Chronicle Blog: A (half) day in the life of a heritage walk organiser.

The Chronicle’s Volunteer Blog features blog posts and articles about what it’s like to be a part of the Chronicle Project and is written by our volunteers.
This post is by Mike Hawkins, a retired volunteer who recently conducted a walking tour of Charles Street for the project.

Camera man Rob, preparing for the start of the tour.

Today was the big day, when we would finally have our grand Charles Street walking tour, “Surviving the Seventies: the hidden history of volunteering on Charles Street”. It started well. Our ten-year old Labrador, who yesterday had had what I could delicately describe as an inconvenient gastric complaint, greeted me in the morning by having only weed over the kitchen floor. Fortunately Mrs H cleared up while I took the darling for a walk, with a mental note to walk him again before leaving home.

Volunteer Mike (centre) giving introduction to the tour. Ian Horsburgh (right).

The Tour’s first visit to Grassroots. The walk was well attended with people who had volunteered in Charles St, and two notable Cardiff authors, one of whom was writing a book on Charles St. It occurred to me that whatever I talked about, someone listening would know more about it than me! Fortunately, after an introduction intended to fill in time in case anyone was late, I was able to rely on first-hand accounts from Ian (Horsburgh) – which was planned – and Antoinette (Lorraine), Alex (Bird) and Clive (Williams), which were impromptu. The event was filmed by Rob, and we found that a good way to tease him was to start five seconds before he was ready with his camera.

Grassroots, 58 Charles Street.

My thanks go to Grassroots, for their patience as we called there not once, but twice – you have to be resourceful if you want to make a walk out of such a short street. Also to Anne at the Friends Meeting House. We also went into the Catholic Cathedral for Ian’s heart-warming wedding story (it’s on the web). We managed to upsize the tour by offering at the end a tour of Cornerstone, the old United Reform Church/Eberneser Chapel which has been beautifully refurbished, so thanks to Lucy for breaking off her meeting to do that.

Tour stopping outside the Catholic Church.

I think most people appreciated seeing the photographs and images which we were able to show them at the end. Even the negative comments were not too damaging, like concern that it involved a lot of walking/standing, and a comment that we didn’t give enough architectural history (it was about volunteering!). Klavdija (our boss) said it went well, which probably means she wants me to do one of the other ones.

If you missed the walk, there is a rather good web version (I wrote it myself) on

Tour outside the final stop – Eberneser Chapel.

After a free My John Lewis beverage and cake with Mrs H (this was surely a cause for celebration!), I remembered to retrieve my hat that I had left at Cornerstone. Back home for a longer walk with Billy while listening to Haydn and Mahler on the proms replay. Then back on the computer for this blog and some thank-you emails.