6-week period of community consultation, which should be in the next few months- watch this space! I have also been working on the CAA and CAMP for the North Park Road and South Park Road conservation areas in Kirkby that offer largely contrasting characteristics from the quaint idyllic Town End, Cronton. Alongside my work to complement the Knowsley Historic Environment Strategy, I have worked on statements of significance for THI buildings, and a number of conservation comments for planning applications. I have been asked numerous times as to what my job entails by friends and families, and one of my fall back explanations is by saying I’m a detective for buildings: reading and researching in hope of finding a lead that helps provide details of its origin and lifespan.
My trusty pile of books that seems to be growing week by week!
Since starting my course and attending training events, it really has hit me hard as to just how lucky I am to have such a fantastic opportunity to gain experience and study at the same time. I will aim to find time to write a monthly blog post from now to the end of my post, keeping you up to date with the work I am doing with the THI and my university ventures.