Selected Testimonials


Marion Blockley CV Available in PDF

Tamworth Castle and Collections Conservation Management Plan
What more can I say that hasn't already been said about Marion. She was recommended to me by a former Museum colleague and by contacts at English Heritage, and I can say that she did not fail to live up to these recommendations. Marion has worked on the production of a Conservation Management Plan for Tamworth Castle, which was part of the Development Phase of a HLF bid. The resulting plan was a fantastic piece of work; to the point, easy to read and assimilate, and just screamed quality. The plan brought together all aspects of our work at Tamworth Castle – it outlined both the immediate objectives to preserve the building, and included interpretive ideas to improve what we deliver. The inclusion of a gazetteer gave us a simple and accessible historical breakdown of a complex Castle building, and we have used it to shed light on our period room displays for the benefit of the public. Marion is a fantastic champion for heritage, very enthusiastic and knowledgeable which does not fail to win people round and garner support when it is needed. Her work on our HLF project has now resulted in us achieving a final successful HLF bid which is due to commence in September 2011. On a personal level Marion has been both mentor and friend. She has been there as a sounding board and has continued her link with us all at Tamworth Castle beyond the initial project, never failing to point us in the right direction when needed. I loved working with her and hope to do so again soon.

Louise Troman, Heritage and Visitor Services Manager, Tamworth Borough Council

Pocklington Canal Audience, Conservation and Interpretation Plan
The best community engagement consultant I have come across in my entire career

John Brown, East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Executive Committee, Wolds, Waterways and Wetlands Leader Group.

National Waterways Museum Ellesmere Port, Gloucester Docks, Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Llangollen Canal, Lune Aqueduct and Lancaster Canal, and Bingley Locks.
I have worked with Marion on several successful waterway related projects which have interpretation at the their core. We wished to engage people with these outstanding places to increase understanding and create a greater appreciation and commitment to waterways in the long term. Marion’s greatest strength is an ability to share her knowledge and enthusiasm with many different kinds of people – and to work with them to develop a shared understanding, which can then be communicated with our visitors using a variety of interpretive media and techniques. This interpretive media is of the highest quality which communicates a strong sense of place, and is often created using traditional skills and with great empathy and respect for those whose stories we are telling. Her interpretive, audience development and activity plans have also played an important role in our funding strategies for these historic places.

Annette Simpson, Head of Education and Interpretation British Waterways

I have known Marion for three years, during which time I have commissioned her for two pieces of work on behalf of British Waterways; Lune Aqueduct Activity Plan, and Bingley 5 Rise Activity Plan. Both of these sites are recognised as being within the top ten of British Waterways’ heritage assets. Marion’s work is second to none and finished reports are of a very high standard. Marion’s strength is her ability to communicate effectively with a wide range of people - consultation is a key method in the way she develops projects. Marion has organised several community consultations as part of her commissions to look at how the respective projects was perceived and what was wanted from within the local community. This presented us with a clear range of options and a focus for future funding bids. With regards to the Lune Aqueduct Activity Plan, the feedback from HLF was that the Activity Plan was so good, it played a key part in us being awarded a £1m HLF grant for the Grade I listed structure. HLF now use this document as an exemplar document to show applicants exactly what they require. Although she has completed the reports Marion has stayed in touch and continued to give us useful information, guidance and support, which has been a real bonus. When Marion takes on a piece of work she really gives 100%, often doing over and above what she has been asked to do, and therefore providing excellent value for money. I would not hesitate to commission her to undertake further work for us should the opportunity arise.

Stephen Higham, Regeneration Manager, British Waterways

Leicester Secular Society and Secular Hall Audience Development Plan
It has been a pleasure working with Marion Blockley, both as a consultant and as a person. Our project, the regeneration of Leicester Secular Hall, the 1881 home of Leicester Secular Society, has been a demanding one, involving the history and present aims of the ongoing Society as well as the heritage significance of the hall. Her professionalism is outstanding: she has revealed the full significance of the project and produced an impressive and very useful report for us to work from and to show to others. The way she relates to people has helped our negotiations and her enthusiasm has been a constant encouragement to us. We have come to look on her as a friend as well as a consultant.

