Meet the team

Nik Stewart

Shaw House Manager

I have been the manager at Shaw House since 2013 but was already working here as the Training Officer for the wider Council. The thing that I enjoy most about my job is the people, from colleagues, conference customers or visitors having a look around or attending one of our many events. We have a fantastic venue here and it’s great to share it with so many people.

My favourite events are the Fairs, open air cinemas and theatres. It’s a real buzz seeing so many people here enjoying themselves.

What is your favourite room in the House?
Where to start? The King Charles Room with its splendour and history. The Pink and Rose Room where we spend so much time as a team working and planning. I am going to say Dolman 3. It’s small, unpretentious and functional. It works hard for it’s living as it has a variety of uses and it’s where I had my interview for this job which was obviously important for me! I have to say I do like being out and about in the grounds looking back at the House. When you visit you should try it!

What are your hobbies?
I have a degree in Sport Studies and sport in general is my main hobby, whether watching, playing or reading. I played cricket for Thatcham Town for many years and am a lifelong supporter of Reading FC and am a season ticket holder – your sympathies are appreciated!

Do you have an interesting fact about yourself?
I worked at Lord’s Cricket Ground as Manager of their incredibly successful guided tours and Museum for 16 years. It was a fantastic job and a dream for a cricket fan like myself. I commuted everyday from Thatcham and eventually I decided that I wanted to work closer to home as I would be able to spend more time with my family rather than on a train. Lord’s offered me so many opportunities and I even managed to play and score a half century there – which if you had ever seen me bat you would know was bordering on the miraculous!

Heather Evans

Information and Bookings Officer

I started working at Shaw House in 2014 and I love my job because my role is so varied and I get involved with lots of different types of bookings and events. Every enquiry is different, I could be taking calls from brides, theatre companies, paranormal groups, wedding fair organisers, charities or funeral directors and the list goes on!

I also provide show rounds to people who are planning events or corporate bookings as well as assisting with marketing and promotions.

I love the events, especially when the excitement of Christmas builds and the House has been decorated, or the anticipation of everyone arriving for the Summer Fair, seeing people enjoying themselves makes all the hard work worthwhile.

What are your hobbies?
My hobbies are staying in historical buildings. I have stayed in many Landmark Trust properties and enjoy visiting historical locations. I also have two dogs which need lots of walking and two cats to keep me busy!

Do you have an interesting fact about yourself?
I have a qualification in wine tasting.

Judith Mundy

Visitor Services Officer

I have been involved with Shaw House since 2004 when I worked for the Builders (Sapcote) who restored the House, as their Administration Officer. In 2006 I started with West Berkshire Council as Bookings and Information Officer for Shaw House and then in 2008 I moved back to the House and became a Visitors Services Officer and have been in that positions ever since.

I help facilitate the smooth running of the House whether in Conference mode or open to the public, I love my job because it is so varied and no two days are the same. One of my responsibilities is to coordinate the Summer and Christmas Fairs which I really enjoy along with decorating the House ready for special events.

What is your favourite room in the House?
It’s difficult to choose my favourite room in the House - Dolman 1 is so light and bright, King Charles is rich and warm and the Chandos is so elegant – I like them all!

What are your hobbies?
Sewing is my passion, especially patchwork., plus walking, Ceroc and line dancing.

Do you have an interesting fact about yourself?
I qualified as a hairdresser in my early 50’s and sang in a band when I was 16!

Stuart Gorham

Visitor Services Officer

I escaped from Facilities in the corporate buildings to Shaw House in 2013.

A typical day as a VSO is to manage everything from the facilities and bookings for the day, making sure that all of the room are set up correctly, assisting the trainers in setting any technical equipment and wifi. On busy days marshalling the car park is essential. And then when all the rooms are settled, I tend to the gardens and manage other projects in the grounds.

The most satisfying aspect of my job is meeting the diverse selection of people who come to Shaw House and ensuring they have a good experience and leave wanting to visit again.

I enjoy all the events especially ones where the whole team has planned and worked together and we have provided an enjoyable day for our visitors.

What is your favourite room in the House?
My favourite room in the house is the cafe. I find the cafe generates an informal atmosphere where people can relax. It has many interesting and original features which consistently engage even the most casual visitor and lead them on to ask questions and take an interest in the house whilst enjoying the healthy refreshments on offer.

What are your hobbies?
Travel, astronomy, bird watching, listening to music and gardening.

Do you have an interesting fact about yourself?
I have worked as film extra in India.

Adam Elliott

Visitor Services Officer

I have worked at Shaw House since 2010, first as a casual staff member and then I joined on a permanent basis.

I really enjoy working with different people every day, as well as planning and helping to run events. Part of my role is to encourage local youth groups such as Scouts and Guides to interact with the House and grounds and talking to them about the history of the building and town.

What is your favourite room in the House?
The King Charles; it’s one of only two in the House with the original panelling installed in the correct place. The panels are fitted really well, giving the fireplace a good frame, combined with the deep red carpets it creates a really atmospheric mood.

What are your hobbies?
I am a Scout Leader and run my own troop on a Monday evening, delivering an interesting, educational and fun programme to 22 children aged 10-14 year olds. We camp 3 or 4 times a year, mostly weekend camps with one large week long Summer Camp

Do you have an interesting fact about yourself?
I once jumped off of a 30 foot cliff into a lagoon on the coast of Wales.

