National Civil War Centre

Volunteer Insights - Nick

"It was suggested to me in the Spring of 2015 that I should look to volunteer at the soon to open National Civil War Centre. Michael Constantine (the then Business Manager) had just spoken at the Coddington History Group meeting which my wife and mother-in-law attended. My wife, knowing that I loved history, strongly urged me to contact Andrea (probably to get me out of her way!) Which I did. I was one of the early intake that had to deal with the teething troubles of a fledgling centre, the constant sound of loud drilling and dust, but I enjoyed every minute of it, and still do.
Highlights for me include being invited to attend the Royal opening by Prince Edward, meeting Dan Snow and other illustrious historians, being involved in the walking tours and dressing up!
I was very lucky to have my 50th birthday party in the Tudor Hall. It was a fancy dress party and as host I insisted on being King Charles 1st. I had my own Queen Henrietta and Princess Royal plus a list of illustrious guests that included Elizabeth 1st. I even had my head chopped off specially during the event! A fantastic night organised brilliantly by Mark, Laura, Andrea and Rose. It was shortly after that Mark asked if I would repeat the performance at the Group Travel Show at the NEC in Birmingham. The National Civil War Centre had a fantastic stall at the show and my job was to strut about the venue in all my regal splendour encouraging coach operators to visit the stand and bring their groups to Newark.
All was efficiently organised, banners, leaflets and the odd historical artifact were quickly unloaded and set up and I was invited to change into my Royal costume in the public toilets. It was whilst in the disabled stall that I discovered with a sense of horror that said costume was only not complete but was missing perhaps the most important item, the Kings royal breeches. The thought of spending the day trying to encourage visitors to our stand whilst half dressed as King Charles including long flowing locks but in a pair of blue jeans did not sound like a winning idea. Panic led to desperate measures and fortunately that morning I had put on a black pullover. Needless to say I spent a rather warm day walking around the NEC with my legs stretched through the arms of my jumper and the leftovers tucked into the front much like a well filled medieval cod piece! Mark, Rose and Harriet thought it was most amusing and fortunately no-one noticed. I obviously did a reasonable job because I was invited back the following year!" - Nick, National Civil War Centre Volunteer and part-time King Charles I