A new project for volunteers at the David Parr House, Cambridge

We have an opportunity for our Heritage Volunteers to work at the David Parr House in Gwydir Street.  This was the home of David Parr who worked as an artist painter for the Cambridge based decorative firm FR Leach known for their work locally, on Queens’ Old Hall and Jesus College Chapel. In his free time, he painted his terraced house in the same style to produce an extraordinary interior. 

The house is currently closed for conservation work and is due to open towards the end of next year but volunteers are needed in October to carry out research on the house contents, garden design and also the firm of FR Leach and the work they undertook. 

On completion of the restoration work volunteers will be required to use the knowledge they have gained in their research to assist with guiding in the house and garden. 

This will be exciting, ongoing project for The Arts Society Cambridge and will be of interest to all who wish to learn more about late 19th century Cambridge and the work of David Parr.

It shall require commitment, basic IT skills some and care in undertaking research but training and support will be given by the enthusiastic staff of the David Parr House. 

Be part of something special –  if you are interested in taking part in this exciting project or would like more information please contact 

Vicky Field

01223 844235

For more information on the David Parr House






Here is the latest report from Vicky Field who leads our Heritage Volunteers.

Heritage Volunteering Project - Museum of Cambridge 2016

The Museum of Cambridge (formerly the Cambridge and County Folk Museum) tells the history of local social life of Cambridge and Cambridgeshire through its wonderful and eclectic collection of over 20,000 objects. The Museum, housed in a 17th century timber-framed building, which was formerly the White Horse Inn, is visited by over 16,000 people each year and is well known to local residents, both young and old.

This year 5 Cambridge DFAS Volunteers assisted the Museum in preparing their costume and hats collection for safe storage.

The collection includes Victorian and Edwardian dresses, academic robes, theatrical and military costumes and a large number of hats. The work has involved inspecting, recording and photographing the items and packing them into purpose made bags and conservation boxes. 

Fabrics and textiles degrade very quickly without correct and careful storage, so that the work we have carried out has been timely and necessary. 

In order to facilitate our work Cambridge DFAS generously donated £250 towards the cost of storage materials.  High quality conservation grade storage boxes and Tyvek covering materials are expensive but essential items in textile preservation and the financial help received from our society has been warmly welcomed.

The volunteers have been reliable and careful in their work and the experience of working together has been a rewarding one. Carolyn Ferguson, having worked as a volunteer at the Museum for many years, has been most helpful in the project and the rest of us have benefitted from her knowledge and experience of textiles and their care.  

Together our NADFAS volunteers and Museum of Cambridge have forged a new relationship and we shall continue our work there.  The Museum, under its new leadership, has been most appreciative of our work and financial support and they in turn have been supportive and encouraging to our volunteers, which bodes well for future projects. 


Here is Vicky's earlier report about the Volunteers' work at the Museum of Cambridge.

The Museum of Cambridge (formerly the Cambridge and County Folk Museum tells the history of local social life through its wonderful and varied collection.  The old public house in which the Museum is located is visited by over 16,000 people each year and is well known to both young and older residents of Cambridge.  The museum has over 20,000 artefacts with most being donated by local benefactors.  Sadly limited facilities have meant that very few of these have been appropriately researched or documented, particularly with their relevance to Cambridge.  

Earlier this year five volunteers from Cambridge DFAS undertook a short project to initiate this research and documentation.  We looked into the bizarre and ordinary, from birdcages to textiles and clocks and all manner of butter making machinery. Indeed it came as a surprise to our volunteers to find that Cambridge was the only place in England where butter was sold by the linear measure and further research turned up photographs from the city archives depicting butter sellers in the market place with their yard of butter, wrapped in muslin and carried in long wicker trays. 

All this was riveting and absorbing work for the volunteers and of course, we had the opportunity to share the fruits of our research over coffee or lunch.   Indeed between us we put in over 120 hours of work, which was quite a feat in such a short period of time and the Museum is most grateful for the work we carried out.