heritage volunteers

The charitable status of The Arts Society Birmingham is based, in part, on the existence of volunteers in its associated societies working on heritage projects in their area. The Heritage team at NADFAS House in London scrutinises and approves all projects.

The Arts Society Birmingham has groups of members working under the umbrella of Heritage Volunteers, all undertaking very valuable work, often under the supervision of restoration experts.

Mary Price, who heads up the Heritage Volunteers (standing) with members of the textile group who are working on canvas kneelers for Stonyhurst College


  • Textile Volunteers are stitching canvases for long kneelers for a chapel in Stonyhurst College in Lancashire following a design produced by Helen McCook, who worked on the embroidery for the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress. In November 2013 the embroiderers worked on one of the kneelers at the Volunteers’ Day Exhibition which took place at Kensington Town Hall to celebrate 40 years of NADFAS volunteering.
  • Heritage Volunteers work in the Special Collections Archive and the book conservation project, both at Birmingham University.

Mary Price, Heritage Volunteer Representative, oversees the Heritage Projects for The Arts Society Birmingham. She is always keen to hear about any new initiatives that could be of interest to our Members.

Tapestry Designer, Helen McCook


  • Two members have undertaken an audit of the Gun Barrel Proof Museum prior to its accreditation.
  • In 2007 volunteers were recruited from amongst BDFAS members to catalogue and clean the Franklin Collection of Chinese ceramics, now on permanent display in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.
  • Renovation of a 200 year old Trophy of Arms at the Gun Barrel Proof House – a two year project which included dismantling, cleaning and polishing over 1,000 metal parts before reassembling and returning to display on the main staircase of the Proof House.
  • Work was completed on textiles for Harvington Hall, Coughton Court and the Birmingham Oratory and we have also worked on conserving Victorian church Banners.
  • May 2008 – a wonderful collection of photographs of historic vestments at St. Chad’s Cathedral taken by Dr. John Davis, with a comprehensive catalogue compiled by Dr. Margaret Davis, were presented to Canon Browne at St. Chad’s Cathedral.
  • A group cleaned the silver collection at the Birmingham Assay Office under the guidance of Dr Sally Baggott, the Curator and Archivist, in preparation for the bicentenary celebrations to mark the death of Matthew Boulton.

The volunteers with the Trophy of Arms at the Gun Barrel Proof House.

Dr Margaret Davis, Dr John Davis, Canon Pat Browne Dean of St Chad’s, Mary Price Coordinator of the Heritage Volunteers.