MP presents Holdenby with its sixth Sandford Award

Tuesday 19th April 2011

The staff of the Education Department at Holdenby House were proud to welcome Daventry MP Chris Heaton-Harris to the historic house today, where he was re-presenting the Stanford award, following a ceremony at the Houses of Parliament in February this year.

The Sandford Award is given by the Heritage Education Trust in recognition of outstanding contributions to Heritage Education at historic properties.  Holdenby has been awarded The Sandford Award six times;  more than any other house in England other than Beaulieu, Hampton Court and The Tower of London

With the award being valid for five years, Holdenby has been given the award on each possible occasion since its first entry in 1985, which is almost un-precedented.

James Lowther, owner of Holdenby House said “Education is the most vital thing that we, as individuals and as a country, can give our children.

An understanding of history is particularly vital to future generations, to offer them a compass for the future and give them a sense of our country’s values and institutions and why they are important.

As a historic house, we at Holdenby are proud to be able to play our part in opening our children’s eyes to the fascination of history in a way that captures their imagination and will remain, hopefully, in their memory as they grow up.”

The Education Department at Holdenby is managed by Ian Post and Sylvia Park. Sylvia and James Lowther set up the department in 1985.

Sylvia said "Receiving our 6th Sandford Award is as special as receiving our first some 25 years ago. It is a tribute to the hard work, dedication and enthusiasm of the Education Team at Holdenby. It is also thanks to the owners of Holdenby House, James & Karen Lowther for their whole-hearted support of the Education Programme".

Karen Lowther, James’ wife welcomed the MP and the staff of the Education department, who were in costume for the presentation by saying “Holdenby was built to entertain. It is our joy and pride to entertain over 8,000 school children a year. But more than entertain, the children come to Holdenby to learn about their own unique history. To live and learn.

Nothing we do can be more important than education. We cannot shape the future without first understanding the past.

We have opened our doors for 30 years and we hope to keep it open for at least 30 more.”

Staff from the Education Department at Holdenby are all in costume and in role when school groups attend a day, and with the sessions meeting the requirements of the National Curriculum, real aspects of Holdenby’s history can be combined with current school projects. The projects they offer are Medieval, Tudor, Victorian Servants and World War II and they are all adaptable to suit all ages and abilities.

Chris Heaton-Harris was pleased to come to Holdenby to re-present the award and said "Everyone at Holdenby House should be congratulated on being given the Sandford Award. Well over 250,000 children have passed through the doors into the Victorian Kitchen, the Wartime handycrafts room and learnt and felt real English history for themselves. It is a remarkable House and this is a remarkable educational project."

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