#49 Part two: Lacock Abbey’s response

Dear Jonathan Gardner

Thank you for your email regarding your visit to Lacock Abbey.

I have reviewed the incident with our House and Collections Manager who manages the Abbey after she discussed the matter with the volunteer you met and the duty staff who was there on Sunday.

I am sorry you had a disappointing visit to the Abbey, the volunteer you met on Sunday was talking to two other visitors when you came into the Hall, which is the exit from the Abbey. The Abbey has a long and complex history, as I’m sure you will have discovered, and we have planned a roughly chronological route, starting with the oldest part which is the Cloisters, through the house and finishing the Great Hall. We feel this displays the Abbey in the best way but also, since it is quite compact it minimises congestion. We’ve found this route helps visitors enjoy the Abbey most.

When you stepped into the Hall, our Volunteer, broke away from the couple she was talking to, to explain you had come in the exit and ask you kindly go in through the Cloisters. (We get one or two folk doing this each day and they are asked to do the same.) That request, for whatever reason, broke down into a situation I know neither of us would have wanted and our volunteer, thinking it may help, put her hand out to try and calm you down, but this clearly backfired on her and was obviously the wrong thing to have done.

I am very sorry that this came across as inappropriate to you, we want everyone to have a great visit here. There was a misunderstanding, our volunteer misread the situation and we are all sorry for upset caused and hope you do come back and see us again sometime.

Yours Sincerely

Graham Heard
General Manager

[I’m not sure how much this address my complaint.
Feel like the shoving has been entirely misrepresented.
Any thoughts? – Jon]

2 thoughts on “#49 Part two: Lacock Abbey’s response”

  1. Mate, really sorry to hear this – no, I don’t think this response addresses your complaint at all. I read this first, today, and it sounded like it was over something fairly minor, but reading your letter to them, this Denise was clearly way out of order, physically threatening, and said something frankly racist/nationalist. She’s clearly not the sharpest tool in the box, having not even understood what “personal space” is – unfortunately, that probably can’t be helped. What is really disappointing is her management’s response to her outburst. By use of weasel words, it downplays what happened:

    “I am sorry you had a disappointing visit” – not our fault
    “That request, for whatever reason” – your fault
    “a situation I know neither of us would have wanted” – not our fault
    “thinking it may help” – WTF??
    “to try and calm you down” – calm someone down by shoving them?
    “clearly backfired” – well duh
    “sorry that this came across as inappropriate” – doesn’t apologise and puts the blame on you again

    I would feel very dissatisfied with this response and would take it further. They probably have trouble getting any staff, especially as they are volunteers, and don’t want to risk losing one – but this is way out of order and they are wrong to try and sweep this under the carpet.

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