Wednesday, 14 January 2015

The National Trust needs you!

Fancy joining the team? 

We're currently recruiting for a wide range of roles both seasonal and permanent, part and full-time. Read on to find out a little more about working in the different departments and what the jobs might entail.

Where to look?

Visit the National Trust jobsite to get all the details and apply. You will need to set up an account to apply but can search without doing this. Use the keyword search either by property name, job type or the IRC number for each post. Alternatively follow the links below. 

Where can I work?

The jobs below are specific to Beningbrough Hall, Gallery and Gardens but there are also opportunities currently being advertised at other properties in York: Goddards House and Gardens next to the racecourse on Tadcaster Road and Treasurer's House in the city centre next to York Minster.

Learning Assistant

IRC21081, closing date 20th January, £6.90 per hour, fixed term 150 hour contract. 

The Minster School enjoying a free workshop 
(c) National Trust Images / Sue Jordan
As someone who loves to share their knowledge with the next generation, you’ll find yourself part of a team who just love to bring history to life through interactive hands on activities. You’ll help children and adults step back in time whether you’re Samuel  Pepys or his maid Jane, a Victorian Servant or just you, you’ll engage, excite and interest your audience every time with the stories of the hall and it’s collection. Working alongside the Learning and Engagement Officer, you will assist in the delivery of the shared learning programme designed in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery and ensure each element is delivered to a high standard.

Click here for full details.

Catering Assistant

IRC20507, closing date 18th January, £6.50 per hour, fixed term contract.

Serving in the walled garden restaurant
(c) National Trust Images / Chris Lacey

You’ll prepare food and serve our customers. Whether it’s a hot meal, a home-baked cake or a refreshing, hits-the-spot cup of tea, you’ll make sure everything’s looking good and properly priced. Yes, it can be hard work, with lots of customers to serve, but that’s the beauty of working in a great team: you’re never on your own and there’s always someone to turn to for support.

Click here for full details.

Visitor Services Assistant (Events)

IRC21391, closing date 26th January, £3,456.00 per annum, permanent 460 hours per annum.

Meeting visitors during Halloween
(c) National Trust Images / Christina Surdhar

Getting to know our audiences, you’ll plan and deliver our main events throughout the year. Working with the Learning and Engagement Officer and the Marketing and Communications Coordinator , as well as managing a team of volunteers, you’ll ensure all bases are covered when it comes to the execution of the events. You’ll bring your excellent planning and organisational skills to the role and use them to manage your time effectively and plan the events from the ideas stage, right through to the delivery on the day.

Click here for full details

Visitor Reception Assistant

IRC21326, closing date 23 January, £7.51 per hour, permanent 600 hours per annum
IRC20866, closing date 19th January, £7.51 per hour, fixed term

Putting your excellent people skills and sales focussed attitude to the best possible use, you’ll be selling admission tickets, promoting membership and Gift Aid – helping us to meet our targets. Most importantly, you’ll be focussed on maximising the amount of revenue we make from every visitor, letting them know that the money they spend is invested back into the properties they love, properties like ours.

Click here for detail on the permanent or fixed term role.

Visitor Services Assistant (Hall)

IRC20879, closing date 21st January, £6.50 per hour fixed term contract.

Talking about the portraits and furniture
(c) National Trust Images / Chris Lacey

You’ve got a smile and a story for everyone. That’s something all our people have in common. We’d also like you to have experience in customer service. You’ll love working with people of all ages, and always strive to make a good impression. You have a great eye for detail, and a flexible way of working. Ideally, you’ll have a genuine knowledge and interest in the work of the National Trust.

Click here for full details.


IRC21521, closing date 26th January, 2 x fixed term roles available, £7.51 per hour.

Nothing beats the buzz of working in a lively, close-knit kitchen with talented, committed people. It’s how great culinary things happen. You’ll conjure up mouth-watering dishes, making sure everything is fresh, tasty and beautifully presented time and time again. Your passion for seasonal ingredients will be clear for all to see. But we don’t just want you to serve great food. You’ll also ensure that all of our catering outlets are always presented to the highest possible standards.

Click here for full details.

Visitor Services Cleaner 

IRC21055, closing date 19th January, permanent part-time, £3640 560 hours per annum.

Looking after the furniture
(c) National Trust Images / Christina Surdhar

As a key member of the housekeeping team, you’ll make sure that high standards of cleaning, presentation and hygiene are maintained in our visitor services areas. The role mainly entails routine cleaning of visitor areas and routes e.g. shop, offices, and toilets when the property is open 7 days week. When required you will also assist the housekeeping team with cleaning duties in the mansion, holiday cottage and Victorian Laundry to ensure that these areas and their contents are well cared for and presented for visitors and guests to enjoy.

