Architects of the Future at Hylton Castle

By Cheryl Stanley, Northern Saints Primary School

Children in Year 3 at Northern Saints Primary School having been using Hylton Castle as inspiration for a project in the Architectural Ambassadors Scheme. Ambassadors are RIBA architect members who volunteer to partner with schools on an architectural project to provide future generations with experience, knowledge and understanding of architecture and the built environment around them. Throughout the project, Alice from Xsite Architecture in Newcastle worked with us, linking the children’s learning with the world of work.

With Hylton Castle currently undergoing a massive conservation project and being at the heart of our community, we thought this would be the perfect starting point for our own project. Children were given the brief that they had to design and build a prototype for a transformation of the building. 

To start, children spent a morning at Hylton Castle looking at the architectural features of the building; taking photographs from different angles and perspectives and making sketches. Elanor (the Learning Manager for the Hylton Castle Project) gave us a tour and shared a wealth of information about the castle’s history and was on hand to answer the children’s many questions.  Undoubtedly though, the most exciting part of the morning was putting on our high vis vests and hard hats and going inside the castle, which is normally closed to the public. We will be one of the last groups to see what it was like before the building work starts in the summer!Year 3 children measuring Hylton Castle with their outstretched arms!

Back at school, in the weeks that followed, lots of cross-curricular learning took place all stemming from our visit to the castle. The children had great fun constructing model castles using cardboard, paper and paint.  They thought very carefully about what the space inside their building should be used for, taking into consideration many of the things we learned on our visit. One thing everyone seemed to agree on was that it must have a café! 

To celebrate our finished project, we invited parents to a presentation morning where all of the castles were on display. We even got to see the architect’s plans for the castle which was very special and we can't wait to visit once it's all complete. 

Showing models of Hylton Castle to parents

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