Northamptonshire historic house bags record-breaking eighth education award
The venue offers ‘living history programmes’ to students who get to experience times in history in a hands-on way
A Northamptonshire historic house, which doubles as a wedding venue and an education setting, has won an record-breaking eighth award.
Holdenby House, between Chapel Brampton and East Haddon, runs hands-on education programmes for schools and pupils and has done for more than 30 years.
The venue won its first Sanford Award from the Heritage Education Trust in 1985 in recognition of ‘excellence for all visiting children’.
This week, Holdenby won its eighth Sandford Award - which are handed out every five years - making it the most awarded Heritage Education programme in the UK.
Vice-Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire and owner of Holdenby House, James Lowther, expressed his pride at receiving this award, which he credited to the staff who made it happen.
He said: “We think this work is very important, as children are our future.
“If they understand history and the past they will be better equipped to make the future better.”
Mr Lowther also reflected on the difficult past year with all school visits cancelled.
However, having adapted its programmes to make greater use of outdoor spaces and with the help of a grant from the Cultural Recovery Fund, Holdenby House Education is back on its feet and has welcomed its first school visit in over a year.
To mark the record-breaking eighth award, the new Mayor of Northampton - Rufia Ashraf - presented the award to Holdenby House on Thursday (May 20).
Chris Green from the Heritage Education Trust was also at Holdenby for the award ceremony.
Mr Green added: “Such sustained success is a brilliant accomplishment reflecting the outstanding work of sharing this unique and significant house with the community and its schools.
“The first-hand experiences provided are quite splendid, engineered by remarkable staff and volunteers.”
When Holdenby’s education venture first began, it saw 60 children in the first year.
Now it welcomes more than 8,000 children a year and more than a quarter of a million children have participated in the venue’s living history programmes, in total.
The schemes include being a servant in a Victorian household to being an evacuee in the second World War and meeting King Charles I or Queen Elizabeth or even Beatrix Potter.
The education venture is also set to expand with a revised and expanded outdoor programme giving children a first-hand experience of how farming and nature work together coming soon.