Click here for full details.

Retail Assistant

IRC20864, closing date 19th January, £6.50 per hour fixed term.

Stocking up the outdoor shop
(c) National Trust Images / Joanne Parker
As a retail assistant you’ll be combining your excellent customer service skills with a warm friendly welcome to all our visitors, as you advise and help visitors to decide on their purchases. Supporting the Retail Manager, you’ll help us to maximise the profit and sales generated at this special place, ensuring that every opportunity is taken to increase our sales, raise ATV and convert our visitors to customers.

Click here for full details.

Visitor Services Supervisor

IRC21327, closing date 18th January, £16,115 (FTE £17,226), permanent annualised 1820 hours per annum.

Beningbrough Hall is an outstanding example of 18th century architecture and portraiture with an intriguing and at times, a somewhat challenging story to tell. The house staff and volunteers engage over 100,000 visitors a year to the house; we need someone with exceptional leadership and motivational skills to head up this team and deliver a fantastic performance for our visitors.  Investing in training and performance management will be key. The role will demand flexibility and an ability to juggle priorities in supporting other teams in the management of contractors and other visitor services tasks. This is a new role and is key to the overall success of the site. It promises to be a very rewarding job for the right candidate.

Click here for full details.

If you want to speak to a member of the team informally about any of the roles call 01904 472027 and we'll be happy to answer any questions.

All paid work applications via the National Trust jobsite.

If you're interested in volunteering with us then the best place to start is with the website where we highlight some of the areas we recruit volunteers and what to do next or look out for future blog posts about specific opportunities to meet new people, develop new skills and build on an area of interest in a beautiful environment whilst making a difference to a conservation charity to boot!



Friday, 19 December 2014

Newton-on-Ouse Art Group Exhibition

An exhibition of original pieces by twenty artists from the Newton-on-Ouse Art Group has been on display in Beningbrough's Hayloft Room this month. Tomorrow will be the exhibition's final weekend - and if you haven't got a present sorted for a special person yet, how about some original local art, or maybe a print? Come and have a browse!

The exhibition celebrates 50 years since the group began, by bringing together a selection of works by current members in various media from watercolour to felt and embroidery.

The artists have been inspired by a variety of subjects. The village and its surroundings have inspired some, such as Betty Hines with her watercolour paintings Driveway to Highfield, Shipton and the scenic All Saints Church from the viewing point of Fisher’s End. Beningbrough Hall and parts of the estate feature in some paintings, and Georgina Bean has chosen York as her subject, in colourful pen and wash.

Unsurprisingly, the beauty of the Yorkshire Dales and Moors is well represented, such as in the striking vinyl and drypoint engravings by John Dawick. There are also images of flora and fauna, with Judith Hartup contributing intricately detailed watercolour paintings on velum, such as Tansy Beetles shown in all their iridescent glory on the tansy plant. Other artists have been inspired by more abstract subjects, and scenes further from home.

Beningbrough is open weekends throughout winter, 11am – 3.30pm. The exhibition is free but normal admission charges to the property apply or free entry to National Trust members.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Christmas is coming ...

Half-term week is over and this morning Margaret and I cleared all the Halloween decorations away. Beningbrough's open at weekends only now, but behind the scenes the team is working away to prepare for the next big seasonal event. Yes, the run up to Christmas is upon us - and it's hard not to get just a teensy bit excited when decorations are going up!

Reception staff put the Christmas tree up in reception this morning. Here Sue and Jenny are about to get stuck into decorating the outdoor area. 

Christmas greenery is going up around the stable block - there's a lovely smell of pine needles!

Mark and Steve from the garden team have come to fix the greenery in place.

Already looking good.

And not very long later, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas ... 

Friday, 31 October 2014

Happy Halloween

The team went all out to celebrate Halloween today at Beningbrough, and there were some fantastic costumes all around the property. Here's a glimpse of what was going on. 

Welcome to the Hall, from Sue on the door

Room guide Val as a Georgian ghost ... 

A very elegant pumpkin, Eugenie in the saloon

Some younger visitors are very interested in Pumpkin Bex

Lots of fun on the Costume Parade

Steve, ready to do the ten minute talk on Lord Lichfield

Jo, behind the scenes in the office

Some fantastic costumed visitors admiring the pumpkins from the Walled Garden

Dawn and Rosie all ready for the evening bat hunt

Christina and Sue in front of the Hall

Happy Halloween from all at Beningbrough!

