Who we are

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Ripon Museum Trust is an organisation of dedicated, enthusiastic and skilled individuals who look after three unique heritage buildings, their collections and visitors with a team of over 140 volunteers.

Our volunteers are magic!

The Trust is a volunteer driven organisation with volunteering at the heart of everything we do. We have a wide selection of volunteers from across the spectrum, from 8 to 90 and from all walks of life. We have voulnteering opprtunities in every part of our operation from gardeners to guides, from admission to administration, from learning to leading, we can find a role that will suit any skills, experience or enthusiasms you may have. All our Volunteer are invited to share their ideas, opinions and influence the successful operation of Ripon Museums. If you would like to learn more about volunteering, see our support us page.


Our paid staff:

Director (James Etherington) [email protected]

Volunteer Manager part-time (Wendy Hunwick-Brown) [email protected]

Administration Assistant (Xantha Mepham) [email protected]

Learning Manager (Carrie Philip) [email protected]

Learning Assistant (Katy O'Malley) [email protected]

Technical Assistant (Paul Grayson) [email protected] 

Project Staff

Joint Curator (Policing project with Bradford Police Museum) Esther Graham - [email protected]

Collaborative Curator (Workhouse development project) Martin Wills - [email protected]


The Board of Trustees

The Board meet formally 6 times a year to provide governance and leadership for the organisation. They are very hands-on and most also volunteer as receptionists, guides, education leaders and gardeners.


Biographies of our Trustees

Richard Taylor (Chair)

Richard is the Chairman of Ripon Museum Trust, a role which he says has been a great privilege and source of pleasure. It allows him to continue his interest in the heritage where he worked professionally in historic environment management for over 30 years most recently as the conservation team leader at Leeds City Council.

As a chartered town planner specialising in built environment conservation he previously had experience of regeneration as the Ripon Project Officer for the former national charity, the Civic Trust. Since taking early retirement in 2010 Richard continues involvement in local affairs through his active membership of Ripon Civic Society and the Ripon City Council City Plan committee.

In the brief spare time left over he enjoys singing in Ripon Choral Society, exploring his native Yorkshire and beyond and admits to an addiction to cryptic crosswords and Radio 4.


Mandy Whitehead (Vice Chair)

Mandy has held a variety of senior leadership and management roles over the last twenty years developing and delivering projects and services in 4 different educational/Local Authority settings. Currently employed by East Riding of Yorkshire Council as their Children's Centre Development Manager; Mandy works in a strategic service development role developing integrated services for families with young children with health partners in community settings across the Authority and is also the strategic lead for parenting for the Authority. Mandy brings considerable experience of strategic planning, project management, reporting, evaluation and good governance.

 Mandy has a long standing interest in community development and heritage in Ripon and for 5 years was the community development manager for the City. Currently she chairs the Ripon Re-Viewed Project - a Heritage Lottery Funded Ripon Civic Society project to preserve, digitise and make accessible a collection of 7000 images which record a century of life in the city of Ripon.


David Thelwall (Treasurer)

David’s early experience was with Unilever and Ranks Hovis McDougall in general management, marketing and strategic planning. He has had his own Management Consultancy business for some 30 years, specialising in marketing and strategy, in the agribusiness, food and bioscience sectors. He also runs a web-based business comparison service (Prime Numbers) – this hosts the Culture Benchmark that provides comparative financial information (>2,000 datasets) on cultural and creative organisations.

David leads on financial and strategic development and is well used to managing major projects in the commercial and not-for-profit arenas.


Anthony Chadwick

After reading history, Anthony taught history at secondary level for some 30 years. During that time, he was also a magistrate. He is the Trust’s historical expert on the justice system, on the Poor Law and on the development of policing and prisons in a rural city such as Ripon.

He oversees the collection, its curation and interpretation. He has an MPhil in historical research and has published widely on our themes of Poverty, Law and Order.


Grenville Hargreaves

Grenville was in business for 25 years before applying his experience as the Finance Manager of the Bowes Museum during which time he obtained his Diploma in Charity Accounting (DChA). His financial and commercial experience is of particular value to Ripon Museum Trust.

He chairs the HR Committee.


Christopher Hughes

Christopher, after a BA in Town & Country Planning and later an MA in Conservation, Historical & Vernacular Architecture, held various local authority Planning posts culminating as Assistant Direct (Planning) at Bradford Council.

He has substantial experience working with Senior Councillors, the development industry, staff management and team working.

Christopher is highly involved in Ripon’s cultural and built environment arenas – Vice Chair of Ripon Civic Society, Director of Ripon Together CIC, member of the Cathedral Fabric Advisory Committee, member of team preparing Ripon’s neighbourhood plan.


Professor Martin Webber

Martin is Professor of Social Work at the University of York and is Director of the International Centre for Mental Health Social Research.

His primary research interest is in the development and evaluation of social interventions with people with mental health problems.

Martin’s expertise regarding wellbeing, social capital and inclusion and how our Museums can be used as an asset in this area are extremely beneficial in a Museum such as ours. Furthermore, he widens our strategic perspective substantially. Finally, his research discipline is very valuable in evaluating and assessing projects on sustainability, capacity building, volunteer development and the like.


John M Witherick

John is a qualified architect. He has been in private practice throughout his career and started his own small practice in 1990.  He mainly specialises in heritage buildings and projects, spread across the region, for a variety of clients, at all stages and in particular in the re-use of historic structures.

He has been a Trustee since 2008, with responsibility for the building assets that are owned or leased by Ripon Museum Trust.

Acted as Project Lead Consultant for teams of building consultants for past projects for the Trust;

Prison and Police Museum, refurbishment, extension and conversion of Grade 2 Listed Building, constructed in 1828, HLF funded contract.
Workhouse Museum (Frontage Building), refurbishment, extension and conversion of Grade 2 Listed Building, constructed in 1854, HLF funded contract.

He anticipates a leading role in the step change for the Trust that is represented by the project in question, following the acquisition of Sharow View.

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