Lloyd's place in the history books

Lloyd Langley has a passion for people, places and history. So his job at the National Trust’s Wallington is a dream come true.

Lloyd Langley has a passion for people, places and history. So his job at the National Trust’s Wallington is a dream come true.

ARRIVING at Wallington, in Northumberland, in the Millennium year, was certainly a landmark for me. Fate is a funny thing, because as a child I decided I wanted to become a curator at Wallington.

I’m not from a privileged background and had to work hard to get established. My roots are in the North-East and I’ve previously worked for Tyne and Wear Museums and Beamish Museum. For me history is not “as dry as dust”. It’s about people, and people are fascinating, and every week brings something new:


MY normal working week is Monday to Friday, though I cover for staff holidays some weekends.

I start work at eight in the morning. For four of the five days, my day is divided into different morning and afternoon activities. In the morning, I could be working on the computer, dealing with inquiries or doing management work. Or equally I could be vacuuming the floors and cleaning the toilets as part of the housekeeping! At 1pm, we open to the public so the emphasis is on front-of-house. I may be talking to staff, volunteers or the public or equally glued to the computer dealing with admin.


MOST National Trust properties close one day a week for a full housekeeping day. We usually have a house team meeting, which is a chance for all of the team to be involved in planning.

A manager is only as good as his or her team and my team consisting of Robert, Steve, Kath and Elaine are simply the best! We also have more than 100 volunteers in the house at different times and they are very much a part of the team, too.

I also try to arrange training days or strategic planning meetings for a Tuesday. All of my team are trained in a variety of activities including scaffolding, first aid, roof inspections, handling, customer care and emergency procedures. They are also very knowledgeable about the history of the house and I’m always learning from them!


TODAY we may have an education group or a guided tour in the house. All generations can find something of interest in the house and grounds.

Children seem to like the house and I am pleased that the next generation will want to preserve and enjoy it, too. Some mornings I do work on the collections, arrange photography or work with the media.


ONCE a month on a Thursday, we have an estate meeting run by the estate manager.

The National Trust is a huge organisation with wide-ranging responsibilities and conservation applies to the countryside as well as to the house.

At the meeting, I can learn what the foresters, wardens, gardeners, events, shop and restaurant staff have been doing. We all help each other out when we can and are sustained by National Trust biscuits or cakes and lots of coffee!

In the afternoon, it’s business as usual. I try to do as much administration as I can before the weekend. Although the visitor attraction is beautifully presented, I can’t say the same for my desk.

Despite calls for a paper-free office, I am a typical curator – the desk is piled high with books and papers but, as I tell my staff, I have a system for finding things!


TODAY is the day I begin to do everything I was going to do on Monday!

Days are rarely uninterrupted at a National Trust house. Maintenance contractors may call to check the lift, building management system, roof walkways, or fire systems.

Conservators or curators from the regional office may call in with students or VIP guests. The collections at Wallington are of local and national significance, so I try to think of ways which will make them more interesting for people. The house and collections were, after all left to the National Trust for everyone to enjoy.

The weekend

WEEKENDS are the time I like to sit in the garden. While my wife and daughter mow the lawn, weed the beds and plant flowers, I decide where to place the deck chair, history book and glass of wine!

I also like to go for walks in the hills or along the coastline. I help out at home, but my daughter doesn’t like burnt dinners and my wife tells me I should read the labels on clothes before putting them in the washing machine!

Ironing is usually done listening to jazz, which makes for some interesting creases. To end my weekend, I like to watch Michael Palin and dream of faraway places. Then on Monday it’s time for something completely different.

Lloyd Langley is house and collections manager at The National Trust’s Wallington property in Northumberland. For further information on the house and grounds, tel: (01670) 773600 or go to www.nationaltrust.org.uk


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer