My background is furniture and wooden objects conservation. Following an MA in Conservation from the Royal College of Art, I practiced at the Victoria and Albert Museum, NMM and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and I am currently Conservator Emeritus at NMM.
I have always been fascinated by Victorian era technology and all things cast iron for which the Crossness site is a gold mine. These massive engines, awe-inspiring in their scale and beauty, and the human endeavour that envisioned the solution and brought them into being are truly wonderous. Being with the volunteers, who clearly feel the same way, is such a pleasure.
My early years were spent in the Notting Hill area of London where I spent my formative years collecting friends from around the globe owing to the highly cosmopolitan and transient nature of that enclave of the city.
Though my academic background is steeped in technology and the sciences, I am more at home in the creative industries. Since university, I’ve managed artists, produced concerts and festivals and since 2002, I’m Proprietor and Director at Shoreditch Studios, photographic and film studios in East London and also Director at Shoreditch London Ltd.
Much of my free time is spent supporting creativity, the arts and heritage in all their forms. I’m happiest when working with under-served communities and young people. At the same time travelling to new places keeps me fresh with alternative perspectives. In between all this I find time to Skydive.
I’ve managed teams of up to 25 people and travelled extensively for my previous job. HR and volunteer management have been key parts of my roles. I’ve also done some volunteering around education, being a school governor and on a local resident/tenant co-op.
I studied Environmental Science for my degree and retain a passion for nature, conservation and industrial archaeology including memberships of RSPB, Soil Association, Canal and Rivers Trust, Ramblers and, of course, Crossness Engine Trust! I’m a keen wildlife gardener and thrilled to have frogs, newts and hedgehogs resident in my garden in Bexleyheath. In my early days as a trustee I’ve been able to get involved in an open day and hope to be able to contribute much more behind the scenes to helping the Trust get the most out of its fantastic heritage.
I have to admit that, prior to a visit to a Garden Rail exhibition in the Boiler House I was not aware of Crossness or the significance of Joseph Bazalgette. Almost as an afterthought, I said to my wife just before we were leaving the exhibition that I wanted to have a quick look at the engines. I did and was hooked. Even now walking into the Beam Engine House reminds me of how I felt on that first visit – amazed at the quality of engineering and the building. Subsequently learning that Bazalgette’s system continues to serve London and that his work saved the lives of tens of thousands of Londoners has only increased that amazement.
Since 2000, I have been the Trust’s Membership Secretary (from 207 members to currently over 500). In 2011, I was appointed as one of two Joint Volunteer Co-ordinators and in 2015, became a Member of the Works Committee and a Trust Board Member, now doing the Minutes for both of these Meetings. I circulate The “Record” to our members and recently, the new Crossness Chronicle to our volunteers.
On Open Days, I seek to engage new Volunteers and Trust members, and to collect Gift Aid payments and declaration forms prior to listing them for the claim to HMRC.
I have volunteered for almost all of my life (and sometimes being volunteered!) and my motivation is “to make a difference”, for which Crossness gives me enormous scope. It is such an inspiring place.
Having also been an active member of another local organisation for 50 years, I (as an ex National Serviceman) was chosen as Greenwich Veteran of the Year 2016, In the 2017 New Year’s Honours List, I was awarded a British Empire Medal for voluntary services to Learning Disability and Heritage (having then been at Crossness for 20 years).
He has been in the plumbing and heating industry all his working life, mainly as a commercial heating engineer in large installations such as hospitals, schools, factories etc, either managing large steam, oil or gas boilers. Previously he spent 14 years running a builders merchants where he set up the buying and sales departments, warehouse storage and deliveries.
Besides mastering the complex procedure for oiling Consort’s 250 oil pots, under the tutelage of Dennis Stanfield, he designed and installed the heating system enjoyed by visitors and volunteers and now maintains the BioMax boiler as well as the oil boilers serving Consort on steaming days. He set up the Scrap Department with Mike Yeo which has yielded more than £36,000 to date.
Ray has always been involved in the voluntary field, initially in youth work, during which he was assistant leader of a Boys’ Club in Petts Wood, a founder member of the County Boys Club and spent 25 years on the Kent Association of Boys’ Clubs Committee. He then transferred his skills to become the House Manager for the Warman Sports Trust for 22 years, encompassing Rugby, Cricket, Badminton and Tennis Clubs, before joining Crossness.
He is passionate about Crossness and believes passing on Bazalgette’s amazing legacy to 21st Century visitors is vital to enhance their knowledge and appreciation of today’s sewage technology.
I moved to the Chief Executives department and became a training officer and Industrial Relations advisor. When redundancies became unavoidable, I was charged with the setting up and running of the Council’s Redeployment function. This I managed until retirement. This post demanded a thorough understanding of Employment Law, the ability to represent the Council at Employment tribunals and the use of my extensive advocacy skills. My job description also demanded that I have in depth counselling skills, a subject that I had experience and considerable training in.
During my time at Crossness, I’ve supervised the design and construction of our formal garden and many other projects. I also act as liaison officer between the Board and volunteers.
In my younger days, I played badminton at league level and was a qualified coach. I have considerable interest and expertise concerning the Japanese sword and the cult of the Samurai. I am an avid “Boot Fair Bargain Hunter”
I’ve known Crossness for many years as my father was a founding member of the Trust and I joined the Trust as a volunteer in 2015. At first, my time was spent preparing and painting various buildings and items of equipment around the site before giving some assistance to the RANG railway; I then took on Health & Safety duties and more recently, became a member of the Board of Trustees.
I enjoy drawing and I’m creating electronic drawings of the site and buildings charting its history through each of the changes that it has gone through. The scale & grandeur of the Victorian engineering & buildings never ceases to amaze me and I’m proud to be part of its future.
I also worked for the commercial arm of the British Museum for a number of years, liaising with exhibition sponsors and other museums across the UK and internationally.
Outside of work, I have always enjoyed volunteering, including working at a number of large music events, and that encouraged me to study event management and to organise a few of my own events – experience I can bring to the Trust to assist with our visitor open days.
I have lived in London for 20 years and find the city’s social history fascinating, especially anything to do with tunnels so Bazalgette’s sewage system and the infrastructure around it are right up my street.