Volunteers needed for St Albans History Fair, 10 September 2022

Your Society needs you!

The plans for the History Fair

The Society is holding a History Fair in the Marlborough Road Methodist Church on Saturday 10 September 2022. Some of you will be familiar with the venue which we use for lectures.

Many Council members will be organising stands in the Hall explaining different aspects of the Society’s activities, including Research, Publications, the Clock Tower (which is staffed by volunteers from our Society and the Civic Society), Archaeology (in conjunction with the Welwyn Archaeological Society).

There will also be a rolling display of historic photos from the Society’s extensive collection on a large monitor, and a selection of historic maps showing the evolution of St Albans. There will also be short talks on some fascinating topics from expert members of the Society.

We have invited a variety of other organisations to participate, and already have acceptances from the Friends of the Cathedral, the Civic Society, the St Albans Tour Guides and the London Colney History Society. More updates later.

Preparation for the Fair

We shall have the use of the whole Church between 8am and 5pm, and the Fair itself will run from 10am to 3pm. That allows us a couple of hours for set up, and afterwards for take down, which should be ample. I’m hoping we’ll be able to go home around 4pm, but we have that extra margin should we need it. 

The Hall

We can’t set up in the Hall the evening before because it’s being used from 7pm to 10pm. But we can pre-position some equipment that we’ll need in the Church, so we’ll do that. 

The main spaces are the Hall, where the Society will have its stands and where light refreshments will be available, and the Church, which will be divided into an area used by stands for other local history societies and related organisations, and an area for short talks (10-15 minutes, allowing for questions).

Volunteering opportunities

We need volunteers for setting up in the morning, helping during the day, and taking down in the afternoon. Setting up and taking down should take no more than an hour each, and we don’t expect volunteers to do both; volunteers at 3pm will be particularly welcome, as by then those running the stands will be understandably weary.

Setting up in the morning

Setting up will begin at 8am. Volunteers are asked to enter the Church by the ramp.

Tasks include moving chairs around the Church to create space for the other local organisations who will have their displays there, and creating an area for the short talks. The wooden seats are not light, but one should be easily manageable by most people.

It will also be necessary to move tables and display boards from the Church to the Hall, and erect them. The tables are not heavy and should be easily manageable between two people.

If setting up results in dusty floors, it will be helpful to have volunteers to sweep through the Church and the Hall. Brooms and dustpans will be provided.

There will also be the usual unforeseen jobs to perform.

All this may make you feel thirsty; free tea or coffee will be available to all volunteers. You might even be offered a second cup if you help with the washing up!

During the Fair

Each of the Society’s stand will have an organiser who is planning to roster people to staff the stands. It is possible that more people than we have at present will be needed to help out for an hour or two. Seating will be provided at each stand, and you’ll be able to have free tea or coffee.

If you are interested, please let us know and we will see what specific opportunities there are.

We’ll also need people to welcome visitors to the Fair and direct them to the various activities.

Taking down

From 3pm, the Fair will be closed to visitors and we can begin the take down process.

It will be helpful to have people to sweep the floor of the Church and the Hall, as we can expect visitors to bring in a good deal of dust.

We shall also need to reinstate the seating in the Church; the wooden seats are not light, but one should be easily manageable by most people.

If you have access to a light van, we would welcome help in taking back borrowed tables to the Hatfield Road Methodist Church and the Kingsbury Barn. An assistant to help load and unload the tables would also be useful.

Let us know

If you are able to volunteer or have any questions, please drop me (Peter Bourton) a line at historyfair@stalbanshistory.org, and I’ll respond.

Thank you!