Pupils investigate their school's 1,000-year past

YOUNGSTERS are bringing their school’s history into life by digging deep into the past.

Pupils from Queen Mary’s School at Baldersby Park, near Thirsk, have begun a year-long project which will include archaeological excavations of the site.

They are researching the history of the building and the grounds, and the histories and memories of the people who once lived and worked there.

Baldersby Park, formerly Newby Park, has a recorded history spanning about 1,000 years and was once the home of the famed 19th-century “Railway King” George Hudson.

Teacher Lucy Nuttall, said: "This is the first project of its kind at the school. It is very exciting and will be of great significance both to Queen Mary's and to local community history.

“Our history department will play a key role in the research which will focus on the school building itself, which is Britain's first Palladian villa, and the parkland around it. We also have digs planned for next summer.”

She added: “Talking to local people is going to be a key part of the work, as they will have memories we can draw upon, and we will be creating a digital archive of artefacts, photographs and documents.”

As part of the project, visits are planned to the National Railway Museum in York, to nearby Aldborough where Roman artefacts have already been found, and Constable Burton Hall, which was also built in the Palladian style.

During the Second World War, Baldersby Park was requisitioned by the army and housed officers from the Royal Canadian Air Force, so there will also be a search via the internet for surviving veterans.

A grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund is assisting the project through its All Our Stories initiative.

Regional head Fiona Spiers said: “Clearly the success of All Our Stories has reinforced the fact that we are indeed a nation of story tellers and that we want to explore and dig deeper into our past and discover more about what really matters to us.

“This is exactly what the grant will do for Baldersby Park as the school embarks on a real journey of discovery.”

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