A trip to the dockyard

Shortly after finishing up at the Science Museum, I put my name down to volunteer at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. It’s one of my favourite places and I figured if I could get a research place there I’d be pretty much as close to heaven as I’m ever likely to get.

The volunteer system that they use at the dockyard is Internet based whereby an interested party fills out a series of fields including general interests. These details are considered whenever a new project comes up and the relevant people are emailed about the opportunities.

Well, shortly before Christmas, I received an email detailing a new project in the library and I wrote off showing my interest in taking part in it. There then followed a few emails betwixt and between me, the volunteer coordinator, Kirsty and the woman in charge of the project itself, Heather. Eventually it was arranged that I’d come in for a chat to discuss the project.

And today was the day for the chat so, armed with little more than my phone and my passport, I headed down to Portsmouth.

I’m fairly certain I’ve mentioned that my favourite ship is permanently docked at Portsmouth and I always seem to take numerous photos of it regardless of the fact that it never changes. So, obviously, here’s another one.

HMS Warrior (1860)

Now that that’s out of the way…I had to report to the security office in order to get clearance and a pass because the library is inside the dockyard rather than where the tourists are allowed. The reason for the security is because the dockyard is still an active military base. There is a whole area under quite strong and obvious security and this is where the library is located.

Handing over my passport, having a photo taken and, subsequently getting a pass which allowed me to be escorted around, was all pretty painless (the security people I dealt with today we all very nice and cheerful) and I was soon being taken to the library where I met Heather.

It was Heather’s first day back from holidays and she seemed a bit flustered though it didn’t stop her managing to deal with a number of queries as well as me with the sort of efficiency one expects from a librarian. She introduced herself then showed me around the library stacks and the office where I’d be working and, finally, checked what day I could come in. After I said Wednesday she shook her head and so we decided on Tuesday instead.

And basically, that was that. Heather then said she’d email me (and the other 4,000 volunteers who’d applied for the Library Amalgamation Project) later in the week to let me know what was happening, before escorting me off the premises. I handed in my pass then left for home.

The project entails the amalgamation of six library collections where there’s quite a few duplication in holdings. Given all the libraries are to do with the Royal Navy I guess it’s not really surprising that sometimes there are more than one copy of various books. Sometimes, according to Heather, there can be ten or more. So the amalgamation project is in order to ascertain the fate of each book be it keep or remove or wait for a bit.

The project is right up my alley and something that my Masters in Library Science has more than prepared me for. It definitely suits my desire for order and consistency.

Anyway, if Heather wants me, I’ll probably be starting the week after Easter. I’m assuming she will still want me and I’m totally looking forward to it.

Once home, I straight away took the girls to the park in order to help relieve their boredom. While walking we met a chap with a terrier called Pip who decided to walk with us so Pip could play with Freya, which she did. And then, just as we were leaving the park, we ran into the always boisterous Luna who decided to have a jolly good roll around with both Freya and an increasingly annoyed Emma. I stood chatting to Luna’s owner (who has had a haircut) while they all carried on.

Before I finish this post, here’s another photo from Portsmouth which shows the new bus interchange just outside the station. The last few times I’ve been down, the area has been obscured by hoardings and littered with inconvenient signage but now it’s all finished and, I think, looks pretty good.

The old interchange used to be on the road, between the station and the dockyard and always made it quite tricky walking between the two. Now the area is delightfully devoid of buses and transport personnel, making for a much more pleasant walk around to the dockyard.

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1 Response to A trip to the dockyard

  1. mum cook says:

    I know you told me all about it which I enjoyed but read it all again and saw the WARRIOR Love it always think of Grandad when you talk about ships and going to Portsmouth one place i have to go back to when i come over, Love mum xxxxx

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