What goes on behind the scenes at Standen House, an Arts & Crafts family home

Our previous members of staff and contributers

Hannah Severn – Conservation & Interpretation Assistant



What my job title really means:

It means that – basically – I get to do a bit of everything!

My role is a training post, so gives me the chance to experience lots of different aspects of historic house management. From preventive conservation and volunteer  management, to buildings maintenance and interpreting the house and its collection  for visitors; I can get a real insight into how the Trust manages and looks after its  historic places.

Life before the National Trust…

I worked in retail for a number of years, and although I enjoyed the interaction with customers, I knew that it wasn’t quite right for me. Alongside my full-time job, I spent many hours volunteering for heritage organisations, including the Trust, and I realised that the heritage sector was where my real interests lay.

I was offered a place at a university in Lincolnshire to study Heritage Studies, which taught me a lot about the management of our heritage and current issues facing the sector. I finished my degree in May 2013 and, after helping at the Trust’s Belton House in Lincolnshire, I was lucky enough to be offered a trainee role here at Standen.

Favourite historic places

It’s too difficult to choose! I have a weakness for grand stately homes, but often it’s the smaller properties that really capture my imagination. LindisfarneCastle in Northumberland is charming and cosy, and Moseley Old Hall in Staffordshire is wonderfully atmospheric.

 Favourite object or thing about Standen

My favourite thing about Standen isn’t really tangible, but it’s something that many of our visitors comment on: the homely and welcoming atmosphere in the house. It still feels like a family home, and I think it’s this that makes a trip to Standen so memorable.

Update – What I’m doing now

After completing my training post at Standen, I am working as Assistant House Steward at the Trust’s Stourhead, a Palladian mansion and landscape garden in Wiltshire.

I’m settling in well and have been able to put into practice the skills and experience I gained while at Standen. The scale, architecture and collection of Stourhead is very different to Standen, and familiarising myself with the place is certainly keeping me busy!

Lizzie Johansson-Hartley – Conservation & Interpretation Assistant

What my job involves:

I am the second graduate intern to take this role here at Standen. I get to experience many different aspects of managing a National Trust house.



I’m learning about preventative conservation, buildings management, environmental monitoring, interpreting collections and volunteer management as well as how our visitor services operate.

Before Standen:

I completed my degree in Ancient History and Archaeology in 2011. I then did some volunteering with the Trust and other Heritage organisations as well as traveling and working abroad with animals and children (not at the same time I might add!)

I went on to complete my Masters in Museum and Heritage Management at Nottingham Trent University last year. This opened my eyes to the breadth of roles and issues that are affecting heritage in the modern world. During this course I was lucky to complete work experience with Historic Royal Palaces, the National Trust as well as a few local council run museums.

This all helped me to decide where I wanted to take my career which was in conservation. Alongside all this volunteering, I worked for the NHS and several local Councils in a variety of roles mainly dealing with customer service.

Just before getting the role here at Standen, I was completing a 4 month conservation internship at Polesden Lacey.

Favourite Historic Place:

Now this is very difficult as I think each historic place has something different to offer. I have been very lucky to have visited many historic sites all over the world.

Abroad, my favourite historic place is Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria, Canada. It is so beautiful and feels, much like Standen, like a proper family home.

In the UK,  my favourite historic place has to be the British Museum – there is just so much to see and amazingly no matter how many times I have visited I have only made it upstairs once!

Favourite object or thing about Standen:

Standen has so many beautiful objects and rooms around the house that it is hard to choose just one thing. I think my favourite thing about Standen is that when I get here, I feel as if I am arriving home. The atmosphere just sucks you in and makes you feel comfortable, almost as if it was your own house.

Amy – Conservation and Interpretation Assistant Intern



I started at Standen in September 2015 as a Conservation and Interpretation Assistant. I’m here to learn as much as possible about how to run the house and look after it over the course of my six month internship. I used to work at the Churchill War Rooms in London, so I’m particularly enjoying the light airy feel of the house and the lovely views of the countryside.

I’m still discovering things in the house, but my favourite object at the moment is Dobbin the rocking horse in the Billiard Room. He has been so well-loved that he clearly shows what a happy family home this was.