Dr Allan Hayes, President Leicester Secular Society

Leicester Secular Society and Secular Hall Audience Development Plan
I certainly consider that this plan meets its brief. It is a very high quality document and successfully identifies existing barriers to people using the hall, as well as policies, activities and events that can reduce these barriers.
It will be particularly useful for you due to the format of these recommendations, which will be able to be used as the Activity Plan you will need at Round Two.

Jeremy Fenn Senior Grants Officer, Heritage Lottery Fund East Midlands

I would not hesitate to recommend Marion’s work. She is very knowledgeable about all aspects of heritage, professional in her dealings and an excellent communicator. As part of her work for us on the Birmingham Coffin Works project she has completed two comprehensive, well researched and presented reports on Access and Audience Development. As these will form part of the bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund we have already let them have copies and the feedback is very positive. Marion has had to deal with some fairly sensitive subject areas for this project but she is a first class ambassador for the project and her community consultation has already lead to some really interesting potential partnerships. Although she has completed the reports Marion has stayed in touch and continued to give us useful information and support, which is typical. When Marion takes on a piece of work she throws herself into it and gives 100%, often doing over and above what she has been asked to do. She makes an excellent member of a team and is also great fun to work with!.
Elizabeth Perkins, Director Birmingham Conservation Trust

Newman Brothers Coffin Works Access Plan
May I commend this as the most comprehensive Access Plan I have seen in the last eighteen months.

Dave Arnold, Secretary to the Birmingham Access Committee

Coffin Works Audience Development Plan
Thanks very much indeed, this is a wonderfully comprehensive and interesting piece of work.

Angela Dove, Heritage Link Diversity Programme Coordinator

I have known Marion for seven years. During which time she has undertaken work for us on three occasions. Two of these were contracts for the production of complex and sizable documents: ‘An Assessment of the Archaeological and Industrial Heritage of the Wye Valley’ and ‘ The Lower Wye Valley Interpretation and Visitor Experience Plan’…. Both these documents were part of our successful application for Heritage Lottery Funding to the value of £2.5m.
She also delivered a well received illustrated presentation on the industrial heritage of the
Wye Valley to raise the profile of the HLF bid at our Joint Advisory Committee Annual seminar.
I have always found Marion to be a very amiable person to work with. She has proved herself to be extremely knowledgeable and professional in her dealings with us. I would not hesitate to commission her to undertake further work for us, should the opportunity arise.

Andrew Blake, AONB officer, Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Marion Blockley has worked on the Weoley Castle Ruins project for Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery since 2003 and has helped shape and direct the project substantially. Marion was initially employed to produce a feasibility study to increase access and explore the potential of Weoley Castle Ancient Monument, a site which had been closed to the public since 1995.
Marion’s tender was particularly successful as at the heart of her proposal were the needs and requirements of the local community. She undertook extensive consultations with the local community, councillors, schools, local groups, youth groups, businesses and officers and presented us with a clear range of options and a focus for the path ahead.
Her own energy and enthusiasm for the project acted as excellent PR and current successful partnerships were established and nurtured fundamentally by Marion. Indeed the highlighted profile of the Ruins at this time (including a very successful Open Day, the start of what has become an important local annual event) assisted in securing additional essential funding for the project.
Following completion of the well received feasibility study, Marion Blockley continued to be contracted by the museum to oversee and advise on an early phase of works to create a public viewing area. She was central in liaising with contractors, curators and members of the public. In addition she developed the interpretation and carried out an archaeological watching brief.
In 2006 she wrote the Conservation Management Plan for Weoley Castle which has formed the bulk of our successful HLF bid. She also sits on the Weoley Castle Ruins Development Group, and advisory board to project officers which sits on a bi-monthly basis.
Professionally Marion’s work is second to none and finished reports are of a very high quality and calibre. Consultation is a key aspect to the way she develops projects, she is as comfortable within an academic environment as within a community setting. She communicates well with project officers, understanding what is trying to be achieved, as well as the constraints, with a keen eye for the potential. She is also happy to challenge accepted views.
Personally Marion has become a trusted colleague who is a real pleasure to work with. She is insightful, energetic and has great expertise. I would recommend her very highly.

