Strood Academy students bring Medieval building back to life

Students at Strood Academy have been working on a project with Rachel and Jeremy from the Guildhall Museum, Rochester to develop awareness and understanding of Temple Manor.

Temple Manor is situated on the Knight’s Road Industrial Estate, Strood and being surrounded by industrial units; it is neglected by visitors to the area. Therefore the students wish to encourage more people to visit the site, especially younger ones. However, to bring an old building back to life you need money, and in conjunction with the Guildhall Museum, the group were successful in applying for and receiving funding from the Young Roots Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Fund awarded the project an amazing £50000.

As part of the project plan submitted to Young Roots, students needed to hold an open weekend at Temple Manor. This took place at the end of April with the view to recruit participants. Cupcakes made by Mrs De’Ath were given to all visitors. The tasty cakes were funded by a cake sale at the Academy, which was run by Mrs De’Ath, Mr Jones and the work skills group as part of an enterprise challenge. Jeremy displayed replica chain mail, swords and helmets for visitors to see.

Evie Year 8 said “after visiting the Manor on the open weekend, I can see that they need bigger, more interesting signs or lights to help you read the information. People also need to be attracted to the signs.”

Maria Year 8 commented “my first impression of the Manor was that this can’t really be such an important historic building, I thought at first that it might only be about 40 years old, then I realised that it was a 13th century building. This was a shock as it is not really far from my house!”

Evie added “the building looked small on the outside, but when I went inside I discovered that it seemed to be much bigger. There is an under croft, we thought it could have been used for a kitchen or storage or armour. English Heritage tells us it could have been a place for horses, but I don’t know how that would have worked.”

Maria said “ Teachers and their families also turned up to visit and Jeremy form the museum helped us try on replica armour. The helmet was too big and wobbled on my head. Maybe the knights wore something on their head. Also people came to visit on their way to the Sweeps Festival in Rochester, some of them were surprised that the building was there and open. Maybe the opening times should be published and advertised.”

Since the open day, the Temple Manor group have continued to meet every Wednesday and have also continued with their research. On two occasions they have met with home educated students to further understand how to engage young people at a historic site.

Both visits were very successful as the Academy students could appreciate that young children just want to touch objects and explore a building very quickly. However when Jeremy was talking about the people who may have lived on site in the 13th century, the children were more engaged and focused. The children enjoyed learning about the armour and weapons and the use of props to engage young people in the history of the building will certainly be considered.

Watch this space as in the new school year the group will be rewriting guide books, creating teaching resources and even researching the possibility of using augmented reality.

See the link below to read the full story shared recently in Schools Week.

SW 110 Bulletin