Avebury Manor has a new House Manager, Amelia Bryan, who is bringing her fresh eyes and a can-do attitude to the National Trust house.
Amelia said she was delighted with her new role: ‘Landing the job of House Manager at Avebury Manor is a fantastic opportunity and I’m really looking forward to seeing what wonderful things we can do as a team for the future.’
It’s been five years now since Avebury Manor was the subject of a BBC television programme ‘The Manor Reborn’ where they decorated every room in the style of a different period – reflecting the people who lived here. Five years on, the house has continued to be a huge attraction and Amelia is looking forward to the opening of a new room to the public next year.
‘Alexander Keiller, the charismatic archaeologist who did much to preserve the Neolithic henge and stone circles of Avebury, lived in Avebury Manor in the 1930s, and in 2017 we’ll be opening up his office/drawing room, where he worked on his archaeological discoveries.’
Asked why she decided to apply for the job here, Amelia replied ‘I love the history of the house, finding out about the people who lived here and the team who help look after it, especially the volunteers, are an inspiration. Unusually for a National Trust property, here you’re allowed to get up close to the exhibits of all periods, to sit in the chairs, read the books or play games – we’ve even got costumes so that families can have dressing up fun – the children love it.’
Amelia has been working for the National Trust for three years, beginning at Dyrham Park training in looking after the history collection and management of volunteers, progressing to conservation assistant before being seconded to A la Ronde in Devon.
‘It’s been a bit of a baptism of fire, as soon as I arrived it’s been straight into organising our Christmas events, so it’s been a great way to get to know the manor and especially the wonderful volunteers that have been helping prepare the festive decorations to make sure the rooms look fantastic.’
Inside Avebury Manor visitors are being invited to wander through Christmas as it was seen in different ages and even dress up as a Georgian and sit at the dining table alongside great luxuries.
Volunteers in the manor have recreated Christmas decorations as seen by the Tudors, Georgians and Victorians – as well as by Keiller in the 1930s.
At Avebury inspiration has been taken from Christina Rossetti lyrics to the Christmas carol to create a warm welcome during the ‘bleak midwinter’. Outside the manor the contrast between cold brisk walk around the standing stones on the crisp mornings and the warmth of a steaming hot chocolate in the café are features of Christmas at Avebury.
‘On frosty mornings, the stone circle at Avebury can be a strikingly beautiful place to be, the earth as hard as the stones, the crystal skies the deepest blue. People say that the fact that they can touch the stones and walk within the circles means that they feel close to their ancestors,’ added Abby George, Marketing Officer for the National Trust at Avebury.
To find out more about the history of Avebury Manor and future events visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/avebury