Carol Edwards

Senior Visitor Services Assistant

I have worked at Shaw House for 7 years and I really enjoy meeting so many different people. We have such a variety of visitors to the House, from people here for training or conferences to families visiting with young children for family activities or just picnicking in the grounds.

My favourite event is the Summer Fair, it’s hard work but so much fun and I love seeing the House full of people and children enjoying themselves, its a really community event.
What is your favourite room in the House?
Definitely the Oak Room – I love the smell it really adds to the sense of history!

What are your hobbies?
Outside of work I enjoy walking my dog, playing golf and socialising.

Christine Anstie

Visitor Services Assistant

I have been working at Shaw House for three years. I really like meeting and welcoming people, especially visitors that show a lot of interest in the House, it’s lovely listening to how much they enjoy walking around each of the rooms!

Do you have a favorite room?
Dolman 1 is my favourite because it is always so bright and has a great view of the grounds.

Do you have any hobbies?
I love to spend time with my family, walking my lovely loyal dog and reading.

Nicola Baker

Visitor Services Assistant

I am delighted to be joining the team at Shaw House as Visitor Services Assistant. As I am local to the area and studied history at university, I am really looking forward to learning all the history and stories behind the House, helping at events and ensuring all our visitors have the best possible experience.

What is your favourite room in the House?
I am still enjoying getting to know all the rooms but I'm sure I will have a favourite soon. It is certainly a unique and fascinating place to work.

What are your hobbies?
I love spending any free time with my family and friends. I am also a keen runner and enjoy taking part in organised races, although a lot of my spare time is spent 'running' around after my two children and their extra curricular activities!

Clare Bromley

Learning and Participation Officer

I have worked at the museum since 2014 at which time the team were based at one of the museum stores as the building was still being refurbished!

My job is so varied and no day is ever exactly the same – for example, one day I may be making the prototypes for the family activity days, another day visiting a school to do a workshop or hosting a visit to the museum, another visiting a care home to do an object handling session and another working on an exhibition with a community partner and steering group.

I really enjoy sharing my interest and knowledge of the museum’s collection with so many different audiences.

What is your favourite exhibition?
Window to My World, an exhibition to commemorate Black History Month 2015, is my favourite exhibition to date. Individuals from the local community shared their stories of heritage and culture through personal objects, images and memories – it was wonderful to work with the individuals and All2gether on this exhibition.

What are your hobbies?
I like to go on ‘busman holidays’ to places where I can appreciate and explore the history and culture.

Do you have an interesting fact about yourself?
I am a qualified secondary school Humanities teacher.

David Elliott

Visitor Services Officer

I originally worked at Shaw House and was there for 6 years before moving over to work at the museum where I have been since 2014.

My job is to welcome visitors, organise the volunteers and manage the general front of house. I really enjoy meeting so many different people as well as being surrounded by amazing artefacts within such historic buildings!

What is your favourite exhibition?
King and Cause

What are your hobbies?
Walking the dog and being a Scout leader.

Do you have an interesting fact about yourself?
I have an identical twin brother

Ruth Howard

Museum Curator

I started working at the museum in early 2013 and I really love working with the collection objects, handling flint tools that were made by humans thousands of years ago is a privilege.

As Curator, I meet visitors that bring in objects for the collection; it is fascinating to hear their memories and to find out the history behind what they have brought. It’s the stories behind the objects that bring them alive. Working with communities to create exhibitions is always interesting and I learn new ways of looking at objects all the time.

I have such a varied job, there is no typical day, I could be repacking objects, researching for an exhibition or checking pest traps for evidence of insects that damage the collection.

What is your favourite exhibition?
I really enjoyed the exhibition in which the volunteers chose an object from the collection that was special to them. The volunteers help in managing the collection and it was lovely to see them all featured in an exhibition and finding out what their favourite object was and why.

What are your hobbies outside work?
I studied art, so I enjoy creating and making. I also love gardening.

Do you have an interesting fact about yourself?
I live in a house that is nearly 400 years old.

Sarah Orr

Historic Environment Record Officer

I am one of the long-standing elements of the heritage team having been permanently employed by West Berkshire Council since 2000, with a few short term projects before then in the museum.

My role involves both protection and management, via the planning process and conservation schemes, and in outreach and education, encouraging the appreciation of the millennia of human activity in our area.

I have the best job acronym within the organisation, being West Berkshire’s HERO (Historic Environment Record Officer). The HER is the evidence base of West Berkshire’s historic environment – my typical day is normally a balance between updating the HER with new information from a variety of sources, and providing data to enquirers such as archaeological contractors, landowners and farmers, students and researchers, local groups and parishes and other West Berkshire Council officers.

What is your favourite place in the West Berkshire area?
It’s difficult to pin down just one – and despite living in the area for many years I can still find new corners to explore. Within a relatively small administrative area there is the contrast of the wide vistas along the Ridgeway and tree-lined byways like Old Street, and atmospheric spots such as Avington’s Norman church or interesting towns like Hungerford.

What are your hobbies outside work?
Gardening, yoga, life drawing and reading novels but I also enjoy travelling and visiting places within and outside the UK.

Do you have an interesting fact about yourself?
I spent 3 years living in Dallas, Texas when it was pretty much like the TV series.