Heritage of London

Heritage of London Trust pioneers new education programme for schoolchildren

Image: Heritage of London Trust's director Dr Nicola Stacey with primary pupils at a restoration project in Enfield

Schoolchildren across the capital will be offered a chance to explore the city’s heritage as part of a new three-year programme designed to encourage young people to take pride in where they live.

Proud Places, a heritage and restoration programme developed by Heritage of London Trust, will deliver workshops, site visits and skills training to primary and secondary schools in selected London boroughs.

This will be free for pupils at state schools aged between seven and sixteen, and will take place over an initial three-year period.

“We trialled this programme last year with a number of schools and were amazed by the reception it got. It was so rewarding seeing pupils’ enthusiasm about the history of the sites on their doorstep and why they were interesting, and introducing them to the skills of stonemasons and conservators,” states Nicola Stacey, director of Heritage of London Trust.

“These projects touch on far more than history – students are learning the application of chemistry and physics through conservation, about literature, architecture and art through inspirational figures from the past, and it makes them see their own local area in a fresh light.”

Primary pupils at one of HOLT's projects in Lewisham

The Trust received a grant of £300,000 in February from the Jones Day Foundation to develop and deliver the programme. Planning is now under way and Proud Places will – assuming schools reopen – begin in the 2020 autumn term.

John Phillips, trustee of the Jones Day Foundation, says Proud Places complements its existing work in schools perfectly and describes the programme as a “chance to help young people improve their life choices as well as life skills”.

Dr Nicola Stacey teaching primary pupils at a project in Lewisham

It is hoped that by sharing the stories behind historic buildings and explaining the processes of restoration to participants that they will engage with their families about local history and build positive connections with the area around them.