Gilly Burton

Photo of Gilly Burton, volunteer

MyHouseMyStreet researcher, Denman enthusiast

I joined the Regency Town House initially because I thought I’d like to be involved in some renovation work, and as I had just retired from a retail background, I thought it would make a welcome change. This didn’t happen to begin with as Nick, the curator, needed help with photographing the street directories at the History Centre for the MyHouseMyStreet project. Myself and a few other volunteers continued this work for some time.

The next task I undertook was to categorise the Town House's vast collection of Denman architectural drawings. This led to greater interest in the Denman family of architects as I realised what a huge impact they had upon the growth of Brighton, having designed hospitals, schools, banks, and pubs as well as residential housing. So I started researching the Denmans, and in September 2011 I organised an exhibition of their work as part of the Brighton and Hove Open Door event.

Photo of Gilly repairing Regency rugDuring my time here I have also helped decorate rooms, maintain the railings outside the house, sewn a decorative binding on to a large carpet, and many other small but necessary jobs that crop up.

I have now returned to MyHouseMyStreet, but this time on the research side. I co-authored a street history, and undertook a guided tour, of Charles Street for the exhibitions in 2011. And this year, together with another volunteer, Jessica Blanchard, I am working on North Place. I may also get sidetracked onto the old slipper baths next door, which is on the site of the Church Street barracks (which has a compelling history of its own).

The variety of things that are achievable here, plus a continuous flow of like-minded volunteers, have kept me interested for three years or so, and hopefully will continue to do so for many years to come.

Gilly Burton, volunteer