A VOLUNTEER guide has called for helpers to share the stories of one of Portsmouth’s landmark buildings.
Peter Richmond said more people were needed to be guides at the Royal Garrison Church in Old Portsmouth. He said the role was straightforward and very enjoyable.
He said: ‘Most of the people who walk in just like to look around on their own and ask questions. We’re there just to look after the place and try to answer the questions if we can.’
The church is open Tuesday to Saturday from 11am to 4pm between April to September.
Mr Richmond said about 10 people volunteered as guides at the church.
‘Over the years the volunteers have dwindled off a bit,’ he said.
‘At the moment, the trouble is that there are only two people on duty so if anyone drops out we have no choice but to close it. I’d love there to be enough so that we’d be able to keep the church open seven days a week.’
Mr Richmond said he started volunteering at the church eight years ago as something to keep him busy after he finished working.
‘When I retired I wanted something to do.
‘I’m also ex-navy so I thought working on the garrison church would be an interesting project.’
Mr Richmond said the church was a pleasant surprise to visitors who stumbled across it.
He said: ‘It’s a bit off the beaten track and it’s only when visitors to the city get away from the shopping centre at Gunwharf and start walking along the seafront that they realise that there’s something more about.
‘There’s not many cities that have got a similar sort of thing.
‘This is the oldest garrison church in the country and one of the oldest buildings in Portsmouth.’
The church was built in 1212 and originally named Domus Dei.
It became the Royal Garrison Church in 1767 after a restoration.
Mr Richmond said the most noticeable thing about the building was actually something that wasn’t there.
A German bomb destroyed most of the church’s roof during the Second World War and it was never replaced.
Mr Richmond said: ‘They boarded everything up at the end of the war.
‘The windows were blown out too.
‘They were re-done in a way to show what the garrison did in the past.
‘And the chancel at the end is still in good condition.’
Anyone interested in volunteering can call Mr Richmond on (023) 9234 7362.