Heritage Volunteers & Heritage Projects

From the conservation of books to projects in historic parks and gardens,  Heritage Volunteers from The Arts Society are busy all over the UK helping to conserve and protect the nation’s heritage. They work in many different roles including book conservators, stewards and archivists in heritage sites.

If heritage is your passion and you want to make a difference, this might be the role for you. Working closely with the curators and volunteering managers of museums, archives, gardens and historic houses, you will get to spend time in these wonderful places as part of the team.

The Arts Society can also provide grants towards heritage projects such as the restoration of the stained glass windows at Undershaw, Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle’s residence in Hindhead.


St Alban’s Church, Hindhead,  creation of an altar kneeler for The Good Shepherd Chapel.

                                  Centre section of the new kneeler nearly complete Jan 2021

The project, to produce a kneeler for The Good Shepherd Chapel, was approved by The Art Society, Grayshott, and the PCC of St Alban’s in 2019.  Hester Whittle, former Young Art Society representative, was commissioned to produce designs for The Good Shepherd Chapel, based on Psalm 23.   Hester’s designs were approved by the PCC and The Art Society Committee.  For practical reasons the kneeler would consist of three large pads each measuring 150cms long and 30cms deep with a depth of 8cms.   The ‘cigarette ignition proof’ pads were ordered together with the canvas and a small quantity of red crewel wool to match the chancel carpet.

Materials arrived at the beginning of March and we were able to cut the canvas into nine segments.   Hester’s designs were photocopied so that each stitcher had a pattern to work from.   Kits for the stitchers were assembled and distributed to the stitchers just before the first lock-down, with instructions to work the isolated items of Hester’s design in isolation, eg sheep, sunsets, fish and birds.  Since the very good progress has been made and the kneeler is nearing completion.

Design for Spring / Summer panel of St Alban’s altar kneeler by Hester Whittle

The stitchers are:

  • Barbara Doyle-Davidson
    Treasurer, Art Society, Grayshott
  • Sally Elliott
    Heritage Volunteer Representative and member of St Alban’s Church
  • St Alban’s Church members;
    • Iris Birch
    • Barbara Dorman
    • Ann Flavell
    • Sandra Philpott
    • Juanita Sherman

Design for Autumn / Winter panel of St Alban’s altar kneeler by Hester Whittle
Design for central panel of St Alban’s altar kneeler by Hester Whittle

Restoration of Kneelers at Royal Surrey County Hospital Chapel

L-R Iris Birch, Stella Livingstone, Sally Elliot, Barbara Doyle-Davidson, Sue Mullane

Restoration work at Royal School Chapel


The project consists of lifting goldwork embroidery from an old school chapel altar frontal and positioning the gold work on to new damask to create a new frontal for the school. The back will be lined with blue damask, making it reversable.


St Albans Church – Kneeler restoration

The first Sunday of Advent is a special date in the Church Calendar but also for our Heritage Volunteers and everyone associated with their Kneelers Project.

In 2012, to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Vicar of St Albans in Hindhead requested some new kneelers for his church. The project received a start-up grant from NADFAS with the condition that St Albans match the funding. Designs featured on the kneelers would come from our local area and themes associated with it and St Albans. Stitching started in February 2013 and the ‘stitchers’ met on Wednesday afternoons at Manormead.

This project has brought organisations in our community together to provide ‘stitchers’, technical wizardy and sponsorship. Several talented members of our society and beyond have given their time and expertise and it has highlighted the work of Heritage Volunteers in our area. The culmination of all this hard work came with the consecration of the kneelers on 30th November and the opportunity for everyone to see them in an exhibition in St Albans during December. Their completion means we can, in collaboration with Young Art, begin to move forward the plans for Heritage Church Trails designed to appeal to Junior School age children.