Tintagel Old Post Office (& Tintagel WI)
This medieval house is bursting with stories but not a lot of space! To work round this the team at National Trust Tintagel Old Post Office work in partnership with their neighbours (Tintagel WI) to showcase their site and engage more of their local community. This year's focus for the festival was on celebrating the 30th anniversary of the restoration work for their wonderful wonky roof - by inviting more people in to share their story, they have also gained new information for their archives.
Rhodri Davies and Joanne McGillivray, National Trust Tintagel Old Post Office, Cornwall
Why we take part
As part of National Trust we feel that it is important to participate in HODs and offer that special, free event for visitors. It allows for greater accessibility, as during the festival more people are able to enjoy learning about the house and its history, regardless of their financial circumstances. Holding it in the adjoining WI Hall, not in the property itself, allows us to work with the WI committee and those that visit the free exhibition often then visit the Old Post Office afterwards.
What we do for HODs
The HOD theme for 2022 led us to think about the roof restoration of 1992 and how we could celebrate this. Archive newspaper articles, architects’ plans/drawings, accounts of the time, photographs, models of the house, items to handle and a photograph slideshow of the Old Post Office roof repairs were used to create a pop-up exhibition. This was held in the WI Hall next door with a knowledgeable member of the Old Post Office team on hand to answer any questions visitors had about the exhibition.
With no budget for events we negotiated with the Tintagel WI President to offer a talk to the ladies in return for use of the WI Hall for the HOD exhibition. Holding it in a separate location meant that more space and focus could be given to the exhibition without it detracting from the visitor experience within the Old Post Office itself.
Working in partnership
It reinforced our shared history with the WI who own the venue next door, as both buildings were once part of the same farm complex and rescued by the same lady. It also strengthened our relationship with village residents and traders.
The difference it makes
HODs has encouraged us to reach out to the local community and other parties more in the future, as we have been surprised with the people who have come forward to share what they know about the house and its history, which has greatly helped improve our knowledge of both and is good for longevity, research and shapes what we will tell visitors in the future.
- Seeing youngsters handling real pieces of the roof and getting an understanding of the materials the house is constructed from.
- A gentleman who was a local historian bringing his own folder on Tintagel research and who had seen the repairs at the time in 1992. His recollection and research enhanced our understanding of the project and the building’s history in general. He had a previously unseen photo of the work and allowed us to scan it for our archives!
- Volunteers liked how it added another dimension to their volunteering roles at the Old Post Office.
Rhodri & Joanne's Top Tips!
Use what you have on site already, celebrate it through HODs and use it as a call to action; for 2022 we were able to highlight the success of the 1992 roof restoration project and show people how National Trust care for special places, whilst demonstrating that such care is ongoing, and that we need continued monetary support, specialist knowledge and traditional buildings skills to do so effectively.
Don’t be put off by the length of the festival – while some places will be able to put on an event for the whole duration, you can still create great experiences, learn a lot, promote your cause and engage with people by participating on just one or two days!