Garden to dig into the past using new history funding

Hornbeam Pergola at Alnwick Garden.
Hornbeam Pergola at Alnwick Garden.

The Alnwick Garden has received a £10,000 grant to develop a schools programme using the history behind the attraction and the memories of older generations.

The Alnwick Garden is set to receive a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) All Our Stories grant for the project, entitled Digging for Memories.

All Our Stories – a new grant programme launched in support of BBC Two’s The Great British Story – has been designed as an opportunity for everyone to get involved in their heritage.

The popular series, presented by historian Michael Wood and supported by a programme of BBC Learning activities and events, inspired people to look at our history in a different way through the eyes of ordinary people.

The Alnwick Garden dates back to the 1750s when the first Duke of Northumberland enlisted the help of Capability Brown to create the landscape that still exists today.

The garden flourished at the end of the 19th century but suffered for many years after the war. It was left in ruin until the current Duchess began the project to transform it into the stunning landscape that it is today.

Helen Shepherd, project coordinator and community development manager at The Alnwick Garden, said: “We want to find out a little more about The Alnwick Garden during the war years and to what lengths people went to support themselves.

“Our aim will be to ensure that children understand how gardening skills and knowledge became a vital part of the survival of many communities during the war.

“We want to link gardening in past years to modern day initiatives such as our Roots & Shoots project, which gives children the skills to plant up and maintain their own allotment plots.”

TV presenter and historian Michael Wood said: “I am delighted that the people of Alnwick have been inspired to get involved to tell their own story and dig deep into the past.

“Having travelled the length and breadth of the British Isles this last year filming The Great British Story, I am certain that fascinating and moving stories will be uncovered which will not only bring to life the excitement of local history, but will illuminate and enrich every community’s connection with the national narrative.”

A number of sessions will be taking place in The Garden when project volunteers will share some of the research they have gathered and attendees will be invited to share their personal memories.

The sessions take place throughout March and April and anyone interested can contact Sarah Hall 01665 511354 or sarah.hall@alnwick