Jane McArdle, Curator Manager, Blakesley Hall, Sarehole Mill and Weoley Castle, for Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery

As Project Manager Marion showed a high level of organisational skills in bringing together a diverse group of trustees and advise them on the direction that the trust should take. She had to take on two local authorities and fight difficult legal battles with them before any thought could be given to the start of the restoration project and in this she showed skill and tenacity and good grasp of information needed to argue a case.
In addition Marion had to work to develop new partnerships which would enable the trust to sustain the running of the site once the HLF project had finished. She worked with both the statutory and voluntary sector, linking and networking well and it is of interest to note that one of the not for profit social enterprise groups that she engaged has continued to have a very successful partnership with the trust over a number of years now.
Marion organised several community consultations to look at how the project was perceived and what was wanted from within the local community. She managed these well and much useful information was gained which informed the trustees of the way forward. She was an excellent communicator and was very well liked amongst members of the trust and in the wider community.
Marion used both local and national radio to tell as many people as possible about the project and to encourage support from the wider world. She was a confident speaker who could put across a message clearly and cogently and thus she encouraged others to join the project.

Kate Slade, Company Secretary and Trustee Warley Woods Community Trust

As project coordinator for the Llanymynech Limeworks project in North West Shropshire I engaged Marion as part of a multi-disciplinary team to deliver the project vision for an extensive former industrial limestone landscape. Marion was commissioned to produce the interpretation strategy for the project and devised very practical guidance. She devised short and long term interpretation solutions, which were all priced with potential suppliers listed. It was comprehensive and fit for purpose, and has been implemented after the project was successful in achieving funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Harriet Devlin, Townscape Heritage Initiative Officer, Oswestry Borough Council

The business plan and community survey organised and completed by Marion Blockley was first class and we cannot speak more highly of the competence and support given to the trustees by Marion. The chapel is a grade 2 listed building with a remarkably beautiful interior, which has three periods of development: Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian, researched thoroughly by Marion, which resulted in consideration for upgrading of the current listing.
Judith Clayton MBE, Trustee and Secretary to the Friends of Whitchurch Heritage

Marion Blockley has been part of a team of consultants who have been employed by Menter Mon (the economic development agency for Anglesey) to undertake a wide ranging strategic project looking at the potential for heritage development projects across the island. She has also worked on compiling an extensive business plan for an ambitious industrial heritage project on the island. Her importance as a significant member of the team in these projects is fully appreciated. She was also commissioned to undertake a feasibility study and interpretation plan for a visitor centre at the National Nature Reserve at Newborough Warren by ourselves and the Countryside Council for Wales.
Recently we commissioned Marion to produce an Audience Development Plan for Aberlleiniog Castle. This was an important piece of work and enabled us to achieve a successful HLF bid. The HLF asked us if they could share this plan with other organisations to show them of the type of document they require.
Menter Mon have valued her contribution as part of a team where her expertise is highly relevant when dealing with heritage organisations, the statutory process and the identification of acceptable solutions.
It has been noticeable that her background in archaeology and academia has been entirely beneficial to shaping the direction of projects and the identification of suitable proposals. Often consultants employed on heritage projects have little or poor understanding of the subject matter. I have enjoyed working with Marion and will no doubt do so again.

Neil Johnstone, Heritage Officer, Menter Mon (Anglesey Regional Development Agency)