Friday, 24 October 2014

Behind the Scenes at Beningbrough's Halloween

It was all systems go at Beningbrough today. The team has been working away for several weeks now, on an extravaganza of activities for Halloween half-term week - and today it was setting up day. 

The studio office was full of pumpkin creatures this morning, ready to be put out on the trail. The spider is minus his legs here - they had to be attached once he was in situ, otherwise he'd have been too big to move!

The trail leaflets arrived, to much excitement as they were designed here in house. They're now in Reception, waiting for the first children to arrive in the morning! 

Margaret, master pumpkin monster maker, sets out with the first trolley-load of pumpkins to put out for the trail (covered over for extra secrecy!). 

Margaret with the vampire pumpkin monster. We can't tell you where it is though - you'll have to come and find it!

And here's the skeleton pumpkin - with some little ones from the garden to keep him company.

Yes, this is a pumpkin too - a very ghostly one! 

Meanwhile, Jo was busy decorating the bothy - dealing with yet more scary creatures.

And Sue was in the bothy too, decorating it and setting up the 'guess the weight of the pumpkin' competition. 

It was quite late by the time everything was finished, but great to see all the plans come together. Let Halloween half-term week begin! 

 For more details of what's on at Beningbrough this half-term, visit the website.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Fascinating Fungi

As autumn began approaching, a range of different fungi started to appear in the gardens. Garden Volunteer Bob Mansfield tells us more:

Two recent arrivals at Beningbrough have cause some interest.  The first is this rather dramatic example, seen at a distance on a yew tree in the American Garden:

On closer inspection it looks like this:

The common name for this rather dramatic fungus is ‘Chicken of the Woods’ (laetiporus sulphureus). Other common names include crab of the woods, sulphur shelf, the chicken mushroom, or the chicken fungus, because it apparently tastes like chicken. However, we do not recommend that you take off a slice for the frying pan: the fungus can absorb toxins from the tree in which it is growing, in this case yew, which is highly toxic.

The second example appeared in a grass verge and was spotted at about 11am one day at the beginning of September:

The fungus is very small, about 3 inches high, is almost transparent and has been identified as the Pleated Ink Cap - Parasola Plicatilis (our thanks to Rhona Sutherland from Oswaldkirk for helping us with the identification).  We were lucky to spot this example as it is very short lived – by 2.00pm it looked like this:

.. and an hour later it had completely disappeared.  We will keep our eyes open for fungi and will report any other unusual sightings!

Monday, 22 September 2014

The Lily Tree

Beningbrough volunteer gardener Bob Mansfield recounts the story of a very special tree.

The South Walk is a peaceful and little visited part of the Beningbrough garden, which meanders through a mixture of trees and shrubs, overlooking the parkland meadows.  One tree, however, is rather special, although unremarkable at first glance.

The tree is a Handkerchief Tree, davidia involucrata.

One thing that makes it special is that it's a commemorative tree.

Although Beningbrough does have a number of these, they are mostly memorials to people who have passed away. Not this one.

This Handkerchief Tree is different. It was planted to celebrate a birth. When you turn over the label you find out that this is Lily's tree.

So who is Lily?  Lily is the granddaughter of my friends, Mark and Joanna Caldicott. She was born to Elle and Ben in June 2008 and her grandparents wanted to mark the event with something special and long-lasting – so what better than a tree?

I checked with Gardens and Parks Manager, Des Cotton, who readily agreed to planting a tree, particularly one so unusual as a Handkerchief Tree.  So, in June 2009, gardener Steve, volunteer Bob and father Ben, skilfully aided by one year old Lily and mum, Elle, planted the two year sapling.

Ben, Elle and Lily live some way away so are not able to visit Beningbrough very often to check on the progress of Lily’s tree, but I keep an eye on it weekly, and grandparents Mark and Joanna often visit. In fact the next time the family were able to see the tree was 2 years later, when Lily was three – and here they are with it, moved from its original position as it was suffering from being too exposed.

During the visit, I took a photo of Lily which now graces the family living room and is called ‘Lily in the field’.

And now we come fully up to date. Lily is six, and this month there was another picnic, with another opportunity to see the tree

The family plans to keep visiting annually, and are all looking forward to seeing the tree in spring, in a few years time, when the handkerchief-like bracts will appear. Look out for Lily's tree when you next visit!