Children share stories of the past with older local residents
As part of raising awareness about the ongoing work at Hylton Castle, volunteers from the Hylton Castle Project and students from Hylton Castle Primary School joined tenants at St Margaret’s Court housing scheme for some informative and intergenerational fun.
Hylton Castle Project's Learning Officer, Pearl, led an interactive presentation detailing the history of the castle in which the children dressed as past inhabitants. Notable residents included Lord and Lady Hylton and Lady Mary Eleanor Bowes of Gibside Hall. Both children and adults then engaged in an informative discussion about the castle’s heraldry with historical research volunteer Peter, who talked about the rules and regulations entailed in the design of one’s own heraldry and gave tips on how to decode teh symbols and colours used.
We also learned about the castle’s brief history as a school and its luminary pupil Joseph Swan, born in Bishopwearmouth and later known for developing and supplying the incandescent light bulb used to light homes and buildings, most famously the Savoy Theatre in London. We discovered that during WW1 the castle was used as a training site for troops, where soldiers would undergo intensive exercises to prepare them for battle on the front line.
The morning was rounded up with information about the current construction work at the castle and what to expect when it opens next year.
Before leaving, the children excitedly told the tenants many things they had learned about their local community both past and present, and proudly showed the residents the maps they had created of the area and how they hope it will be as they grow up. These maps continue to be worked on by the children, and will be shared here when complete.
Article by Laura Donaldson, Hylton Castle Project volunteer