The Old Royal Naval College is undergoing a programme of transformation to open our site and collections to the public in more inclusive and dynamic ways. Our newly conserved Painted Hall will open in the Spring; coinciding with a new visual identity and positioning to enhance our profile and firmly place our site at the heart of Greenwich. We have four strategic objectives which underpin this new visitor experience:

  • Exploration: engage visitors via a site-wide historic, architectural and spiritual experience
  • Spectacle: inspire the public via a stimulating artistic programme
  • Stewardship: conserve the fabric of our buildings, grounds and archaeology
  • Independence: grow a cultural business which secures our sustainable future

We are committed to a new programme of documentation, preservation, accessibility and interpretation. Our site has four main phases of history as the: Greenwich Palace, Royal Hospital for Seamen, Royal Naval College and now as the Old Royal Navy College (run by the Greenwich Foundation). The Royal Hospital for Seamen, 1694-1869, was established as a place of refuge for disabled and elderly seamen welcoming many distinguished naval veterans; as well as ordinary seamen through its doors. These magnificent buildings, designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor, survive today as part of a UNESCO world heritage site.

Our new research project, “Lives of the Pensioners”, uses digital copies of original records held at The National Archives to help us better tell the story of those who lived and worked at the Hospital. We are transcribing three broad groups of records: the Prerogative Court of Canterbury wills (1384-1858); volumes on specific events e.g. Cholera outbreaks; and staff registers. This will help us to identify areas for further research in other archives; providing a rich source of material for future exhibitions, publications and events.


The Volunteer role

Working with the Collections and Archive Assistant the Project Research Volunteer will help with the administration of the project. This is an exciting opportunity to get practical experience of project management and develop archival research skills. The main tasks of this role are:

  • Ensure that the project log which records progress is up-to-date and accurate
  • Assist with the allocation of documents for volunteers to transcribe
  • Participate in research trips to The National Archives to identify and record relevant records
  • Help co-ordinate volunteer visits to other repositories both locally and regionally
  • Assist with the administration of training workshops and meetings
  • Help deliver content for use in promotional initiatives such as in local publications
  • Generate statistical data for reporting to the Board


Training and Support

  • Full induction will be given on our organisational structure and public offer; with specific training on our policies and procedures related to the archives department
  • Formal recognition of skills development to aid CV or job applications
  • A friendly, enthusiastic and supportive team of volunteers with whom to share experiences and knowledge
  • Regular volunteer social and networking events
  • Travel costs of up to £15 per day will be reimbursed based on return tickets / Oyster card receipts for a shift of 3.5 hours. £3.50 towards lunch for a five hour shift or more.
  • Discounts in local shop and cafés

We are looking for people who can demonstrate

  • A good first degree and some experience of working in the field of research and/or project management (Essential)
  • Physically able as the archive department is on a mezzanine floor with access via a narrow spiral staircase (Essential)
  • Good verbal communication skills (Essential)
  • Conscientious, reliable and punctual (Essential)
  • Computer literate with a good working knowledge of Excel and Word (Essential)
  • Attention to detail and good organisational ability (Essential)
  • Are able to commit to 2 days per week for a period of 6 months, ideally a Tuesday and Wednesday each week but other options may be considered (Essential)
  • Experience of researching in archives (Desirable)
  • An interest in conservation, heritage and history (Desirable)
  • A postgraduate qualification in (or currently studying) museum studies or archives administration (Desirable)

Our organisation is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment. All roles are subject to references and some roles require an enhanced DBS check.


Greenwich Foundation 2 Cutty Sark Gardens, Greenwich, London, SE10 9LW


To apply

Please click here to complete an application form. Deadline for applications is Monday 21st January 2019 at 5pm. Informal interviews to be held on Tuesday 29th and Wednesday 30th January 2019. 

If you would like to talk about the role please contact [email protected] or phone 0208 269 4794.