Second year student Aneeka Shezad tells us about her work placement…
For my work placement, I volunteer as an Aston Hall Heritage Interpreter. My role includes giving visitors a detailed and informative tour of Aston Hall whilst making sure they enjoy their visit. One of the many things that leaves anyone in awe of Aston Hall is one of the rooms inside known as the ‘Long Gallery’, due to its spectacular grandeur and length as it’s 138ft long. But as a result, it’s also one of the coldest rooms too, which is why you can see I’m wrapped up in a huge, warm coat in the photograph.
I guess in a way that’s a downside, that it’s quite cold in Aston Hall but once you get talking and walking, the temperature is long forgotten. And this doesn’t stop anyone from coming, as recently I took around a group of 23 people. It was quite nerve-racking to see so many people as you think to yourself I’ll need to be loud enough, keep their attention but once you begin, you get into the gist of it and the nerves disappear. Surprisingly enough, there are a lot of foreign visitors from all across the world who come to visit Aston hall i.e. from Hungary, Italy, Portugal, America etc. – and luckily enough they do know English so that helps in our case as we do not have any translators.
One thing in particular that sometimes becomes an obstacle is when we have school children visiting, we have to make sure that we do not clash with them so we have to amend the order of the tour, in order to make sure that the visitors are able to fully enjoy Aston Hall without these interruptions so we work around it. For me personally, I enjoy telling the ghost stories to many of the visitors and especially those who haven’t heard them before, it’s interesting to see how their reactions to these ‘presences’ at Aston Hall are.
But all in all, Aston hall is genuinely a lovely place to volunteer, do work placement, visit etc. The rich heritage is practically seeping through the wood panelling and you’re able to see that a lot of effort has been put into this Grade 1 listed building, making sure to preserve it and keep it as it is, as much as possible. I would greatly recommend visiting this place as not a dull moment goes by.